Journey to Excellence

Student Access to Technology


Student Access to the Internet
Student Access to Technology Resources

Student Access to the Internet

Rationale

The rich sources of information available on the Internet hold the promise of greatly enhancing the quality of education available to all students. Therefore, Internet access should be made available to students for the purposes of communication, research, and instruction. It is the intention to provide an Internet environment that is safe and appropriate for the maturity level and need of student users. Internet access by students will be monitored by teachers and the degree of access to the Internet should vary dependent upon the age of students.

Grades K-3 Limited use for specific projects by teacher request. Web sites should be limited.
Grades 4-6 Use will be project focused, adult directed and supervised. Web sites will be limited.
Grades 7-8 Use will be adult directed and monitored. Web sites will not be limited but student use will be monitored. Web Sites should be filtered or monitored closely.
Grades 9-12 Students will have independent use but on-line computers will be monitored. Web sites should be filtered and monitored closely.

Acceptable Use Policies

Once a school has accomplished the task of getting the hardware in place and Internet access is now possible, the task has only just begun. In order to keep the internet access manageable, many schools have developed an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that outlines the rules of Internet (and often general computer) use for the institution.

Like the rest of society, the online world is not always a friendly place. The best and worst of human activity and imagination is amply represented and available by the click of a button. There are technological means to monitor and block some of this, but before considering these means, there is a need to define what is and is not acceptable for the specific institution. By clearly defining the parameters before situations arise, teachers will be much better equipped to deal with them in the most agreeable manner. By publishing the school’s AUP and ensuring that all users read it before access is allowed, the claim of “not knowing” defense for infractions will hopefully be eliminated.

Examples of Acceptable Use Policies may be found at:

Student Access to Technology Resources

  1. Hardware

    1. Computer

      South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, and North Dakota were the nation’s top ranked states by students per computer ratio with Internet access in 2001. Each state had fewer than five students per Internet computer. The two worst ranked states by this measure were California at 10 and Louisiana at 9.

      Schools should seek to provide as low a ratio of computers per student as financially possible and that meets the goals of the school technology plan.

      Just as all schools desire to have textbooks and library books that are up-to-date, schools also need to continually update and replace their computer hardware. The Michigan Conference Technology Committee has established minimum computer standards for schools. These are divided into three levels and may be located at:
      Michigan Conference Minimum Computer Standards.

    2. Alphasmart 3000

      The Alphasmart 3000 is a simple, affordable, portable alternative to a computer that allows students and teachers to enter and edit text and send it to any computer for formatting or directly to a printer. Turn the AlphaSmart 3000 on and start typing. There are no manuals to read, and no programs to install. The portable note taker, weighing less than 2 lbs., is sturdy, holds about 100 pages of single-spaced text in eight files, is compatible with Macs and PCs, will run from 200 to 500 hours on three AA batteries, and has a three-year warranty.

      The low cost is ideal for schools that wish to provide individual workstations for each student at a fraction of the cost of full-featured PCs. Also, the company's SmartApplets programs can be downloaded to the computer to extend its capabilities.

    3. AlphaSmart Dana

      The AlphaSmart Dana provides an affordable and lightweight laptop alternative. A miniportable with a full-size keyboard, it runs on Palm OS 4.1 and can store 8MB of data or programs, and even more with cards with its two built-in Secure Digital slots.

      This unique 2-pound hybrid combines the convenience of a Palm with some of the power and features of a laptop. Its 560-by-160-pixel touch screen is 7.5 by 2.25 inches (3.5 times larger than most handhelds') and displays 11 lines of 12-point text. That is more than enough to use the included, full-featured AlphaWord word processing program or QuickSheet spreadsheet package.

    4. Handhelds

      An increasing number of schools are beginning to consider the use of handhelds as a computer literacy tool. Handheld computers can also motivate pupils to work independently, and the high-tech devices can also foster cooperative learning and enhance research skills as well as teach individual responsibility.
  2. Software

    Students should have access to productivity software in the following categories:
    • word processors
    • presentations
    • graphics
    • spreadsheets
    • databases
    • web authoring software

    Other categories of software that reinforce educational objectives that is recommended include:
    • drill or role playing software such as Oregon Trail
    • idea stimulating software such as Kidspiration
    • research software such as web browsers or electronic reference tools.

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