Laptops are one of the coveted aspects of being in the seventh and eighth-grade, and are great academic tools for students. However, not all students are responsible enough to have laptops, and the school only gives them to the higher grades for a reason. “I don’t think sixth graders are responsible enough to bring their own laptops home,” explained sixth grader Eilís Kenney. Eilís feels that if sixth graders were given laptops to take home, they wouldn’t use them properly and it could actually be detrimental to their academic life.
An issue with sixth graders bringing laptops home is that they can’t be monitored the way that they are at school to ensure that they stay on task. “Using laptops at school is fine since the teachers can watch over the kids, but at home their parents probably wouldn’t know what they’re doing,” she said. Eilís feels that if there’s no way for the school to check the sixth graders’ laptops, then there’s nothing stopping them from using their laptops improperly.
Her main concern is how the laptop would actually be used. “If a sixth grader brought their laptop home they might not necessarily use it to go onto Haiku to see what their teacher put on for them; they might instead use it to play games.”
She feels that if the school were to give laptops to the sixth graders, they wouldn’t be used for the intended purpose: learning. She explained that the in-school laptops used by sixth graders aren’t even always being used as they should. “When the teacher may be talking they’ll be playing games that they find online and when the teacher will come they’ll just get a new window to hide what they were doing.” Eilís raises an important point; if sixth graders can’t even stay on task using laptops during school, then why should they be given more freedom to do the same thing at home?
“They would be using it to get in touch with friends, to make plans with them instead of using it for homework,” Eilís said.
One of Eilís’ concerns is that if sixth graders had laptops they would use them to socialize with friends instead of working on classwork.
Eilís worries that above anything else, sixth graders just aren’t ready to be responsible for their own laptop. “There is the chance that they would either leave them at home or at school and they wouldn’t be able to do their homework,” she explained. If sixth graders don’t keep track of their laptops and remember to bring them to and from school, then they wouldn’t be able to participate in class or do their homework. Currently, their laptops are always kept at school, which means that they can always rely on the fact that they will have a fully charged laptop waiting for them to use throughout the day.
Having a laptop can be good for students and provide them with a great resource to learn. But if a student isn’t ready to use that resource properly, then it can damage them as a learner, and stop them from doing the beneficial activities that they do now. Eilís thinks that less time should be spent on laptops, and that more time should be spent on productive activities. “Kids, instead of using laptops, should be reading, writing or doing things that are good for your mind instead of being on a screen all day.”