While most secondary schools have had to wrestle with the influx of technology coming with the students, elementary schools have been mostly immune to these changes. But it is coming our way. I am sure some elementary schools have already had to address this, especially in more affluent areas where there may be more access to these resources. Kids receiving eReaders and tablets for birthdays and holidays are becoming more the norm than the new. The most notable rationale when I speak with parents about these purchases is, “I have one now, and so does my husband/wife. We thought he/she should have one too.”
I am finding myself agreeing with their reasoning. My wife and I have even discussed purchasing a simple eReader for my son. He’s an avid reader, and the idea that a book is only a click away would seem like a great way to encourage this essential skill and habit. It would be a part of his larger literacy diet of both paper and digital text. But once the technology starts coming in to school, how do we ensure that these tools are safe from damage or theft? In my school, we don’t lock the lockers. Thankfully, theft isn’t an issue I deal with often in my K-5 setting. But we are not talking about securing nominal items. These devices are significant investments, financially and in their child’s learning.
Some schools have a form that families must sign before bringing the tech. It absolves a school of any liability in case of lost or stolen items. With more families requesting that their kids bring their digital tools to school, this is something I am going to have to employ pretty soon. But they are also requesting that these tools stay secure, including putting locks on the lockers. My biggest issue I have with this is the message this sends. Locks on the lockers may convey a lack of trust. We are in an elementary school! This is not considering the more practical issues, such as how to conduct a locker search in a timely manner. A rare occurrence, but something else to consider.
As you can see, I have many more questions than answers. With technology continuing to become cheaper and subsequently more ubiquitous, I’m sure other elementary leaders have similar concerns. I hope that any readers here might share the wisdom of their experiences in the comments.