It’s 2:05 P.M. Your PAK is due in 15 minutes and you’re frantically searching for an open computer but on a deadline, those are rarer than fights at Kerr. There’s an available computer and it’s whispering your name. Your legs start moving towards the computer before any one can claim what’s rightfully yours. Arriving at the computer and turning it on, the overwhelming stress is replaced by relief. But after several attempts, your computer does not turn on. You waste 10 minutes searching for a solution, then someone finally tells you that the computer is broken.
If the campus had WiFi, students could use their own smart phones and laptops to access the internet, and lack of access to a working computer would not be such a problem on deadlines.
Learning your lesson, you bring your own laptop the next time your PAK is due. Your device detects a weak WiFi signal but it can’t get in because the district WiFi is reserved for district devices only. It’s protected by a password and also by the fact that each distrct device has a “fingerprint” that lets it into the network. This top-secret protection of WiFi is caused by the Children Internet Protection Act (CIPA), was designed to prevent access to websites that display inappropriate content. Granting students access to WiFi might be considered a violation of the act, unless the district sets up a WiFi system that filters access the same way the school computers do. However, a majority Kerr’s student population will not be so irresponsible as to abuse their access to WiFi.
Establishing WiFi for students would be an cost effective procedure that will benefit everyone as far as effiency and effectiveness. Since Kerr students are required to use eChalk for many of their classes, WiFi would help students in completing their assignments.
Many benefits would come with the acquistion of WiFi. Students would be able to work efficiently on their classwork without worrying about not having access to computers. Aside from freeing up the computer commute that plagues Kerr, WiFi could also be the gateway to faster internet speed. Alief ISD’s internet is not the fastest, with room for improvement; the district should look at adding WiFi as it could possibly address the speed issue as the campus internet access is reconfigured.
Even with the CIPA policy in place, Alief ISD schools could still have access to WiFi while not violating the policy. One compromise to satisfy both sides, students and district alike, is to install the existing McAfee URL blocker into the WiFi system so that whenever students log into it, they would have to follow the internet guidelines of district. Another compromise would be to grant access to WiFi to Kerr only, as a test trial. The results would then determine if the entire district deserved access to WiFi or not.
Alief ISD needs WiFi and the district should comply with the students’ needs and grant us access to WiFi. Whether it starts at Kerr or at every high school, the district should start planting the seeds of WiFi soon.