Thursday, March 11, 2010

The AUP panel discussion

I was fortunate enough today to have been part of a panel discussion at the PASBO conference in Hershey, PA. The topic dealt with AUP's and how to have them work for everyone. On the panel were an attorney, a well-respected local tech director, and myself.

A couple items of note from that discussion. First, it was pointed out by the attorney that the CIPA laws have only to do with money. Failure to meet CIPA requirements means only that your Federal funds are in jeopardy. There are no punitive consequences associated with it. He also said that the CIPA laws are very clear about their intentions (although I wouldn't necessarily agree with them being clear) in that they deal specifically with material that would be deemed pornographic. So, those folks who cite CIPA as a reason for blocking wikis and blogs and Google docs are, at best, mistaken.

The attorney also reminded those in attendance that some of the issues that they voiced concern about fell under the category of disciplinary issues and NOT legal issues. (Did you hear me cheering?) OH, how I wish several school administrators and tech directors I know could have been there to hear that. It was very clear to me, at least, that he was saying that many of their fears were unfounded.

We had a good discussion about students bringing in their own equipment to school and using their data phones in school, etc. One person even wondered if that would, in fact, further worsen the digital divide between the have's and have not's. I suggested that a district could furnish laptops to those who didn't have one at home to make it a one-to-one district and do it for a LOT less than what they're currently spending to put enough computers in the schools. And, the fact that they weren't replaced more than every 5 or 6 years wasn't an issue, since they're not typically doing heavy processor work. Web browsing, word processing, etc. I'm certainly not the first to suggest that, but I do agree with it.

My final comment was (something like) this: "What we're doing in our schools is of monumental importance. I believe that our very global status as a nation is at stake. We ALL want our students to be able to compete in a global marketplace and to be digitally literate. Our own children are in these schools. There is a difference between the mindsets that would use CIPA as an excuse NOT to do something, and working aggressively - and that's the key word, AGGRESSIVELY, WITH the CIPA laws to provide the network, the tools, and the environment in which we can create digitally literate citizens. Our students and our nation deserve nothing less."

Well, at least that's what I had written down to say. How it came out may have been a little different. You know how that goes when you hold a mic to your face. :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am in a Network Security course right now at Wilkes and one of my assignments is to create a K12 school AUP. This post was stellar to some of the most important "hang ups" school districts have that continue to tout CIPA as to why the district blocks and filters good learning opportunities for our students. Your last paragraph??? I think I will display it in a frame on my desk. That statement oozed true eloquence in setting 21st century skills as top priorities in our classrooms, rather than the fear of 20st century learners.