At ASL, students in grades fifth through eighth grade receive laptops, and the seventh and eighth graders get to take them home. This provides a huge opportunity for learning because it allows kids to explore the internet as well as other things. It also lets the students work more freely because they can communicate through the internet. However, it does provides an opportunity for students to be off task in class by playing games, watching videos, or even texting.
A student in eighth grade, Emma Lucas, has experience with a laptop program at her previous school. At her school, laptops were used in school but not brought home. They were kept at school always and to do your homework, someone would have to use their personal computer.
She said “I think it’s fine to play games in class when you have extra time before or after class but during class it can be distracting to the person playing games and the people around them.”
Lucas brings up that ASL should still have laptops because its teaches us to be responsible. “It’s an easier way to get work done compared to pencil and paper.”
Eighth grade student Gavin Crawford talks about his experiences in the middle school. He says while last year a lot a kids were playing games, this year students are paying closer attention as it is harder in school and easier to get caught as the teachers mostly see anyone if they play games because they have the remote desktop app. He believes that while people in the tech department don’t look at the screens much because they don’t have time, when they do, they tend to look at the eighth grade more, and that makes people pay attention more. Crawford states that “The school provides us with technology and we shouldn’t take advantage and not use it for its purpose.”
Middle school technology coordinator, Mr. Colin Bridgewater provided information about what exactly the technology department does. “By law we have to keep an eye out for searches that contain extremism or self harm. There are red flags so if kids search certain terms it will pop up a red flag and we will have to investigate.”
He then goes on to explain exactly how faculty makes sure that students are using technology wisely. “There is the Remote Desktop application that a number of faculty have on their laptops and they use it to monitor just their own students or I’ll look at it and use it to monitor anyone in the middle school just to see if they are on task. I personally don’t focus on any one grade in particular. I’ll go through all four grades. ”
Since most teachers have the Remote Desktop application, what happens if students play games in class? Mr. Bridgewater explained, “Well I think the whole point of the strike system is to recognize that students are going to make mistakes. That they aren’t going to be perfect all the time and so the point of giving out an strike is to remind the student that they need to stay on task. Generally that is what they will get a strike for and not to give them a punishment the first time.” He then explained why he believes the three strikes provided opportunities for students to learn. “The idea is if you have gotten three strikes then it’s not just an accident or you have just forgotten you are clearly not getting the message of staying on task.”
Director of Student life Mr. Payson Bullard talked about why kids aren’t allowed to play games. “ Kids when they are in class should be focusing on their learning. Students should be paying attention to th teacher, working in a group, or doing individual work.” Later he said, “Students come to school to have the opportunity to learn.”