Opinion: Should Students have Wi-Fi for Personal Use?

At the start of 2012, the Carmel Unified network was re-wired, and only a few selects now have access to the new wireless password.

Prior to that, students were able to find out the old password and connect iPod touches, laptops and iPads to the wireless Internet. With the new network system, the wireless server “Guest” may have a strong signal, but the password to log on to it is locked up, hidden in secrecy and denied to all students.

In previous years, students would hook on to the classroom-specific router and see the Internet to access Moodle, email, Google docs and turnitin.com.

Right now, the access to the server does not mean an Internet free-for-all.

Because access to the Internet goes through the school server, websites such as Tumblr, Facebook and any other sites deemed inappropriate for school are blocked. This also includes restrictions for certain apps as well, so students would not necessarily be able to use it for entertainment.

When students actually had access to the wireless Internet, it was easy for students to bring in their own personal laptops and iPads to access documents instead of having to go through the hassle of emailing updated copies back of the same document to themselves—not to mention when the email doesn’t send or is saved in the wrong format.

Our school has provided a limited number of COWs, computers on wheels, available for in-class student use. But with the increase in number of students, these computers are not always available for classes.

The library and computer lab also have a certain number of computers available for student use—that is, when they are not occupied by classes.

If students were allowed access to the wireless Internet and brought in their own laptops, this would free up the COWs for other students who do not have their own computers to bring in.

At our neighboring Santa Catalina school, all students are required to either check out their own laptop for the year or bring their own to class. These students have all of their documents saved in one place and do not have to carry around a flash drive or email their documents back and forth.

Students at Catalina are also given the password to the wireless—not to mention the fact that there is a very weak filter on the network, and students are often caught updating Facebook in class.

Even if we did have access to the wireless, we would still be restricted from YouTube, Facebook and other sites.

Students should be allowed access to the wireless Internet because it makes it easier for students to just bring in their own computers, instead of having to rely on the COWs and worry about them constantly failing on them.

-Colette Hamwey