Digital Citizenship Violations

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Some of our grade 6 students have been a bit naughty recently…

First, some background:

Last week I was tasked with writing a new AUP for our school. (I’m still waiting for feedback from Admin, but if/when it undergoes any changes, I’ll be sure to let you know.)

One of the issues I was toying with was what to do if somebody violates the AUP. If we believe that “access to technology and information is no longer a privilege but a necessity” how can we use the threat of denying access? Wouldn’t that also mean denying students the tools necessary to learn?

After a quick tweet out to my PLN, I got a couple of great responses:


Back to our naughty grade 6s:

Before this AUP even made it out to the school community, I was faced with a situation: some students were having a good time sending chain emails to the entire Grade 6 class. It was then compounded, when either people would reply to the chain email or would complain about the email by hitting “Reply All”.

After hearing about it, I dropped by each of the Grade 6 homerooms and had a “discussion” (it was more like a monologue) about chain emails and how they were disrespectful and irresponsible. We decided to let bygones be bygones and start fresh, knowing that we would no longer pass along chain emails.

Less than 24 hours later (24 hours!) they were at it again. I got a tip from a disgruntled student. I met with the three offenders and gave them a research project:

1. Research two or three potential dangers of email chain letters and spam.

2. Come up with a plan for dealing with email chain letters and spam in his inbox.

3. Write a 3 or 4 paragraph summary (in English, Vietnamese, Korean, or another language of his choice) describing what he has learned. It is important that he include links to the websites that he found when doing his research in steps 1 and 2.

I will post his findings anonymously on my school blog to help further educate other students about the dangers and precautions related to email chain letters and spam.

Was I too harsh? What would you have done?

2 thoughts on “Digital Citizenship Violations

  • May 30, 2010 at 11:29 am

    This is brilliant! I think it really teaches kids to look at things in perspective, while being productive to others. There’s no way you can get busted for doing something that’s clearly wrong and still do it after learning why exactly it’s wrong– most kids are great anyway and tend to only misbehave when they don’t see the significance behind it. It’s a weighty assignment, but doable!

  • May 30, 2010 at 1:01 pm


    [M]ost kids are great anyway and tend to only misbehave when they don’t see the significance behind it.

    I think that’s a pretty good assessment of the students at my school. I think, in their minds, what they did wasn’t related to the discussion that we had in class. They’ve turned in their findings, by the way. It wasn’t bad for grade 6 students; some of it was heavily ‘borrowed’ and needed to be re-worded but I think it will be useful for anybody who reads it at school. (I’m secretly hoping that some of our teachers read it too!)

    Thanks for you visit and your comment.

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