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Running head: RESPONSIBLE USE POLICY LETTER: PARTS I & II 1

Responsible Use Policy Letter: Parts I & II

Pia L. Bowes

Grand Canyon University: TEC 530

Dr. Shawn Shavers-Sublett

11/8/17
RESPONSIBLE USE POLICY LETTER: PARTS I & II 2

Responsible Use Policy Letter: Parts I & II

School districts allow students to access technology, so that it may be integrated into

instruction and help them be more prepared for the 21st century job market and society. In order

to align themselves with federal law, The Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA), school districts

must have certain elements in their internet safety policy or acceptable use policy (Bosco, 2013).

The following paper contains a comparison of two such acceptable use policies (AUPs) and

recommendations for updates and improvements to my current district’s acceptable use policy.

Part I: Comparison of Acceptable Use Policy

I chose to compare the AUPs of my current district, Prince George’s County Public

Schools, and my previous district, Newport News Public Schools. These district’s policies were

formatted completely differently, found in different locations within each organization, and of

different length.

Comparison Table

Prince George’s County Public Newport News Public Schools (NNPS)


Schools (PGCPS)
“Protect private information such as “Additionally, students shall take
addresses, phone numbers, or reasonable care to protect their
passwords.” personal information while using social
The element of protecting minors’
networking technologies.”
personal information is addressed in
both AUPs, though they are stated NNPS labels it as more of a
differently. PGCPS’s is more responsibility for the students than a
Similarities succinct. statement to all.
“Respect All copyright laws.” “Any copyrighted materials accessed
Both of these statements can be through NNPS computing systems
applied to the “unlawful activities of remain copyrighted and may be subject
minors online” element (Bosco,
to Fair Use Provisions of copyrighted
2013). Again, PGCPS’s is very
clearly stated. law as they relate to education.” NNPS
is more specific about accessing
RESPONSIBLE USE POLICY LETTER: PARTS I & II 3

copyrighted material through NNPS as


opposed to in general. Illegal activities
are addressed in statements other than
those previously listed.
Nothing is explicitly stated for “the NNPS has a security section that
safety and security of minors when focuses on using only their own account
using email, chat rooms, and forms and not sharing accounts with other
students. NNPS also has a general
of direct electronic communication”
statement. “Students shall only access
element (Bosco, 2013). The closest NNPS computing systems in ways or for
statement that PGCPS has is “Use purposes as specifically directed by
the computing devices for their authorized employees.”
intended education purposes only.”
There are statements in the
prohibitions about not using group
accounts log-ins, not accessing chat
lines or chat rooms, and
misrepresenting yourself.
PGCPS addresses inappropriate “While students are accessing NNPS
matter in the Prohibition’s section of computing systems the division will take
the administrative procedure’s all reasonable precautions to restrict
document. It does not state what student access to all undesirable
precautions the district takes to materials.”
restrict student access to NNPS uses “Undesirable materials” as
inappropriate materials. an umbrella to address both elements of
“inappropriate matter” and “harmful
materials” (Bosco, 2013). It also
charges students with the responsibility
of avoiding materials and reporting it to
Differences adults when they have gained access.
“Use appropriate language. This NNPS has two things that pertaining to
applies to public message, private communication; that they carry no
messages, material posted on web expectation of privacy and they may be
pages.” As the internet is mainly reviewed at any time, by any adult.
about giving and receiving There is a statement that says, “students
information, you would expect to see should exercise good judgment at all
something about appropriate times when using the systems.” This is
communication between students. another general statement, though.
The consequences are listed out for “Violations may result in loss of access
PGCPS, so you know what will as well as other disciplinary or legal
happen if you violate any part of the action.” There is no specific policy of
RESPONSIBLE USE POLICY LETTER: PARTS I & II 4

procedure. The positive here is that list of specific actions, so I have nothing
everything is laid out, so there are to compare or contrast. There is a
very few questions as to what could positive to this because this allows you
happen. leeway for exemptions and extenuating
circumstances.

Part II: Responsible Use Policy Letter

This letter is to be written to the Chief Executive Officer of the Technology Training and

Instructional Technology Office, Melinda Gooch. It should be noted that PGCPS has a 12 year-

old Technology Plan, but it does incorporate components of the National Education Technology

Plan (PGCPS, 2005).

Letter

Name: Pia Bowes

Address: 1234 Shaketown Rd

Greenbelt MD, 20705

Phone No.: 123-456-7890

Dear Ms. Gooch,

I am writing to express several concerns about Prince George’s County Public Schools’

(PGCPS) Administrative Procedure 0700 Information Technology Services – Acceptable Usage

Guidelines. Its content should be updated to reflect district changes, should address all of the

elements required by The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), and should align with both
RESPONSIBLE USE POLICY LETTER: PARTS I & II 5

the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) and Maryland’s Education Technology Plan

(METP).

First and foremost, it was written in 2013, and when I entered the district, in 2015, new

equipment, which required new training and procedures was introduced. Also, new software

allowing students more access to the internet and communication with others is now included in

instruction. There is no specific statement that pertains to student safety and security, though

pieces of what one person might consider as components of safety and security are listed in the

prohibitions section amongst 22 prohibited actions. Also, there should be measures restricting

minor access to harmful material, but none are listed. Perhaps this could be addressed, as a

disgruntled parent may notice that the of the six technology acceptable uses, using appropriate

language is mentioned and so is respecting the limit transmitting information, but the safety and

security of minors from inappropriate matter and harmful material is not.

Secondly, though PGCPS does have a Technology Plan, which is dated 2005, PGCPS’s

acceptable use policy should still align with the National Education Technology Plan or at least

indicate that there is a document that does. One noticeable difference the lack of emphasis on

equal access to technology by all learners (USDE, 2016). As a special education teacher, I am

acutely aware of some children’s need for assistive technology gain equal access to the

curriculum. If the curriculum is changing to include more technology, then the technology would

be adapted or new technology would be provided for those students. Just like those students use

assistive technology to access the curriculum, learners from disadvantaged home life situations

can use technology, at school, to close the digital divide, or the gap between themselves and

students who have access to technology in multiple places (USDE, 2016). The digital divide is

more noticeable now because students are being required to complete activities through online
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software. That can be difficult for families without computers at home, as library computers are

not always available. An instructional piece dictating the integration of technology with

instruction, not completely replacing it would help level the playing field, if issues preventing the

funds for new technology arose. Another component that could be included in the AUP, and one

is to have teachers that are knowledgeable enough to create technology integrated into

instruction (MSDE, 2007). It is an excellent idea to provide these students with new hardware

and software, but if teachers are not able to use the new technology, it is being wasted. The

technology trainings that are currently offered are attended by mostly the same teachers,

technology coordinators, and tech liaisons every year. Even including a requirement of one

training per year would help improve the skills of the “digital immigrants” that are in many

classrooms (Maloy, Verock-O’Loughlin, Edwards & Woolf, 2017, p. 45).

Lastly, if our mission is to truly bring students into the 21st century and prepare them to

be successful members of society, we should adapt our acceptable use policies into responsible

use polices. When should be empowering them with the tools they need to become “digitally

literate,” not restricting them to remain teacher dependent in their learning (Maloy et. al, 2017, p.

104).

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Pia L. Bowes

Conclusion

It seemed to me that NNPS’s AUP was written with more responsibility on the student,

like a responsible use policy, while PGCPS’s was clearly an AUP. If Prince George’s County
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Public Schools can change the climate from acceptable to responsible, our students will be even

more successful.
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References

Bosco, J. (2013). Rethinking Acceptable Use Policies to Enable Digital Learning: A Guide for

School Districts. Retrieved from

http://www.cosn.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Revised%20AUP%20March%202013_final.p

df

Newport News Public Schools. (2016). Internet Acceptable Use Procedures Form: Acceptable

Use of Computing Systems By Students. Retrieved from

http://sbo.nn.k12.va.us/resources/handbook/internet.pdf

Maloy, R. Verock-O’Loughlin, R. Edwards, S. & Woolf, B. (2017). Transforming learning with

new technologies. Third Edition. Retrieved from http://www.gcumedia.com/digital-

resources/pearson/2017/transforming-learning-with-new-technologies_ebook_3e.php

Maryland State Department of Education. (2007). The Maryland State Technology Plan for the

New Millennium 2007 – 2012. Retrieved from

http://archives.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/C3BAD835-6100-484C-8397-

85279EB95A34/13485/TechPlanFinalfromPrinter73007.pdf

Prince George’s County Public Schools. (2005). Tech Final Plan. Retrieved from

http://www1.pgcps.org/uploadedFiles/Offices/Information_Technology/Training/Instructi

onal_Tech/Tech%20Plan%20Final.pdf

Prince George’s County Public Schools. (2013). Administrative Procedure 0700 Information

Technology Services - Acceptable Use Guidelines. Retrieved from

file:///C:/Users/pbowes/Downloads/0700%20(1).pdf
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US Department of Education. (2016). National Education Technology Plan. Retrieved from

https://tech.ed.gov/files/2017/01/NETP17.pdf