Thursday, September 26, 2013
What's The Point?
A recent news story has me questioning why some school districts even bother with going 1to1. In Los Angeles, the district began a 1to1 ipad initiative in at least three high schools. They blocked access to all social media sites, both at school and at home. In about a week, over 300 students figured out how to breach the security on their ipads and surf the Web and get on Facebook and Twitter at home. The districts response was to no longer allow the ipads to go home with students and to postpone the rollout of ipads to other students until they were able "to ensure it has 100 percent control over what is accessible" on the ipads.
Check out the story here: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/09/25/program-halted-after-la-students-breach-school-ipads-security-in-week/
We are a 1to1 school this year. All students from kindergarten through 12th grade have an Apple device of some kind (K-5 have ipads, 6-12 have MacBook Airs). As teachers, we have talked about the distractions that present themselves when students have constant access to the internet. Discussion of cyberbullying, digital citizenship, and time management happen among teachers daily. The question has been asked, "What do you block?"
In our district, we have chosen not to block most sites in the high school. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest are all accessible to students and staff. Yes, I have to remind students once in awhile to get off of those sites, but I also have students access those sites. I find that accessing social media is more of a classroom management issue (and sometimes a time management issue) rather than a technology issue. We must teach students when its's OK to use those sites and when it isn't.
In Creative Writing, students and I have been known to tweet out pieces of our writing. Students are now creating a Digital Storytelling project. They'll be creating a movie using pictures and videos they have created. Want to know where today's students archives most of their pictures and videos? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine..... How can they access those sites if we block things at school and at home?
Freshmen English students write blogs. We are now sharing those blogs with students in other parts of the state. I'd love to find classrooms in other parts of the country....the world.... to connect with. They are beginning to get comments from people besides me. Remember your first blog comments from strangers? It's pretty exciting.
Speech and Drama students create projects that require them to find information online, to access free images and sounds. They can't do that if we block their access to the internet or certain sites.
I'm not trying to say that going 1to1 is without it's hiccups, that everything is pie in the sky wonderful. It isn't. It takes work. You have some additional things to teach. But it is so totally worth it.
So, I don't understand handing your students the world in a device and then tell them not to explore and use that world. I don't understand limiting the resources they need to think about that world and get to know it. I don't understand not teaching them how to get along in that world. I'm sure there is fear involved, but fear needs to be conquered. No great discoveries were ever made locked inside a box.
I just don't understand.
But if you are going to hand them the world all the while telling them they can't be a part of it, spend your money on paper and pencils instead, and call it good.