Students, schools battle over laptop use

Students, schools battle over laptop use

There are 33 comments on the Farmington Daily Times story from Nov 2, 2008, titled Students, schools battle over laptop use. In it, Farmington Daily Times reports that:

There were about 10 total incidents, and three of them involved students viewing pornography sites, said Mesa View principal Kim Salazar.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Farmington Daily Times.

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Paladin

United States

#1 Nov 3, 2008
Mr. Obvious is shocked, shocked I tell you. Internet predators cruise the net looking for children in this age group constantly. Mr. Obvious thinks it might be hard to find these kids if they aren't online, so we had better give them a laptop so they can get in a chat group.
Get a clue folks, Government schools might be a dangerous place for kids.
pineapple

Kirtland, NM

#2 Nov 3, 2008
I find it ironic that school that tout themselves as being up on the latest research would give laptops to inquisitive junior high students. Laptops are being banned at major universities, harvard being one, because students are persuing their emails rather than taking notes. If Ivy league students are not using the laptops for the intended use, do you think junior high students will?
KCHS

Houston, TX

#3 Nov 3, 2008
pineapple wrote:
I find it ironic that school that tout themselves as being up on the latest research would give laptops to inquisitive junior high students. Laptops are being banned at major universities, harvard being one, because students are persuing their emails rather than taking notes. If Ivy league students are not using the laptops for the intended use, do you think junior high students will?
Laptops aren't being banned at Universities. Some instuctors are asking that students not use them during classes. I bet most of the kids looked at the sites they weren't supposed to at home not at school. I think it is great that the schools are teaching students to use computers at this age. Of course there are going to be a few bad apples but that doesn't mean the schools should throw in the towel.
Ask Why

Nageezi, NM

#4 Nov 3, 2008
They should've already known instead of allowing kids to take home laptops. Most of the time they aren't used for educational purposes- a majority of the time is spent downloading music, games and Yes pornography. So much for holding on conservative values.

Since: Sep 08

Aztec, NM

#5 Nov 3, 2008
I'm not entirely familiar with the program, do the kids "check out" a computer at the beginning of the year and return it at the end, like a math book? Or do the kids "check out" a computer on a shorter time basis, like a library book? Personally, I think it would be better to do shorter-time-check-outs, how many middle schoolers have homework loads that need a computer with internet access every single night or weekend?
Cary Nickel

Albuquerque, NM

#6 Nov 3, 2008
KCHS is entirely incorrent in the assumption that the students were looking at the sites at home. My son was one of the ones who got busted in his classroom looking at internet porn sites, from his laptop, in his CLASSROOM. The website address was given him by a classmate who had already done the internet "legwork" required to find the unblocked site.

This was the second time I personally know of where kids were looking at innapropriate content from their classrooms at school. The first time, it was other kids, and my son just happened to be watching.

The kids were also spending so much time emailing each other, that the school district finally curtailed student email use, apparently by shutting down "student to student" emails. Now the students can only email staff.

At the same time, the laptops are being used for very little school work.

I have personally asked folks at Mesa View if "hard copy" versions of the textbooks on the laptops are available, because if there is another incident similar to what has happened already, the laptop will be taken away from my son, if not by the school, then by me, and he will go back to "hitting the (real) books." Hard copies of the books ARE available, I have been told.

The Farmington School District's laptop computer program is ill-concieved and poorly executed. The Farmington School district is poorly equiped to manage the use of the laptops, and the internet content students can access. This has resulted in a constant game of "cat and mouse" between the students and staff, while the students attempt to hide their innapropriate internet usage from parents and school officials.

The idea of the Farmington School District giving students what amounts to a nusiance for both staff and parents is ridiculous. Perhaps experience will teach the Farmington School District that there is no good substitute for books, pens, and paper.

The money and time wasted on the Farmington School District's student computer program could be put to much better use. For instance, in better funding physical education programs, music programs, and the like.

Since: Aug 08

Farmington, NM

#7 Nov 3, 2008
We should go back to chalk and slate. Darn those new-fangled pencils and paper. All the students want to do is doodle.
We should go back to pencils. Darn those new fangled inkwells, all the students want to do is play with the ink pot.
We should go back to inkwells, those new disposable pens promote bad handwriting.
Typewriters? Oh My GOSH! Our students won't know how to write the old fashioned way.
Computers? The world is going to end, the sky is falling! All they want to do is download music and chat online.

Here's an idea. Students know how to "play" on computers already, don't you think it's time our schools become involved in teaching them how to use them properly. This is what this program is helping them do.

The benefits FAR outweigh the few negatives. As you can see the district is actively engaged in minimizing these negative aspects and punishing those who exploit the privilege.

Since: Aug 08

Farmington, NM

#8 Nov 3, 2008
My point was. These are teenagers. It doesn't matter what they are given, a certain percentage will push the envelope and abuse what they are given.

To the parent, I am sorry that this did happen with your student, but I guarantee that they were disciplined.

I think the bottom line here is we all have a responsibility to protect and educate them to the fullest extent possible. In your case, and I'm not singling you out so please don't take offense, it was your son's choice to enter the website in question. Did he know it was wrong? I can just about guarantee you he did. He did it anyway.

To answer your budgeting concerns. This money could not have been spent anywhere else but on technology in the classroom. The way the state provides money to the schools would prevent that.

I know that the committee who worked to see this all come about did 2 years of pre-planning. I also know the district has been working on this for about seven years. For you to say that it is poorly implemented based upon a very few abusing their privileges is simply wrong.

I encourage you to come into your child's classroom. See all of the powerful learning that is going on in the classroom using these computers. You would be amazed at the wonderful learning opportunities that this program has created. The fact that it barely began 2 months ago is amazing to me.

Since: Oct 08

Placitas, NM

#9 Nov 3, 2008
Cary Nickel wrote:
KCHS is entirely incorrent in the assumption that the students were looking at the sites at home. My son was one of the ones who got busted in his classroom looking at internet porn sites, from his laptop, in his CLASSROOM. The website address was given him by a classmate who had already done the internet "legwork" required to find the unblocked site.
This was the second time I personally know of where kids were looking at innapropriate content from their classrooms at school. The first time, it was other kids, and my son just happened to be watching.
The kids were also spending so much time emailing each other, that the school district finally curtailed student email use, apparently by shutting down "student to student" emails. Now the students can only email staff.
At the same time, the laptops are being used for very little school work.
I have personally asked folks at Mesa View if "hard copy" versions of the textbooks on the laptops are available, because if there is another incident similar to what has happened already, the laptop will be taken away from my son, if not by the school, then by me, and he will go back to "hitting the (real) books." Hard copies of the books ARE available, I have been told.
The Farmington School District's laptop computer program is ill-concieved and poorly executed. The Farmington School district is poorly equiped to manage the use of the laptops, and the internet content students can access. This has resulted in a constant game of "cat and mouse" between the students and staff, while the students attempt to hide their innapropriate internet usage from parents and school officials.
The idea of the Farmington School District giving students what amounts to a nusiance for both staff and parents is ridiculous. Perhaps experience will teach the Farmington School District that there is no good substitute for books, pens, and paper.
The money and time wasted on the Farmington School District's student computer program could be put to much better use. For instance, in better funding physical education programs, music programs, and the like.
Beautifully stated! And absolutely true! The money wasted could have went to some much needed programs, how about the kids that don't get to go on the expensive field trips, or the kids that can't afford school supplies, or the kids that really want to join band or another activity but can't afford the equipment or fees? Seems the money could have been spent to REALLY benefit the kids...

Since: Oct 08

Placitas, NM

#10 Nov 3, 2008
Dan2 wrote:
My point was. These are teenagers. It doesn't matter what they are given, a certain percentage will push the envelope and abuse what they are given.
To the parent, I am sorry that this did happen with your student, but I guarantee that they were disciplined.
I think the bottom line here is we all have a responsibility to protect and educate them to the fullest extent possible. In your case, and I'm not singling you out so please don't take offense, it was your son's choice to enter the website in question. Did he know it was wrong? I can just about guarantee you he did. He did it anyway.
To answer your budgeting concerns. This money could not have been spent anywhere else but on technology in the classroom. The way the state provides money to the schools would prevent that.
I know that the committee who worked to see this all come about did 2 years of pre-planning. I also know the district has been working on this for about seven years. For you to say that it is poorly implemented based upon a very few abusing their privileges is simply wrong.
I encourage you to come into your child's classroom. See all of the powerful learning that is going on in the classroom using these computers. You would be amazed at the wonderful learning opportunities that this program has created. The fact that it barely began 2 months ago is amazing to me.
Dually noted...but...
I encourage you to take a walk down any neighborhood, park or mall and see what these kids are really doing with these laptops after school is out, and believe me it isn't just "a few bad apples". Everywhere I look I see mid-schoolers with their laptops looking at anything but educational material.
Concerned Teacher

Albuquerque, NM

#11 Nov 3, 2008
Some of the staff at these schools have tried going back to pencil and paper and already the students feel entitled to these laptops. When asked to put them away for an old fashioned lesson their response is simply, "No this is my computer and you can't make me put it away."

While the idea of laptops in a classroom is ideal and they are a great TOOL, that is far from what they are being used for in this situation by most of this area's middle school students.

Since: Aug 08

Farmington, NM

#12 Nov 3, 2008
AnotherNobody wrote:
<quoted text>
Dually noted...but...
I encourage you to take a walk down any neighborhood, park or mall and see what these kids are really doing with these laptops after school is out, and believe me it isn't just "a few bad apples". Everywhere I look I see mid-schoolers with their laptops looking at anything but educational material.
Anothernobody, I do understand that they are using them outside of school for entertainment purposes. That's natural. They are also being afforded the opportunity to use them for academic reasons outside of school.

I don't know many adults who would prefer to go home and do work at home. Don't you think these kids are the same? They aren't mindless little automatons and "little adults." They need to be kids and have fun too. Is it such a bad thing if they can have fun after school and have a tool that can help supplement their learning, instead of going home and playing video games or watching Sponge Bob Squarepants?

This is time gained. I've personally seen many Keynote presentations, that the same as Powerpoint for you non-apple folks :).
I've seen the use of video logs in the math classroom. These vlogs have students actually teaching the concepts in short 2-3 minute segments. You KNOW someone knows something when they can teach it, and they are doing a great job.

I've seen teachers use some of the online materials in the classroom to keep students abreast of current events and scientific advances. I've seen many things, including the venerable, word processed document.

The point being, these laptops have created MANY new opportunities for these kids. It is money well spent. Students who refuse to pick up a book, are reading. Those who hate Math are doing a ton of math in the form of flash games and drills. They wouldn't be doing these things otherwise. Instead they'd be at home playing the Xbox or doing something else unproductive ALL the time.

Since: Aug 08

Farmington, NM

#13 Nov 3, 2008
Concerned Teacher wrote:
Some of the staff at these schools have tried going back to pencil and paper and already the students feel entitled to these laptops. When asked to put them away for an old fashioned lesson their response is simply, "No this is my computer and you can't make me put it away."
While the idea of laptops in a classroom is ideal and they are a great TOOL, that is far from what they are being used for in this situation by most of this area's middle school students.
Of course they are a great tool and if they are giving you that response, you simply need to apply classroom management techniques that you've learned through your classes. WE are the adults, WE are in charge, what WE say goes, when it comes to learning in our classrooms.

I totally disagree that they are NOT being used in the classroom effectively. The district did not make it mandatory that we use the laptop in our classrooms. By all means, if you don't like them, don't use them.

The next time they show you insubordination and disrespect, well I'd like to think you'd know how to handle that.
Curious

Grand Junction, CO

#14 Nov 3, 2008
Dan2, I am assuming you work with the School District, I would be curious which department you are with tough.

Computers being loaned out is an interesting concept. It has been tried in CCSD, and then removed after it was no longer effective. I do not know all the details of the plan. But I would prefer for the District to be honest with the the public. Yes they can get around the filter and they will. No matter how that filter is setup it will be compromised. Usually it uses word lists, White & Blacklists of web sites as well as various other techniques.

Any parent that is under the assumption that the filter will stop their kids from viewing incorrect material is wrong. It may slow them down, but if they want to they will get around it.(I know) Not that this is the districts fault, but they must be fully honest with the parents and the media.

Since: Aug 08

Farmington, NM

#15 Nov 3, 2008
I work in one of the middle schools.

In this very article it was explained by our technology staff that indeed no filter is 100% full proof. They have been open to the public concerning all aspects throughout this process.

I'm not an expert at filtering technology, but I do know they use a filtering system that is far advanced when compared to the simple word filtering process. You'd have to ask the experts there.

During the laptop orientation that EVERY student and parent had to go through, this information was shared. Teachers also have been trained to realize this.

If you want honesty and full disclosure by our district's tech staff then your concerns should be relieved knowing that they have been throughout all of this.

I grew up with MANY excellent teachers, but had a few who were the "read the chapter, do the review questions" types. These teachers then sat behind their desk and graded, or did whatever else they'd do. It wasn't fun back then, and it can't be fun now. I suspect it is this type of teacher who may be experiencing the most issues with laptops. Thankfully, they are few nowadays.
Honestly

United States

#16 Nov 3, 2008
As a parent of 2 mid schoolers from Mesa view, I HATE the lap tops. They may not be able to access first class (interschool email) But they can accessaany of the other emails. One of my kids is doing great with it, but the other has so many F's that even grounding doesn't work because She always has "homework" to do and low and behold she always has other windows open where she is online or is listening to music. What good does it do to ground her for her 5 F's (which is a new thing for her) when she can still play around on the internet and listen to music or watch movies all under the ruse of doing homework? I can't tell her no you can't do you work but Iknow that most of the time she is messing around on it. Take them away go back to paper books!!! As for emailing. first class may be gone but yahoo, MSN, Aol and so forth are still accessible and completely abused. And there s no monitoring of that because noone has their passwords to check it.
Curious

Grand Junction, CO

#17 Nov 3, 2008
"I think part of what happens is, since no filter is 100 percent, if a student spends hours and hours and hours of looking for something not blocked, they're going to find it,"

So it takes hours and hours and hours to get around a filter, uh no. Sorry but that is not the case even for just one student, but if you have many students it takes minutes because they will constantly share the info. So, NO, that is not 100% honest.

I am no teacher, but I am in the IT industry. I agree that your district put alot of foresite into this. Still doesn't mean I like seeing all those laptops. I am honestly curious, who pays for the broken laptop repairs?
Concerned Teacher

Albuquerque, NM

#18 Nov 3, 2008
Dan2 wrote:
<quoted text>
Of course they are a great tool and if they are giving you that response, you simply need to apply classroom management techniques that you've learned through your classes. WE are the adults, WE are in charge, what WE say goes, when it comes to learning in our classrooms.
I totally disagree that they are NOT being used in the classroom effectively. The district did not make it mandatory that we use the laptop in our classrooms. By all means, if you don't like them, don't use them.
The next time they show you insubordination and disrespect, well I'd like to think you'd know how to handle that.
These computers have not yet appeared in my classroom, this is not a problem that I have myself but have heard others state that this "tool" has become a "right" for students. With all of the classroom disruptions and management issues we as teachers already have it is awful that another issue has been added. I think that there are teachers that use this tool well, you maybe one of them, but this tool was given to many students with out proper instruction on how to use the computers as a tool. This article shows that there are problems and that students are misusing their computers. Maybe the district could have taken more time in getting to this goal of having children with laptops, Maybe one grade at a time?
Just ME

Rio Rancho, NM

#19 Nov 3, 2008
Well, Duh!! I could have told you that this was going to happen. Kids are curious. Not much anyone can do about that!!

Since: Aug 08

Farmington, NM

#20 Nov 3, 2008
I think the point he was making was that students had to be actively engaged in thwarting the system. You'd have to ask him. I won't argue semantics with you (but could.) I've never tried to do that myself, but know it isn't easy for people unless they are IT experts like yourself.

I'll include the following link to the FAQ to answer many of the questions I'm sure people have. It would answer them far more definitively than I possibly could.

http://www.fms.k12.nm.us/fli/faq.html

The bottom line is that this program is young, but working:
As a parent of a middle school student I've seen him personally get a LOT of learning experiences from his laptop that he wouldn't have had.

As a parent,I know that I'm the one responsible to see that it gets used properly. If I get any crap from him he'd simply lose privileges. I'm the one in control, not him. If that means he does his homework next to me while I'm doing something else, then I'll do it.

As an educator, I see the positive learning going on and the active engagement in our students. I also know that our technology team works EXTREMELY hard at implementing this program, and should be COMMENDED not DERIDED.

Finally, I'd encourage you to support this program. It has given teachers a tool that they can use to hook students in today's multimedia based environment. I can now compete for their attention instead of using chalk and chalkboard for students who need a multi-sensory, active learning environment. It's not the end all be all answer to all of our academic issues but it is a great start.

I'll leave it at that and let others say what they wish. I KNOW that it's working.

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