Not everyone has a computer at home… but maybe they should

I heard this for the umpteenth time recently, you know how it goes, “Well, that’s all well and good but not everyone has a computer at home.” and I just wanted to scream.

At this point in time not having a computing device at home is a real issue for anyone, not just students. If you don’t have a computing device and access to the internet then you’re really not a part of our twenty-first-century society, you’re not able to engage with social networking, online shopping and all the entertainment that the world can offer. Worse still is that it limits your options in terms of progression, no computer skills? Good luck getting a job in an office. No online access? How can you sell your junk on eBay?

Maybe if we actually set work than involved computers then students that haven’t got one might realise how important they are to living in the twenty-first-century

It frustrates me that we put so much energy into planning amazing, fun and powerful lessons as educators, but shy away from large scale computer based homework because we’re concerned about students access to computers. I’m going to suggest something that might be a little extreme here; maybe if we actually set work than involved computers then students that haven’t got one might realise how important they are to living in the twenty-first-century. Maybe part of our role as educators is to get stakeholders to see why a relatively inexpensive computing device, and an online connection, is so central to developing as a citizen in this electronic utopia of ours.

Of course, I appreciate some students won’t have access for genuine reasons but that’s one of the many services your school computing labs should be offering: just being open for students to work in after school and during break and lunchtimes. That catches a lot of the genuine problems,

If, as educators, we make a concerted push towards increasing our expectations about technology use then students will produce better, more varied work, and will undoubtedly develop skills that are many times more important to the rest of their lives than merely doing another paper based activity.

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