More Rules? I don’t think so

As more schools grapple with Acceptable Use Policies to fit more devices and situations, I like this approach from Traci Gardner, who remixed Michael Hyatt’s reasons businesses don’t need a social media policy:

Consider these Five Reasons Why Your Company Doesn’t Need a Social Media Policy, from an article by Michael Hyatt, listed with a little rephrasing to fit the classroom:

  • Students can be trusted. As Hyatt explains, “If you expect them to be honest and trustworthy, they will be honest and trustworthy.”
  • Online discussions are just one more way to communicate. I don’t write up lists of manners for every interaction students will have. Imagine how silly I’d look if I passed out the rules of etiquette for office hours, for instance.
  • More rules just make the classroom more patriarchal. How can I encourage student ownership for the work of the class if I sit around passing out rules?
  • Formal rules only discourage students from participating.Rules “make people hesitate.” If students hesitate or decide not to respond, online discussion suffers.
  • I already have policies that govern inappropriate behavior.Not only do I already have the acceptable use policies to fall back on, there are policies already in place for every situation from an honor code violation to disruptive or threatening behavior.

Actually, I would take things further by eliminating the AUP all together. Students behavior is best determined by agreed upon guidelines and dealt with regardless of whether technology is involved or not. Ongoing discussions about online behavior, appropriate commenting, and much more will allow students to learn and grow. Our social media world changes too quickly to come up with an arbitrary list of rules to follow.

Our online world is our world. Why do we differentiate?

Sharing Our Learning

Sometimes we get discouraged, wondering if our efforts to have our students working in self-directed ways can, well,  really work. Three years ago, a small group of us visited Jim Groom at the University of Mary Washington. He helped us set up a wordpress blogging system for our school.

It started slowly, but some people have taken it and run. One is Senior Exhibit adviser Katie Blashford, who sent me an email this morning:

If you have time you should see what our FA wiz kids are doing……many using their tech skills all on their own.

1.) see FAblogs with Maddie’s new tutorial videos embedded so cool
2.) Tomorrow is Rachel Fried’s medical forum.  Tom Catron is a guest speaker.  Unfortunately, he could not make a physical appearance so he prerecorded his speech and put it on youtube.  He is then skyping in during the Q and A portion of the evening.
3.) Kahlil just finished his KatalMath website…….this one speaks for itself.
4.) With many of the events coming up (gallary at Eileen’s Feb 13, Tyler’s guitar workshop , Rachel’s forum etc) the primary publicity has been via Facebook, medical blogs, guitar forums, and other social networking tools.

Of course, I give credit to Katie, who has pushed to help the kids make their learning transparent and meaningful. These are experiences they will remember. Powerful learning, Katie. Thanks so much for sharing.