FREE WIFI IN SCHOOLS: PROS AND CONS

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

With the lat­est tech­nolo­gies giv­ing teach­ers and learn­ers the ac­cess to a lim­it­less sup­ply of in­for­ma­tion, the need to use free Wifi in schools has be­come an in­te­gral part of mod­ern teach­ing- learn­ing set­ting, hav­ing ac­cess to the in­ter­net on tablets, mo­bile phones, or lap­tops let learn­ers uti­lize all of the gad­gets avail­able to them via the in­ter­net. They can now re­search school as­sign­ments, con­nect to their class­mates us­ing group chats on mes­sen­ger for easy col­lab­o­ra­tion on group tasks , and max­i­mize the use of so­cial me­dia such as face­book and in­sta­gram for raw in­for­ma­tion on so­cial is­sues, youtube for self tu­to­ri­als and tweeter for school re­lated cam­paigns and con­cerns.

On the other hand, full ac­cess to the In­ter­net in school also pro­vides learn­ers the op­por­tu­nity to be dis­tracted, di­vide their at­ten­tions, lose their in­ter­est in class­room dis­cus­sions and limit their so­cial in­ter­ac­tions.

This easy ac­cess of in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing just about any topic may lead learn­ers to ma­te­ri­als that are not age-ap­pro­pri­ate such as fake news and is­sues and the in­creas­ing pres­ence of com­mer­cial sites and links with lit­tle con­tent that would be deemed ed­u­ca­tional for learn­ers. Not to no men­tion the con­tro­ver­sial ma­te­ri­als that many par­ents pre­fer not to be avail­able to chil­dren on the net for var­i­ous rea­sons like sites de­pict­ing pornog­ra­phy and the nu­mer­ous in­ter­ac­tive game apps that are greatly ap­peal­ing to our learn­ers.

An­other pre­vail­ing is­sue is Cy­ber bulling .Al­low­ing our learn­ers to be ex­posed to dig­i­tal world could po­ten­tially lead them to more of it which may cause po­ten­tial dan­ger to them be­cause even if we are im­ple­ment­ing strict poli­cies on BYOD ( bring your own de­vice), I bet they can still look and sneak off some time to use them in school with­out our per­mis­sion es­pe­cially when we are not on the watch.

Now that teach­ers are faced with dig­i­tal na­tives in their class­rooms, and the use of free wifi pro­vided by the school is now be­ing im­ple­mented, any school adopt­ing this mod­ern trend in ed­u­ca­tion should set strict guide­lines and rules , Learn­ers should be taught on­line safety and the use of judg­ment in get­ting good qual­ity of in­for­ma­tion, and re­strain from per­sonal use in the school. Oth­er­wise the use of free wifi in schools is a good av­enue for al­ter­na­tive source of in­for­ma­tion aside from what they are get­ting from their teach­ers. — oOo—

The author is Teacher III at Cristo Rey High School

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