Friday, February 26, 2010

Seriously Conflicted

Read this Boing Boing article.

The use of laptops by school children has become a hot topic because of the hugely talked about case of school administrators spying on kids at home using laptop webcams. I think the Boing Boing article really tries to draw parallels between the recent spying case and this story from last year which I think is completely unfair.

The Philadelphia school was spying on kids using webcams on school provided computers WHILE THE KIDS WERE AT HOME. The Bronx school is using laptops IN THE CLASS ROOM. Those children could be directly observed in a public space so there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in that situation. A teacher could watch them in person just as easily as over a webcam...that is completely different than watching them in their homes.

Something else that should be considered. The school as had great success in using those laptops and views it as a way to prepare those children for their future in the workplace which is dominated by the literate use of computers. Having worked in a corporate environment I would say that making sure that these kids KNOW that their computer activity is being monitored is extremely important. I assure you it will be monitored in the workplace and the consequences of their actions in that case could result in loosing their job. They need to learn accepted and appropriate uses of their computer, there is a time and place for everything.

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