Student laptops are prohibited in our school because of security concerns about viruses and what-not getting on the network. Even teacher laptops are strongly discouraged.

What are the policies at your schools? What kind of precautions have been implemented in schools that do allow students to bring their laptops to school? Are they allowed on the school's network?

Tags: laptops, networks, security

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At our school every teacher has a laptop and we have a couple of mobile laptop labs for the students to use in class. As far as viruses we have Trend Micro on every laptop and computer and I'm sure on the server level there is more precautions as well. The district takes care of that. We haven't had any problems with viruses.
We have laptop labs, but we have had requests from students to use their own laptops from home. I am sure that many schools have some provision or another for this (or perhaps not).
Steve -
Our school system is blessed to be headed up by a leader who believes strongly in network security, but also believes in providing the tools and training necessary to prepare our students for jobs available today and in the future.
Our system uses Bit 9 to control access to approved/unapproved software and licensing for that software, and Lightspeed to control access to approved/unapproved sites on the Internet. All teachers are provided a website using SharePoint, and starting this fall, all students will have a site using SharePoint, as well. It will act as a digital portfolio of their work from K-12, and provide them a safe place to begin using Wikis, Blogs, and surveys. In addition, students are provided an email account through Gaggle.
In order to make all of this work, our BOE provides A LOT of professional development covering how to use the technologies, how to incorporate them into our teaching, AND how to be responsible and safe users of Web 2.0 tools (through iSafe.) In addition, we have a clear Internet and technology use policy that is enforced for faculty and students.
All of our teachers are provided laptops by the system, and we are working toward a 1:1 ratio of machines to students. Outside machines are not allowed on the network in order to protect the network, and to ensure that licensing laws and system content rules are not being broken. Ultimately, our technology director is held responsible for any content or software on any machines on the network, so to protect our system and himself (and to maintain the support of the Board of Education), he has had to deny private laptops on the network. For us, it's all about protection.
Talking to the college students that work for me in the summer got me thinking about this. Plus, I attended a conference at a private boarding school where wireless access was ubiquitous. Clearly, there is a way to manage this.

I think that if we don't plan for a day in the not-so-distant future to do this we will be doing the students a disservice.

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