Acceptable Use Policies are boring…let’s face it; despite our best efforts to “give them teeth”, enforce them effectively, and use them wisely, many AUPs are boring to read through, and usually only prove to showcase our more controlling and restricting policies. Or so I thought. I took both my district’s Student and Staff AUPs, and put them through the automagical site, Wordle, the website that does for text what Animoto does for images; makes them pretty.
The Student AUP results surprised me. Wordle works by analyzing the text you give it, and then creates a cloud of words based on the frequency of the individual words. The more often a word appears in your text, the larger it appears in your “wordle” picture. You can click on the picture above for a larger view of the Student AUP Wordle. We had a fair number of words with more negative connotations that appeared more often (unauthorized, contained, disciplinary), it also included a lot of more neutral and positive words like academic, responsible, communication, and educational.
Our Staff AUP was even heftier on the “happy” words with vocabulary like expectations, facilitating, implementing, and using. In a way, I guess it makes sense that the adult AUP would be more focused on using, facilitating, and guiding students’ use of technology, while the student AUP is focused more on discipline and appropriate behavior.
Of course, this method doesn’t prove anything more than the fact that I can copy and paste text into a webpage. Simply looking at how often words appear in a given text without the actual context of the document is a poor way to examine it. It’s still fun though, and interesting that on the very surface the AUPs for my district appear to be more focused on neutral and/or positive verbiage.