Over the course of the next couple of days at my school we are requiring that all students in the 1:1 laptop program permanently change their computer settings. As a school we are going to require that each and every student in the 7th and 8th grade have their Remote Login and Remote Management boxes checked under their system preferences on their computers.
This will enable us as a school to better monitor student activity and help guide appropriate student behavior while the students are on campus through Apple Remote Desktop. They have been informed: If a student changes their settings it will be considered a discipline issue.
You see, we gave our students administrative rights to their machines. With administrative rights, the students can install programs they may need, update their software on their own (so very important), and really make this dynamic learning tool their own.
We are in our second month of our 1:1 laptop program and it’s going very well. Teachers are modifying the way they teach and following many of the recommendations they received during their Out in Shanghai days training. And as Jason Ohler found in his most recent research, the student engagement in educational activities is through the roof. Quite frankly, students don’t have time to get into trouble with their computers while in the classrooms.
So why are we as a school doing this? I am still trying to come up to the answer to this question and I’ll diligently gather my research over the coming months. The jury is still out for me though. I don’t want this to be a “gotcha” program because I think that without student input it could erode the positive culture and relationship that currently exists between teachers and students. However, I am not ignorant and I know that there is always one… one student that cyber-bullies another without an adult knowing about it… one student that secretly chats with a friend back home on Facebook while she should be working on her talking worksheet in science class… one student that skips lunch to play Halo on a regular basis, avoiding conversation with friends and exercise for the soul.