A Technology Usage Policy is signed by all staff, parents, and students with the goal of insuring dependable access to technology resources for all. Unfortunately, to be legally binding, these policies often are written in a language unfamiliar to students. It is important to discuss this policy with your students in terms they can understand. Go over expectations and consequences. Provide examples of appropriate and inappropriate use. Model appropriate use for your students.
Examples of Appropriate Use
- Requesting permission/assistance from the technology administrators prior to installing any software or hardware
- Deleting unwanted messages or old files
- Acknowledging the receipt of documents or files
- Using copyright free/Creative Commons licensed images on web pages or documents
- Using e-mail to collaborate with other classrooms on activities
- Using e-mail to communicate with peers to discuss educational issues
- Using the Internet to locate curriculum related resources
- Scanning a flash drive for viruses before using it on a school computer
- Limit using your email address on forms and do not post it on your web page or blog
Examples of Inappropriate Use
- Using inappropriate language in an e-mail message
- Sending or receiving an e-mail message with a large attachment (over 1 meg), such as a family photograph
- Providing your name, address, phone number, or credit card information to a web site or in an e-mail message
- Downloading music files or games from the Internet for non-curricular purposes
- Downloading and installing freeware
- Downloading/streaming videos during school hours
- Sending unsolicited chain mail
- Sending an e-mail message for solicitation or advertisement purposes
- Installing software from home on a classroom computer
- Accessing inappropriate sites
- Using someone else’s ID and password to log on to a district’s server or into the SIS program.
- Accessing chat rooms for non-curricular purposes
- Downloading podcasts during school hours
- Opening attachments from people you do not know
- Use SIS to see the permissions granted by parents when signing the Tech Usage Policy (use Internet, post work online, use email, etc.)
- Students should at no time be left unsupervised at a workstation.
- The filtering software is used to strain out inappropriate sites by locating offensive words in their content. However, you cannot depend solely on this filter to insure that your students are visiting only appropriate web sites.
- For elementary students, make it very clear they may never type in a URL. The teacher provides links to sites he or she has checked. Some teachers create a links page as part of their class websites; students may then access the sites at school or home.
- Students in grades 3-8 can use kid safe search engines. Students in grades 6-12 can use general search engines but always with close supervision. These students need to learn how to successfully search the Internet.
- Make sure students understand that they should not give out any personal information over the Internet.
- Discuss pop up advertisements and flashing banner ads. Explain to students that they should not click on any of them, even if they have “won.”
- Instant messengers and chat programs may not be used in the classroom by students. It opens a way or students to communicate with people outside the classroom — very dangerous since here is no record of the transaction.
- When blogging, comments should be moderated, approved prior to appearing on the blog.