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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the idea that computers must not be needed because the school isn't providing them is the most naive thing i've heard in awhile. You've really never worked in a place where something was needed but, for some reason, the school didn't provide it?
Yes, and no. I was being a little facetious.
I think too often, we get need and want confused. A need is something that we must have ( like food ). A want is something that we would like to have ( ice cream ). I would say that we need a computer for a class that teaches a computer application. But we want computers for writing our papers, research,etc. We might need text books, but we want new text books. I guess if the boss says we don't need them, then I guess we don't need them. You may need computers for a lesson that you want to teach, but you can always change the lesson so that you don't need them. When something is really needed, it will be there, someone will get it or supply it.
I think you and I must have very different philosophies on the role of technology in schools.
Actually I think we probably have pretty close philosophies. I believe technology could and should be used extensively throughout the curriculum and school day. However, I believe that it is the districts responsibility to provide the tools needed to accomplish that. Too often, I see teachers and support staff buying things they need (or want, depending on from whose view point. Administrators, view most things staff asks for as wants, and very seldom ever see the need) in their classrooms, only to have to buy more next year. Every year teachers are supplying more and more of what should be purchased by the school. Unfortunately most teachers and staff don't make enough money to support their family and fund their classroom. We will only succeed if Administration and School Boards see this as a need and I think that we need to start forcing them to look at these issues, and act accordingly.
I really appreciate your responses and am getting a lot of thought and information out of them.
We need computers to maximize learning and prepare students for jobs in the 21st century. Its not just about typing papers or doing online research.

Yes, the school system should provide what the teachers need. We all know though that sometimes they don't. If we can improve teaching and learning by allowing students to bring personal laptops I think we should allow it.

The idea of teachers buying things for the classroom would appear to be a separate subject from whether or not students should be allowed to use personal laptops.
Yeah, I'm thinking about a variety of scenarios here.

If there is no access on school machines I think its wrong to block children from bringing their own. Like I said, my instinct is that crippling one student because another doesn't have a laptop is a mistake.

Of course I also agree with some others who say we should push for everyone to have access to computers at school just as they have access to textbooks.
I guess in some ways, I might agree. If there was nothing else that needed to be done to allow the personal laptops on the network, then it might be ok. However, in most cases, this would require much additional expenditure. At a greater cost to those that can't afford access, as technology dollars would have to be spent for the infrastructure. This would leave less money to spend on computers that could be used by all students. Which in some ways could be crippling those that can't afford a laptop, and have to rely on school computers for all of their computer access.
Maybe the answer would be to have a fee for using a personal laptop at school, and base it off of the school lunch program (free lunch = free access, etc). Then the money that was collected by those using their own laptops, could be used to support the additional requirements that those computers would put on the network.
yes and no. Now instead of having teachers buy the things that the district should be buying, it would be moving that burden onto the parents of students. Parents who may or may not be able to afford the laptops, but may feel pressured to buy them, so that their kids can have the same chance to succeed in school. When 70% of our school students are on Free or Reduced lunch, I don't think they should have to purchase the tools that the school should be providing in the first place. I see it as just another way for the district to avoid their responsibility to provide the tools needed for a proper education.
Parents feel pressured to buy computers to help their kids succeed in school regardless of whether or not the kids are allowed to bring them to school.

We agree that the division should be providing computers as an essential learning tool. The fact still remains that some districts can't. In those cases it seems like it only harms the students if you don't allow those who have computers to bring them.
What if the district were to have a voluntary laptop program, where laptops were provided to those that wanted them, based upon the National School Lunch Program ( Free and Reduced lunch). Where students who received free lunch got their laptops for free, and reduced would have to pay a percentage and those that did not qualify would pay full price (which would be a "bulk" buy, so there would be a discount. Or students could bring in their own.
I'm not opposed to programs like that. Like I said I believe the school system should provide computers as essential learning tools.
Interesting discussion, I think districts should provide computers. I teach in a large suburan school district and I think the district has been good at buying the hardware. But, IMHO, that's the easy part. Getting the computers used in each and every classroom is a battle that hasn't improved much in 15 years.



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