I read your blog post on this and also looked at the AHS "policy,", which is not really so much a policy as an unenforceable set of guidelines. The information is good, the advice wise, but it is not really a policy, and its specificity suggests that a new such "policy" would be needed for wikis, social networking sites, and other various flavors of online tools.
I took my first stab at updating the AUP for remotely hosted web2 tools as follows:
"Appropriate security precautions must be taken when using school resources to post online content. For detailed guidelines covering posting to the web, please see our Web Posting Policy. Publishing students' personal information, including telephone numbers, addresses, pictures captioned with student names, schedules, IM screen names, or other information that could be used to identify or locate students is prohibited.
The Laboratory Schools cannot be responsible for the security or accessibility of content stored on Internet servers not managed by the Schools. School community members who choose to use remotely hosted services for school-related purposes may do so, but with the following conditions:
# They do not represent in any way that these are school-owned or managed resources
# The posted content conforms to Laboratory School and University of Chicago Acceptable Use Policies and other published school guidelines for appropriate conduct
# No interaction with advertising is forced, nor is mandatory demographic data entry required to access site content"
We've been working with teachers, staff, and students to understand and observe the policy and drew up specific guidelines for what can be posted. We've tried to be brief, clear, and deal with specific, observable behaviors stemming from general principles. I know we'll run into situations that expose the shortcomings of what we've written, but policy is revisited often in light of real events. At least we felt we were off to a good start.
This is a fantastic model! I wish I had seen it earlier. . . . I just wrote up a formal report and most of the models I referenced were blog-specific, which is a shortcoming as you point out. Your policy is more practical and seems to have a longer shelf-life as it's not specific to any one tool. I am glad to have it as another resource -- may I please cite it? We have some folks in our community, including board members, who want to revisit our 5-year-old web publishing policy.
I'm so glad you found this useful. As I said, it is a first stab, but this idea of linking stated principles -which tend not to change much over time - to dynamic practices that embody the principles I think gives us an even shot at keeping up with change without revamping the whole AUP every three months. Approaching it from "here's the policy" then linking it to "here's the way we're going to interpret it in practice in this instance" might help us keep the AUP itself brief enough to be digestible.
Please feel free to use or cite those portions that would be helpful to you.
Interesting question. I know one of our administrators was asked to take his personal blog (not hosted on our site) down last year. It was under his IRL name and included a lot of his political views which must have been why.
It seems that what teachers do "outside" of the teaching environment and whether or not it can be mandated or controlled is getting murkier every year. I think that is one reason we want to have a strong AUP that covers such issues like the administrator in your district.
I discovered your conversation while looking for resources to update our AUP. Thanks to all of you for addressing this issue.
I appreciate Curt's work on this subject. You have hit the nail on the head from an tech administration perspective. Web 2.0 and technology in general are difficult (perhaps impossible) to capture in a policy. I am looking for ways to guide teachers in their use without hindering their spirit of adventure and learning. I want them to feel free to engage kids with these tools, while arming them with knowledge of the pitfalls and dangers. The bottom line is that we need to protect the teachers and school district from a lawsuit while encouraging innovation. These are tough to align. I want our stakeholders to acknowledge the risk AND make it possible to experiment.
The Internet has challenged our desire for control from the beginning and that is a good thing. As we move forward with new social networking / knowledge building tools, we will trip over the problem of misguided and irresponsible use. But as Wesley Fryer (www.speedofcreativity.org) has said, "We have to let kids into the pool if we want them to learn to swim".
As I wind my way through our AUP development, I'll be sure and share it here. I'll look forward to hearing how you are meeting this challenge.