Wifi in the Classroom - Good or Bad Idea?

Posted by Lauren Moffett on Wed, Apr, 03, 2013 @ 10:04 AM

ClassroomWith the latest and greatest technologies giving teachers and students, alike, the access to a limitless supply of information, there comes a need for moderation and control in order to keep students on track. Wifi in schools, both in secondary and Higher Education, has become a part of what is expected of schools; having access to the internet on your tablet, phone, or laptop lets students utilize all of the tools available to them via the internet. Students can research school subjects, connect to other students, and write content relevant to their curriculum. Full access to the Internet also provides students the opportunity to procrastinate, divide their attentions, and to slack off without their teacher or peer's knowledge.

I need only to think back to my years in college to come up with a good reason why moderation is needed in Internet usage in the classroom and on campus. Picture me, sitting three rows back from the professor; the professor, now 25 minutes deep into a lecture about how to align tabs in an InDesign document, is addressing the classroom from his computer at the front of the computer lab. He is unable to see the screens of the student's computers, thus leading half the class to surf the web or to access Facebook... during the lecture. I see only a handful, in a class of 40, actually taking notes and paying attention. Granted, the fault cannot be fully placed on wifi, alone, but the fact that a majority of the class would rather surf cyber space than engage in the expensive 3-credit course they're taking, speaks wonders of my generation's self control.

When given the choice to access the Internet, students have little-to-no self-control when this choice in one in competition with schoolwork.

The information I'm presenting may seem pretty straightforward and would definitely not be hard to come by. But why is it, even after witnessing, firsthand, students blatantly misusing classroom time, that schools do nothing to screen the Internet usage on campuses and in classrooms?

I've had the pleasure to witness the extreme opposite of unregulated Internet in a different class of mine. The professor, again at the front of the room on their own computer, had access to each monitor within the lab. If the student in the back corner of the class was messaging his girlfriend via Facebook, the professor could see his screen on their own, and either warn the student or they could turn his screen on to mirror their own. Software like NetOp has this capability and more. Manage each of your student’s computer screens with the click of a button; it’s easy and a simple fix to lack of control.


Schools need to pursue this topic and manage it correctly, so their students have access to the resources they need while, also, being exposed to a limited amount of distractions.


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Topics: computer lab, classroom engagement, computer usage