What do we mean by responsible use?
Organizations, including school boards, typically have an “Acceptable Use Policy” (AUP) when it comes to using information technology. Most AUPs focus on the consequences for inappropriate use. Flipping the notion to Responsible Use shifts the emphasis from consequences to responsibility. It is more pro-active, and places technology use within the greater contexts of character education, learning skills and good citizenship.
The responsible use of technology encompasses a broad range of activities and behaviours, including use of hardware and software, access to networks, passwords, file-sharing, privacy, and information ethics.
Why is it important?
Technology use is essential in education. While AUPs have traditionally focused on punishment for infractions, Responsible Use brings technology firmly into the greater context of learning. Putting an emphasis on digital citizenship clarifies thinking about our expanding use of wireless networks, applications and communities hosted in the “cloud”. It helps schools expand the scope of thinking about mobile devices and “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) guidelines, putting the emphasis on expanding learning opportunities and good digital citizenship. Responsible Use empowers users to use technology effectively for learning, rather than restricting use based on the expectation of poor behaviour.
What do I, as a teacher, need to know and be able to do?
Understand my responsibilities for the use of technology hardware, software and services:
- Familiarize yourself with your school board’s Acceptable/Responsible Use Policy or Procedure. Connect these guidelines to your own practice.
- Consult with central support staff for clarification and ideas to enable responsible use, particularly when exploring new tools and online services.
- Model responsible use of technology.
Increase my awareness of the tools and resources that are available within your board’s technological environment.
- Understand and manage my classroom online activities to empower students with the responsible use of technology.
- Build classroom technology practices that respect your board’s Acceptable/Responsible Use Policy or Procedure.
- Increase students’ awareness of the tools and resources that are available within your board’s technological environment.
How do I use an inquiry approach to help my students develop knowledge and skills?
Teachers can begin by asking ourselves some critical questions. What does responsible use look like? How does responsible use connect to character education? What does it mean to be ethical in the online world? Where does self-regulation look like in an online environment? Grounding thinking about technology use within these contexts creates meaningful and relevant connections to learning.
- Engage students in developing the school’s/classroom’s BYOD guidelines
- Relate each of the Character Education attributes to responsible use online and have your class develop their own digital code of conduct
- Have students deconstruct the Terms of Service for online applications. Use a Google spreadsheet to have pairs of students translate each term into “plain English”
- Investigate issues surrounding responsible use and have students debate relevant issues such as:
- sharing logins and passwords
- circumventing school board content filters
- cell phone use in schools
- Create scenarios and role play various situations regarding responsible use.