Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Question of the Day: Hey Kid... Got Tech?

Some interesting conversations on Twitter this morning got me thinking about the following question:

Does your school have any tech hardware/access requirements for students that are NOT provided for by the school?

Flashdrives? Laptops? MP3 players? 

Are you requiring students without home access to access after school via public libraries?

Are you in a 1:1 school allowing machines that students choose on their own as opposed to machines recommended by the school? 

Are there technologies your school is uniformly BANNING?

I'm interested in both public and private schools and whether (and how) you've seen expectations change over the last few years.


  1. I teach at an international school in Pakistan. I have been reading your blog for the past year or so, and have been inspired to try going paperless this year in all of my classes (I teach high school English). We are not a 1:1 school, but almost all of my students have their own laptops (as well as internet access at home), and I have a small bank of computers in my room for those who don't to use. We have wireless throughout the high school, and use Moodle. I am on Day 3 of our new school year, and have not used a single piece of paper yet! Today all of my students set up their own blogs. It is going to be a steep learning curve for all of us as we figure out how to use our computers and the internet to do everything we used to do on paper. Wish us luck as the school year progresses!

  2. At Castilleja School in Palo Alto, CA (all girls, grades 6-12) kids can bring whatever laptop device they wish. They own it, they administer it. We do not filter. Students are responsible for performing their own backups, either to our network, a flash drive, portable hard drive, their choice. We advice students about sharing common resources with courtesy and common sense (such as bandwidth) and may speak individually with users who don't get it the first time. All of our students have broadband access at home.

  3. The 8th grade team put flash drive as a recommended supply on the list we sent out over the summer, but didn't phrase it as a requirement.

    We have 1:1 through the MLTI program, students do not get a choice of machine to use - everyone gets a MacBook.

    Recently, Ipod's, Nintendo DS's, mp3 players have been banned. I was saddened by this step back when in many other areas of technology we are moving rapidly forward.

    This will be my third year as a teacher, all in the same public school. I've seen change happen already. People are asking me how to set up a blog, how to use googleDocs. The staff is really great in that way-they see success and aren't shy/afraid to learn more about how they can adopt similar practices. The addition that is being built onto the school will have mounted smartBoards and ceiling mounted projectors. I'm getting a short-throw projector this year (psyched about that!).

  4. Patty Korchinski
    In Flin Flon Manitoba Canada, we are not a 1:1 school, more like 1:3(ish). So far I have only seen one student bring in their own laptop, as I teach in the computer lab, there isn't much of a need. Our school does block all gaming sites and of course facebook among other things. Up until yesterday twitter was blocked too. We are a hardwired school but in the process of going wireless.I have taught using wiki's, blogs and google docs before but I will be using twitter for the first time this year, along with glogster, wallwisher and prezi. Will see how it goes. I really enjoy reading your blog and have tried going paperless as well, challenging but worth while.

  5. Oh and I blog intermittently here:
    And my students blog here:

  6. Our high school has about 700 computers for nearly 3,000 students mostly in the media center, learning centers (where there may be 6 computers for 15 to 20 kids and 8 or so computer labs that may reserved for one class at a time); use of social networks, private email, text messaging, chat software, personal web pages, any ad supported sites and a few others are prohibited and blocked by the school server. GoogleDocs is ok as is Rubistar and QuizStar at Use of iPods, iTouch and MP3 players is up to the discretion of the teacher but generally discouraged. Classrooms have 1 computer used primarily by the teacher. YouTube can be accessed by staff only and only one day at a time by request to the Media Center.

    Apparently, a middle school student was doing homework and through a series of click-thrus ended up on an ad that a parent did not feel was sutiable for a middle school student to view. The parent complained to the school board and a rather draconian computer use policy was implemented.

  7. I teach at a private school. When students are accepted, they are given flash drives with the school logo printed on them. I do require the students to use the flash drives and tell them where I've found them cheaply and also tell them that they might be able to get one from the Admissions Director. In terms of access, students have study hall. I don't think that anyone in our school doesn't have access at home and would need to go to the library, but if they did need time on the computer, the lab would be available during their study hall.

    I wish, however, that we were a 1:1 school. Many of our students have laptops and bring them, and they add so much to their learning. Case in point: I was reviewing 1st and 3rd person narration, and a student asked me if there was such a thing as 2nd person and what an example would be. I started talking about the Choose Your Own Adventure books and was just bringing up Bright Lights, Big City, when a student pulled up more information and found more examples because he was searching for 2nd person narration on Google with his laptop. We do have enough students who bring their own computers that I can generally put them in groups and wind up with computer per group at least. Out of curiosity, I would be interested to know what kinds of computers students choose in a 1:1 school that allows choice. Our students tend to favor MacBooks.

    We block Facebook and MySpace and gaming sites (our IT has .info domains blocked because so many of them have games, he says—he's pretty good about unblocking sites if we need them). We do have access to YouTube.

    I think over time the expectation has certainly been that students at our school have computer and Internet access at home in order to do assignments, even if they don't have laptops. I also think we have increasingly expected students to be comfortable with wikis and blogs and sharing work online. I have only had one parent who objected to it. I don't think it would surprise me if in the future we expect students to have laptops.

  8. I'm in a 1:1 school where our students are required to buy Toshiba tablet laptops--I believe one reason was that we provide on-campus tech support, which is much easier when the model of computer is the same. Our server does block sites like Facebook and YouTube, but teachers can request access to any blocked sites.

    We ave recently banned cellphone usage during the day partly due to cyberbullying, which is a topic I don't see addressed as often as it should be in these discussions (though I teach in an all-girls school, so the way bullying looks is certainly affected by that).


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