Discussing Our Responsible Use Agreement

This year we are rolling out a new Responsible Use Agreement 1 to all members of the school community. In my mind this has needed to be done for quite some time and it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster getting here, but I would like to thank Andrew Churches for his excellent resources licensed under Creative Commons.

To introduce th RUA to the teachers, I was given 1 hour last Friday. My goals were to familiarize all teachers with the new RUA and to empower them to feel comfortable discussing the idea of responsible use with students since they are truly the front line on this. I worked along with the counselors to come up with some “grey area” scenarios in Responsible Use. We then modified the Visible Thinking Routine Circle of Viewpoints to get groups of four to discuss the scenario from one of four viewpoints: student, teacher, administrator or parent. At the start of each of the four scenarios, participants took on a new role. The idea, in my mind, was to highlight the “grey” nature of these scenarios and, by looking at them from various perspectives, encourage discussion and the teaching of responsibility rather than judgement and assuming students know right from wrong.

The four scenarios we chose were:

  • A legitimate search for images in class returns an inappropriate image. The student then shares that image with others.
  • After completing their work, a student starts playing a flash-based game unrelated to school.
  • While working independently, the student is constantly “multi-tasking.” As the teacher walks around, the student minimizes programs and hides the task bar.
  • At break time, a group of students is playing online games together.

I was 2 blown away by the amount of discussion this activity created, both during the activity and for the rest of the day. It has brought the idea of responsible use 3 to the forefront of our discussions about community.

The next step is to run a very similar session with all students in the Middle and High Schools as well as sessions for parents in the first couple of weeks of school. I want this to be on everybody’s minds as we begin this school year and it will tie in perfectly with our visit from Robin Treyvaud in October!

What scenarios would you choose to include that would generate discussion in your community? How do you share and discuss your RUA with parents and students?


  1. It’s an agreement and not a policy since it isn’t issued by our School Board
  2. And continue to be! The comments I am still getting are evident that people are still talking about it and that’s a huge win in my book!
  3. As I said in a tweet, the use of the word ‘responsible’ is very deliberate as we are hoping to build a sense of responsibility rather than a sense of “what can I get away with”?

3 thoughts on “Discussing Our Responsible Use Agreement

  • August 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    We have a lot of work to do in this field. Right now feels like we have so much going on that these, very important, conversations are on hold at the moment. But looking forward to tapping into your resources when we are ready to dig deeper into our AUP.

  • August 16, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I totally know that “have so much going on” feeling. But, in hindsight, this is the conversation that we needed to have first, before handing out the hardware and making the tools available. I think it would have made things so much easier and would have laid the foundation of responsibility first, rather than having to destroy bad habits before rebuilding. We’re only lucky that our students are, for the most part, good kids!

    I look forward to seeing how you guys move forward with this too!

  • August 19, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I’m in the same boat as you, Jabiz. However I’m in a bit of a better place in that I can insist we refocus when our new school year begins in January… so I am looking forward to that!

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