When I started work at Mulgrave I was given a PC but I soon gave it up. I’m a Mac guy. There’s no value judgement in that; it’s just that I like working on that device and the switch was seriously impacting my productivity. The problem, though, is that our network didn’t (yet) talk to Macs which meant that I would not have access to the school’s shared drives.
But truth be told, I don’t want to connect to the school’s network. That’s not where I work. Like Charles Love says in his post, Mobile Devices: The next lock-down after filtering:
“What do learners want when they connect to a school network? Fast connectivity: they are not generally interested in accessing the local network, or the shared file store in school, or the corporate email service or the [local authorities] exchange server. The leaner’s content is on-line, in Google Docs, DropBox, SkyDrive; In Facebook, Livemail/Hotmail, Youtube and Twitter.”
Now, to be fair, Love uses the word “learners”rather loosely. It is a broad term and can mean anyone from birth to last breath…life-longer learners, as it were. So, we have to qualify Love’s comment and speak of learners of a certain maturity–I can’t see kindergarten kids coming with this complaint, for example. But there is an important principle here nevertheless: schools by and large are not user-driven organizations. While we cannot ignore legal and prudential considerations, we must at the same time be careful not to conflate them with this issue.
As Love suggests, we don’t need to ask how do we authenticate multiple and different devices on our school networks. Instead, we ought to be asking how to we move our teaching and learning (safely) onto the web–where the students are or soon will be? (With due repsect given to developmental issues and our duty of care.)