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Borrowing computers January 31, 2006

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.

laptops  Several years ago, when I was still a Masters student and a teacher in a local high school, I asked the staff at the Instructional Technology Facility if I might borrow a laptop since I had to make a presentation in Atlanta. They expressed some shock that I, a mere Masters student, would dare to ask for such an expensive piece of equipment. I suggested that I was beholden to the college since I was working on a degree and that I was surely a trustworthy person since I was a teacher and responsible for children. Those arguments did not wash; besides, they did not even have a laptop to loan anyway.

Today, teachers in some districts are expressing some dismay that they are not allowed to take their school laptops home to continue to work on projects for their school or their districts. If you know a teacher, you know that our day does not end when the children leave the school. Many of us work throughout the weekends as well so it makes sense to let us carry on using the tools we have at school.

There are hundreds of valid reasons why a teacher might have to take a laptop off school property over the weekend, but now lawyers in some districts are telling teachers that the district is putting themselves in jeopardy by allowing teachers to take a these tools off campus. They worry that the machines will be stolen and are not sure who would pay for the replacement.  This issue really rubbed some of my discussion list members the wrong way. One responded:

“Tell your admin to get a backbone and look for reasons give the teachers 21st century tools on a 24/7 since teachers work 24/7, instead of sniffing around for reasons not to help the teachers.? 

Another reported this in his district they have an accounting form that indicates change of location of equipment. This form, easily acquired and submitted allows teachers to “check out” items like computers. The form also releases the liability of the teacher in the event of theft as the district still claims proof of ownership. Some districts require teachers to pay for replacement or repair using their own personal insurance. Other districts offer teachers the opportunity to buy an annual insurance policy for twenty-five dollars. One teacher reported paying in weekly installments until the cost of the laptop stolen from his car had been recovered. Responsibility certain goes both ways.

It seems prudent for schools to have an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that outlines staff responsibility but the bottom line is that schools have the responsibility to realize that teachers will need these machines after hours. Teachers need to realize that they have responsibilities when using the machines, such as to avoid breaking license agreements by downloading or installing non-approved software. 



1. Zs - January 31, 2006

You are so right with technology at home and at school (or reverse).
One thing I am bothered with is that I cannot (I am sure there must be a way – and I am sure YOU will tell me) access my office computer from my home computer. Last weekend I was working on a proposal and I was so irritated discovering that a part of my work was actually written and saved on my office computer. Not wanting to go Sunday afternoon to school I postponed the work till Monday morning. But believe me I was so upset!
So, what do I do to be able to access my office files when I am home and working on a Sunday? SIUE does not have the shell (at UA I got in the habit uploading there everything), and I forgot to upload to my gmail account where I have space. I want to go in my computer file when I am away from office. What to do?

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