Take Your Son to Work Day
In April we had the pleasure of being involved with ‘Bring Your Son to Work Day’ when Luke, the 14 year old son of a member of the Computer Talk team, came into the office for the day. This was a great chance for us to learn what certain aspects of technology mean to young people. Luke was set a variety of tasks during his time in the office, from admin to an intro to technical, so that he could have a well-rounded experience. One of the tasks involved sharing his thoughts on technology and online safety in schools, Luke’s perspective makes for an interesting read. We will point out that we do not work with or support the school that Luke attends, so we will therefore keep it anonymous.
Part One – Overcoming Problems with Technology in Schools
In my school I think that there should be something that speeds up the internet and makes websites run faster. Some of our technology is quite outdated, and I think we need a booster to make our internet run faster. We may be losing out on some of our education because we are waiting a long time for websites to load. This can be a lot of our class and working time gone.
Most of the time when there is a problem with the technology it takes a long time for the IT Technician to come and help. This takes even more time out of our day and slows our education down a lot.
A couple of tips to speed up these processes.
- For teachers: try and use different resources to teach the lesson whilst you are waiting for a technician.
- Accessing a webpage: if a website gets stuck, refresh the page.
I think that my school should put some budget towards an improved internet or something that would speed up the learning environment.
Computer Talk’s Response
Wow! This makes for difficult reading. As students are used to superfast fibre broadband at home, they’re likely to become impatient when they’re accessing the internet. Dedicated broadband for schools (with excellent speeds) can be much cheaper than you might expect – it might even be less costly than your current service. A service create purely for education can assure speeds, and maintain a high level of safety when accessing the web.
Some of the points that Luke raises may be concerned with the network, rather than just the internet. A reliable server and network makes a world of difference when it comes to opening applications or speeding “up the learning environment”. With budgets increasingly stretched, a little investment here could actually improve productivity and make better use of staff time too.
Part Two – Improving Technology in Schools
In school we use technology a lot of the time for lots of different things. Firstly, it is used a lot in classrooms. We use laptops when we need to research something on the internet, this is really useful but sometimes the laptops may be broken or don’t work properly. I think that we should put some of the IT budget towards new laptops because some pupils are losing out on finding out vital information.
Secondly, I think that the school should put more money towards buying new interactive whiteboards as there are only a couple of classrooms that have them. This would help the school a lot as it would make the working environment a lot easier. Also my school uses fingerprint scanners so that the pupils can buy things in the canteen and check how much money is left on our accounts. I think that the school should buy some more though as there is always a long queue when you want to check it.
Computer Talk’s Response
It’s becoming quite clear that one of the biggest motivators for Luke is time. Even when he was in the office he was very organised, speeding through tasks (and checking them) to achieve as much as possible. Whilst not all pupils are motivated in this way, he does have a clear argument for making sure that technology enables time to be spent well.
Students expect results quickly, and often struggle with the gap in technology that they’re used to and what the school can afford to provide. Whilst it’s hugely daunting to spend a large amount of new technology that only needs to be replaced in 3-5 years, equipment and resources do not have to be so costly. Leasing is a safe way for schools to spread the cost of this investment, make a greater impact with implementing new technologies, and ensure that equipment remains up to date. In addition to this option, refurbished kit (complete with warranties) may be a feasible alternative depending on your requirements.
Part Three – Online Safety in Schools
When I think of online safety, I think of schools tracking what you search and blocking certain website. I think that this is a really good thing as it stops teenagers and even younger children searching things that may not be appropriate or that could mentally harm them. I don’t know if my school has it, but I think that they should have certain software that tracks what you are searching and what you are doing. This way they can know what you are feeling and they can speak to you about any problems that you may have. For example, you might be witnessing abuse at home or something else you are scared about. I feel that all schools should have software similar to this as it stops children witnessing things on internet that they should not be able to see.
Also, nowadays there is a big problem that has started to occur and this is online bullying (cyber-bullying). If all schools had software that could see what children are typing and posting on social media when they are using the school computers, this could stop a lot of incidents of bullying on social media occurring.
In conclusion, if schools had this certain software that could track what you are doing and block different websites that could be inappropriate then it could help lots of children to use the internet safely.
Computer Talk’s Response
Luke clearly cares about and craves the security of knowing that he is safe, especially in school. He shows how important it is for schools to be open and honest regarding discussions about online safety and the procedures they put in place. Online safety, appropriate monitoring, and supporting children in line with the Prevent Duty is now more important than ever. Simply restricting access will not act as a suitable platform in which to teach young people the right digital skills to keep them safe online in the future.
It’s highly likely that Luke’s school does have some sort of monitoring software installed, and most certainly will use filtering of some description. There are plenty of products on the market that can assist with this, to find out more about our recommended solution, click here.
It’s important to point out that Luke is a responsible, well-behaved and respectful individual. He is also reasonably clued on and aware of the dangers online, which will definitely have an impact on the way he views technology both in and out of school. At home, Luke tends not to spend too much time glued to a screen, and due to the fact his immediate family work in IT, or are teachers, has open discussions about the potential dangers of being online.