Today I encountered a student in our one-to-one school who has decided not to get a school-supplied laptop. This created a minor speedbump in my creative writing class because we were just figuring out how to use Google docs to share our writing portfolios.
I found out that it wasn’t an issue with technology; she wasn’t Amish or anything. She pulled out her iPhone to check her gmail and to log in. I let her use my laptop to finish the sharing process, so she was eventually able to connect.
I had a brief discussion with her about why she chose to do this, “I just didn’t want one.” And how other teachers were handling it, “They’re making me copies of stuff.” I explained that we’d be using Google Docs for group day, to which she replied that she had a notebook and she could make copies as needed.
We’ll make due.
Another teacher questioned why the student would choose not to take a laptop. My question is what if fifty or one-hundred students chose not to? I mean, we can’t force them to take laptops, can we? Or do we? Does your institution?
If a student and his or her parents don’t want to take on the burden and responsibility that comes with signing contracts and paying for damages, then is it up to the educational institutions to force this upon them? To use a popular comparison, could a student opt out of taking a textbook for a class? Is this the same thing?
I’m just wondering what the politics are of this type of decision and how schools deal with a backlash toward technology?