Educational Technology Bill of Rights for Students Part II

Posted by on Feb 9, 2012 in school technology | 4 comments

#edtech #mlearning #edchat

Wow! I must have hit a nerve with educators when I wrote my first draft of the Education Technology Bill of Rights for Students last month.

http://www.schooltechnology.org/2011/12/29/educational-technology-bill-of-rights-for-students/

student_ipad_school - 168

I got a boat load of emails (about 90% positive and 10% negative), and based those emails I would like to add these to the original:

11) I have the right to use the cloud. I hate to save things on the school’s server, especially since I cannot get to it from home. In the world I live in I can access my files from any computer from anywhere, that’s why I love the cloud. Which is why I get so mad when DropBox and others things like that are blocked. And no, I will not save it to a flashdrive. I’m a kid, I lose, break, wash, etc. flashdrives like nobody’s business. Oh, and by the way, I love Google Docs and hate MS Word. Just to be clear. There is a bad side to cloud computing — I can’t really tell you that I left that file at home or that the file I made a home is not compatible with the school’s computer. Which has been a great excuse for forgotten work for years.

12) I have the right to use alternative forms of data entry. For example if I want to use my thumbs to enter in my essay — don’t freak out. My thumbs can handle it. Or if I want to dictate my essay to my device — that should be okay too. The world is not going to end because I don’t hand-write my rough draft. I still believe in nice handwriting, but cursive is dead, so quit trying to kick this dead horse back to life.

13) I have the right to use apps that cost money. Don’t tell me to, or make me use only cheesy free apps, when a $2 app will do a 1000 times better of a job for a project I am working on. We don’t have to only use only free stuff (I know some are good). Because when I listen to you tell me to use only free apps when I have a $5 Starbucks in my hand, it seems sort of silly. I can handle a $2 or $3 app.

So here are another three, keep the ideas coming.

- Brad Flickinger, Bethke Elementary School

 

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4 Comments

  1. ” I must of….” caught my attention since it is improper grammar, never made it past that point

  2. Because people who use improper grammer are not worth reading?

  3. Brad,

    I agree with your original list, but #2 (“I have the right to access the school’s WiFi”) is not a simple proposition and to compare it with free WiFi at McDonald’s demonstrates a lack of understanding about the complexity (and expense) of providing some sort of open WiFi access to students (and staff).

    Even at its busiest, a coffee shop or restaurant does not have the usage of its wireless network when compared to a school which may have hundreds (if not thousands) of network devices connected to its network at any one time. In order to support this many devices, a school will need at least one access point in each learning space, and will need multiple access points in larger spaces like media centers, auditoriums, cafeterias, and gymnasiums. In our SMALLEST elementary school, this translated into 30 wireless access points. At our high school, this WOULD translate to close to 100 wireless access points. There is simply NO comparison in terms of square footage that needs coverage within a school as opposed to McDonald’s.

    With that many access points, a centralized wireless controller is a necessity and MULTIPLE controllers may be required. These controllers provide incredible support for configuring, monitoring, and adjusting the access points to ensure that they are functioning properly and providing the best level of access. Unfortunately, they are expensive, including the licensing required for the number of access points that are connected. They are also complex to setup and configure. We have an HP ProCurve controller supporting two of our wireless networks and it makes a HUGE difference. I think that you would agree that a reliable and responsive wireless network is crucial for teachers and students to be able to take advantage of mobile devices in the teaching and learning process.

    Lastly, bandwidth usage is a major consideration and NOT “an excuse”. In our state, we are required to use the DOE approved/sponsored ISP. There is a limit to the amount of bandwidth that we can afford to purchase through this ISP. We have to make sure that we have enough bandwidth to support crucial school and district applications (SIS, Google Apps for staff and students, Discovery Education, StudyIsland, online IEP system, online assessment systems, etc.) If we provided WIDE OPEN WiFi access to all staff and students, we WOULD NOT have enough bandwidth to support these other applications. What we are working on is creating separate VLANs for guest access that has a separate allocation of bandwidth that will ensure school and district applications will not be negatively impacted. This means complicated routing and switching configurations, as well as additional configuration of the wireless access points (hopefully through a centralized controller). It’s ABSOLUTELY worth the effort, but it takes time and it’s not a simple proposition.

    So, I hope you add this comment to the 90% positive column, but please do understand that it takes a great deal of resources and cooperation to create the infrastructure required to offer ubiquitous and reliable wireless access to all staff and students. I strongly feel that it’s worth the time, effort and resources, but “little” things like bandwidth are legitimate concerns and challenges that need to be carefully considered.

  4. As always it is the parents and teachers who should make education relevant to students. Technology must become an inclusive tool. Where all are able to have access to hardware and applications.On the one hand I bet using technology is not exactly learning – just as using a remote control does not teach you about television. You are the slaves to the technology; not the technologist.

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