During some recent conversations, it was mentioned that it would not be too long before students started bringing in laptops from home. What are your thoughts on letting students bring in thier own laptops, and putting them on the school wireless / wired network? I personally believe that if students need to have laptops during the school day, at school, that the school should provide them! I believe that allow those that can afford laptops to bring them in and use them during the school day, gives them an unfair advantage to those that can't. While there is not much we can do about what they have available at home, I do think we have an obligation to keep things as fair as possible at school. Grants and scholarships are awarded based on how well students do, and allowing those that can afford laptops, gives them an unfair advantage over those that can not. Also I see the wealthier students "picking" on the poorer students, who either can't afford a laptop, or that might bring in an older laptop ( kind of like the newer cell phones, to bag phones). I believe that if we want or need students to have laptops (or actually anything expensive) that the school should provide it! We don't make students purchase the books they are required to use in class, nor the tools they have to use in shop class, why should we require them to have to purchase thier own laptop! Or worse yet, go without, while those that can afford one, are allowed to bring them in.
Not to mention the headache that they would cause from a management stand point. These are my thoughts, am I wrong? What are your thoughts?

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My first instinct is that crippling one student because another student doesn't have the same resources is the wrong move.
But is it really crippling the student? And if this is crippling the one that has the laptop to use, what effect is not having a laptop doing to the other student, who may not have access to a computer at all, outside of school? If it is crippling the students, then we should look at ways of providing access to all, at least during the school day / week. I think crippling would be like one student having a book, and the other not. This would be crippling in my opinion. Is this on the same level of crippling? If so maybe our schools could save money by having students that can afford them, buy them, and the rest can suffer through it (no I am not serious). But thats why I believe that if they need it, we should provide it! And as Steve mentions below, with the way that schools spend money, providing one to one computing could be done. I don't actually think laptop programs are feasible at this point in time though, as the cost of such programs has been staggering. More one to one computing in the classrooms that needed it, would probably be a better answer for now.
My first reaction is that our IT guys would never open the network to computers they do not have control over, it could be a nightmare. Second reaction, schools should supply the tools needed for their students.
I can't even bring in my own laptop to hook up to the network without a lot of red tape to circumvent. I can access the internet, our grading program and our email, but nothing on our internally-accessed programs.
To begin with, almost all colleges that I know of allow students to connect to the campus wireless network, so the argument that it cannot be deployed securely doesn't work in my book. This was discussed briefly in another thread. As Indigo says, schools need to look at what they are doing in colleges as a model.

Furthermore, the line between computers, cell phones and other devices is starting to blur. Some kids are already bringing devices that allow them to browse the web, check email, etc. They are just using cell access to the data (computers can do the same thing). Access to wireless is already seeping in unless we start lining our school buildings with lead.

As far as fairness goes, class inequality is pervasive in American society and is reflected in clothes, technology, opportunities and almost everything else. It is what it is. Ideally, I'd like to see the schools provide those laptops. I don't know whether or not that is going to happen in many schools. Frankly, compared to some expenditures schools make, it doesn't amount to much and I think it would be money well spent. I wonder what the research says.
I agree that there is connectivity in colleges but colleges don't serve thousands of thirteen year olds! Would you open your network to a bunch of kids who pretend like they know what they are doing?!! Ha
We will have to disagree on this. It's coming anyway. In fact, I was at a private girls school which indeed had such connectivity two years ago--even for 13 year olds. There are ways to secure this. It could be argued that it is even more of a risk with older students that may have more technical expertise, much less supervision, and much more free unstructured time.

I don't think my opinions are laughable.
Steve, Not laughing at you, I'm laughing at the thought that there are lots of young men who fancy themselves amateur hackers. I've taught gifted kids for 25 years and have had several in big trouble for hacking the network as middleschoolers. The whole issue doesn't make much difference to me---My students have all the access we need and I am retiring soon.
A technical college near me, just did this. They have less students than our district, and a little less area than us. The cost of their project was ( which included switch upgrades, etc) was somewhere around $500,000.00 . And this does not include the yearly maintenance subscribtions, that are usually needed. With the trends in technology, I would venture to say it will last right around 5 to 8 years. We are a district of less than 2,000 students. I think one to one computing in the classrooms would be much more cost effective.
One thing to consider in this conversation is how easy it has become to sync information from one computer to another. With services like Google Apps, Delicious etc students can easily research and work on multiple machines without losing much productivity. If computers are available in the classroom then there is an argument that students don't need to work on their personal machines.
Good point, I think the poster was implying that kids did not have access in the classroom but could if they brought their own machines.
Yes, I think this is a better answer. My thinking is that if more access is needed, then the school should provide it, otherwise it must not be needed (otherwise the school would be providing it). I am a advocate of one to one classroom computers, where needed. This is kind of in contrast of one to one laptop programs, which I feel, right now are pretty unsustainable, due to the cost of such programs. In lower grades (K-6 or so) I think that if they had enough computers for 1/3 to 1/2 their class, that this would probably be ideal (from cost perspective anyways). Something like the approach taken at Morris Brandon Elementary in Atlanta http://morrisbrandon.com/tech/BrandonFinalBriefingjul06.pdf or http://morrisbrandon.com/forms/pta_tech_slides_aug2006.pdf. I think what they did with an old laptop cart was great http://morrisbrandon.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&a... .
Sorry I got off topic, *LOL* I tend to ramble and one thing always seems to lead to another*LOL*. Bottom line, my thinking is, if they need books, we should provide them and if they need computers, then we should provide them too.

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