Bosco (2011)

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Bosco, J. (2011) Acceptable Use Policies in a Web 2.0 and Mobile Era. A guide for school districts. Consortium for School Networking Initiative (CoSN). http://www.cosn.org/Default.aspx?tabid=8139 (accessed 04-09-2012)

Information and communications technologies (ICT) policies in schools have two dimensions. One is to ensure that students are protected from pernicious materials on the Internet. The other is to enable student access to the extensive resources on the Internet for learning and teaching. While these two dimensions are not intrinsically in conflict, in actuality, such can become the case.

There is a wide range of restrictiveness with regard to Internet access in school districts across the U.S. Some districts believe that the best way is to rely on blocking and filtering to eliminate access to harmful sites. Other districts take a different policy stand. While they also use blocking and filtering that federal law requires, their policy is based on the premise that children need to learn how to be responsible users and that such cannot occur if the young person has no real choice.

This CoSN Policy Guide looks at the two approaches in the context of federal and state laws. The increasing use of Web 2.0 applications in the home and the increasing prevalence of smart phone ownership by school age youth are key factors in causing many districts to have to review their AUP and to include provisions pertaining to Web 2.0 and smart phones. The guide also points to examples of AUPs and other resources relating to Web 2.0 technologies in schools.