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Responsible Use Agreements for a digital age school

Posted by jturner56 on April 7, 2013

This being a school break week, I took the opportunity to catch-up with some reading.

  • Rethinking pedagogy for the digital age (2007) Helen Beetham and Rhona Sharpe (Eds)
    examined designing for learning in the digital age
  • Schools and schooling in the digital age (2011) Neil Selwyn
    called for an increased questioning and challenging of the politics of schools approach to technology
  • Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age (2012) Louise Starkey
    explored complexity theory and Connectionism (Siemens 2006) as a basis for developing a “framework for considering how knowledge emerges and evolves within education systems” in the digital age

I wonder whether our in-school thinking is influenced more by fear of what is as reported this past week an “imperfect, unpredictable and unstable…” future or, as Alan Kay speculated in 1971, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

As I consider my school’s Responsible User Agreement for students are teachers, which was forged when the 1:1 laptop was introduced, and in the light of student input from discussions across Grades 7 through 11, it strikes me that agreements that go with technology reflect how a culture views that technology. Each digital wave from 1:1 through the Net to now Social Media has increasingly broke down the four-closed-wall industrially designed classroom. Questions to consider might include

  • what personalized learning objectives are driving the 1:1 approach and how does policy support this?
  • should schools also have an RUA for pens and pencils (for as the saying goes “the pen is mightier than the sword”)?
  • how also should personalized mobile digital technologies be considered?

Depending on whether driven by fear or empowering for the future, an RUA will reflect what a culture sees in its approach to digital technologies across several key areas

  • Rights – in the digital age, with identity tied to digital connection understood rights and boundaries
  • Respect – as part of a connected society for peers and adults
  • Reputation – whatever is posted can go anywhere and find anyone and should be considered as such
  • Responsibilities – for teachers as well as students responsibilities are about commitment to teaching and learning for a digital age
  • Guidance – advice to support exemplary practice
  • Repercussions – for social misbehavior (do they need to be any different from the overall school approach?)

What do your RUAs reflect?



2 Responses to “Responsible Use Agreements for a digital age school”

  1. I like how the RUA has gone (philosophically) from ‘acceptable use’ to ‘responsible use’. Students (and others) need ownership of any RUA, coupled with guidance to make ‘good’ choices with digital technologies.

    I hope you had a chance to have a ‘break’ in your Spring Break – or at least you read all of that material in some lovely sunshine.

    • jturner56 said

      Thanks lovenguin for the feedback. Hope our f2f session lived up to this. Now for writing that does justice to the thinking.

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