Acceptable Use Policies in the 21st Century
Wow, a topic like policies sounds exactly like what somebody in school library education would choose for a blog topic! But I’d like to share a few thoughts that made me think that it might be time to see whether our AUPs are doing what we want them to do.
The idea came to me last semester when I was visiting a practicum student in her high school. The media center was a busy place, with a class looking up information for an assignment. I noticed that the media specialist was doing searches in the OPAC and in GALILEO for some students and handing them print outs of the results even though there was a computer dedicated to OPAC searching that wasn’t in use. When I asked why I was told that she had to do this for students who didn’t have a signed AUP. WHAT???? A high school student without an AUP couldn’t use the OPAC or GALILEO?
My next stop was the GA DOE page that links to AUPs in all Georgia counties.
I have to admit that I didn’t look at every single county policy but I noticed that many haven’t been updated since 1997 and many weren’t dated. Just think of how our whole way of using the Internet and Web in schools has changed since 1997. Back in 1997 “google” was not a verb! MySpace and Facebook probably didn’t even exist in anybody’s imagination. Use of the Internet and Web are essential parts of information literacy today and we need to make sure that our policies address all of the new issues that we face in our schools. We also need to think about ways to get this message out to the parents of our students in a positive way.
Doug Johnson, who has a gift for thinking ahead on many school library issues, has written a great article on the topic called “Rules for the Social Web”. The pdf of the article can be accessed by linking to the archives of Threshhold (look in the Summer, 2007 issue).
Doug’s Blue Skunk blog also has a set of great links related to the topic along with links to a webinar he held for the Discovery Education Network:
And be sure to compare your county’s AUP with ISD 77’s AUP. You might have to add a new resolution to your list for 2008-a resolution to revisit your AUP!