Laptops are great tools for learning, and should be available to everyone. Currently, only the seventh and eighth grade are given school laptops to take home, but school is becoming more heavily centered on using laptops, and it’s important that sixth graders have as good resources as seventh and eighth graders. Because of how often they need laptops, it is important for sixth graders to be given laptops to take home.
Sixth graders are given a lot of homework assignments, but can’t properly utilize their time at home because they only have laptops at school. “[If a parent is] using the laptop, the student doesn’t have the resources to do their homework,” explained sixth grader Brooks Olson. Brooks feels that for the amount of computer work that sixth graders are assigned, it’s impractical for them to not have laptops at home. “[Students] take notes on GoogleDocs, and sometimes to get more clear [information] about what the homework is, they’ll look on Haiku to see what the homework is in case they’re not completely sure.”
Brooks thinks that because so much of the work that sixth graders do is only possible on the computer, or has instructions that can be found on Haiku, laptops are a necessity for the sixth grade.
Another reason that Brooks feels that laptops should be taken home in the sixth grade is that not everyone has constant access to a laptop at home. While most sixth graders have access to a computer at home, it often belongs to their parents, some of whom are on their laptop a lot. “Sometimes if my mom is using the laptop… I can’t use the laptop,” said Brooks, “and so I’ve needed to go back to the teacher the next day and say, ‘sorry my mom was using the laptop, the only laptop we have.’”
For families that don’t have multiple laptops, students often struggle to get time on the laptop to do their homework, and end up not being able to complete their assignments. It’s unfair to give work that requires a laptop if the school isn’t providing a laptop for the students to use for their homework.
Brooks explained that not only are laptops important for school work, but they can also be used to take part in constructive extracurricular activities. “Some students are interested in coding. And coding also helps with learning and without laptops you couldn’t really code,” Brooks said. Coding is becoming increasingly important in the modern world, and by not providing kids with laptops, the school is limiting their ability to learn such a valuable skill from a young age.
Students can also use laptops to reach out to other students for help. “They would be able to email each other, like if somebody has a question about the homework, you could email your friend back to explain how.” This is especially important for assignments such as group projects, where students need to collaborate to fulfill the task.
Brooks has a plan that he believes can fix the laptop problem, while not just handing sixth graders laptops right away. “From [the second] half of the year on, [sixth graders] would be able to take [their laptops] home a few nights a week, but give it back for the weekend so it just gets them ready and responsible.”
Brooks’ plan is a suitable alternative to the current laptop situation in the sixth grade, and is one that should be considered by the school.