Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The Mt. Pleasant School Board held a special session on Feb. 28 to discuss technology in the classroom. One of the topics that was discussed was the continuance of students bringing their assigned laptop computers home every evening.
“The recommendation from the middle school administration and teacher leadership is that we suspend this activity,” said Mt. Pleasant School Superintendent John Hendrickson. “The pros to doing this suspension do not outweigh the cons in this situation.”
The program of the students having access to their computers while at home started seven years ago. The hope of the program was that kids would spend more time on their homework by having access to class materials, research materials, missing assignments and emails.
The idea was that the students, by having access to the computers, would have a more frequent and efficient communication platform with their teachers via email.
“Over a seven-year period,” said Hendrickson, “the consensus is that this communication is not happening. The computers have become a source of entertainment and social communication with other students.”
Over the years, the school system has seen a fair amount of damage being done to the computers. This expenditure all adds up on the cost of the program.
“The question was proposed that perhaps we don’t send the computers home,” said Hendrickson. “The alternative is that they get them when they are at school and get to use them during that time.”
There was some discussion that perhaps by suspending the home use of the computers, that there would be less social stress caused by the access that the computers provide. Some of the existing communication that gets flagged by the school’s monitoring programs, has proven to be disconcerting to some.
“There has been evidence that there have been cases where the communications show evidence of bullying and other social stressors,” said Hendrickson. “We thought perhaps a suspension would reduce some of that behavior. It may not be the right time for some of the younger students to have such technology at home.”