The use of digital technologies in schools has been constantly increasing in the past few years, but since the covid pandemic hit, it has exploded! Now, it's not an exaggeration to say that a school is a technology driven organization. And thus, managing the technology related issues is now a major to-do for the Principal and the school administration.
Let's break the "managing the technology scene of the school" into two levels:
Level-1: SIMPLE - Procurement, Development and Maintenance of technology resources of the school.
Level-2: COMPLICATED - Controlling the use of the technology resources by students, teachers, staff, parents & visitors.
At Level-1 you purchase, lease or custom develop the technology resources and then maintain those over the years. Let's look at what those "technology resources" are...
Looking at the hardware, we can see desktops & laptops, smartphones, tablet computers, modems, switches, routers, UPSs, USB drives, CCTV cameras, biometric systems, smart boards, TV screens, projectors, speakers etc... all present within the school campus and even on the school buses. All of these devices could be connected through the official LAN of the school which is usually a combination of wired & wireless networking technologies. These devices might be loaded with a variety of operating systems, software, apps, games, etc and all kinds of digital content such as ebooks, documents, images, presentations, videos, audios etc! On the Internet, we get to see the "virtual estate" of the school such as the official website, the official blog, the official Whatsapp groups, the official pages on Facebook, Instagram & Linkedin, official channel on Youtube etc.
The technical maintenance of the above listed resources is usually well-structured through AMCs (Annual Maintenance Contracts) and in-house SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures).
At Level-2 you manage the day-to-day USE of your technology resources by your students, teachers, staff members, parents, visitors etc. At this level you want that the way these people use the technology resources is ACCEPTABLE by the standards of discipline and decorum of your school.
Q. How do you convey to all those people about your expectations of acceptable levels of discipline & decorum while using all those technology resources?
A. Through an ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY (AUP) of your school!
Q. How does an AUP impact the digital discipline of a school?
A. The AUP of your school clearly conveys a uniform code of digital conduct to all stakeholders, along with a standard policy of dealing with violations of the code. This clarity of communication is a critical component in maintaining the digital discipline in schools.
Q. What else does an AUP do for a school?
A. A LOT! It provides a fair degree of legal protection to the school management in case of litigation caused by cyber crimes done by students or teachers using schools technology resources. It helps to protect the online reputation of the school by discouraging unethical online activities by students or teachers. Overall, it promotes safe online behaviour among people and keeps them safe from online threats.
Therefore, it's not a surprise that implementing an AUP has become a best practice among schools globally. iMature EdTech has created a detailed draft of an AUP for schools. And the best part? IT'S FREE!
Want to see how an AUP looks? Want to implement an AUP in your school now? Explore the AUP draft created by iMature EdTech. Simply follow the instruction on the page to implement it in your school.
Congratulations in advance for taking a critical step towards becoming a truly digital and an Internet mature school :)