Home Access Problem – Please help!

When I’m visiting schools lately and talking about the home access scheme and how great it will be I’m always slapped across the face(baby powder included) by one huge, big, stinky question.

I try to encourage schools to allow pupils to bring their laptop in from home, when I ask the school:

Me: How are you going to support kids bringing their “home access laptop” in?

Teacher: “What about the kids who don’t get a laptop from the scheme?”

Me: Erm…??

Please help me answer the question!

Nearly all of the schools I work with have good enough wireless coverage to support this so it makes sense, right?  We have technical solutions in place for antivirus, updates and other technical risks..

8 thoughts on “Home Access Problem – Please help!

  1. This is not an easy one.

    Just because some don't or can't, do we reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator? So because not everyone can, then no-one can?

    I've been searching around for an analogy. The closest I can think of was calculators when I was at school. School provided calculators but we were also allowed to bring our own in from home. Some kids did, some kids didn't. Some kids calculators sang and danced, others just walked.

    Some kids get free school uniform, others get free school meals. Some get free technology. Is it fair? Is it not fair?

    I haven't really got an answer to you question, but these are my thoughts.

  2. What about trying something that more of the children might have access to? I was really surprised at how many of mine have nintendo ds's – ok, we're not going to be using them on the network, but the children are bringing them in for our work this week. Have had to have permission from parents.

  3. I think the clue is in the title.. it is a Home Access machine for use in the home by the Family and it may or may not be a laptop. the schools should already be providing suitable ICT access and not be relying on pupils topping up the numbers.

    The beauty of this plan is that it is a non-stigma raising… I think you endanger this if you get some pupils to bring kit in and others not.

    While that pupils is at schools the family can then use that device to move up in the world.

  4. I think Andy has a really good point here. Rather than sell Home Access through the school's existing ICT departments the way to sell it is to parents through school newsletters, parent-teacher evenings, etc. By selling through the ICT departments, you are being blocked by the IT staff not wanting to support extra machines in their school.

    The ICT staff don't need to get involved in Home Access at all, it's for home usage.

  5. Seems like a horribly wasted resource though?

    In reality schools don't have the budget to provide the amount of ICT they would like to provide.

    Note to Alice: My meetings are with school headteachers, not ICT departments. I see your point though, the technical barrier is wayyyy lower than the social barrier.

    I'd like to think in x amount of years our schools networks and lessons are "device-agnostic". Maybe that's a pipe dream?

  6. Terry: that's a real problem for those of us promoting Home Access. Schools buy cheap laptops in bulk at a discount and then sell them to the kids/parents at a profit, and therefore Home Access is a threat to them rather than a beneficial thing.

  7. I don't think schools buying/selling is common place. I also have to assume that isn't the status quo when talking with schools. That isn't my obstacle at the moment though.

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