Community Standards in a Laptop Environment

In our Upper School, we have a lot of laptops brought from home this year. The other morning I passed nine sophomores on my way through the building, and seven of them had laptops. Our network now has over 700 unique IP addresses access the Internet via our proxy server every school day.

With growth, however, comes challenges. In the “Great Hall,” a large community space in the Upper School building, we’ve had a lot of issues with loud music and inappropriate films and videos on laptops. Games are less of any issue this year, but laptops as entertainment centers is a problem for some students.

Great HallThe student council moved to help the grade deans with this issue– they created a very funny, but very informative video about community policies for the Great Hall and other common spaces on campus. Through a series of little scenes, the community policies were presented: “headphones only” for music, no games, as well as no PDAs (the affection type), no loud noises, no cafeteria trash or food, no abandoned clothes or laptops or TI calculators. The only topic missed was videos and movies, which is being discussed and is moving toward “no videos or movies” during the school day.

For years we’ve discussed game policies, cell phone policies, and classroom management policies. I’m happy to see the students themselves becoming active in how to set community standards for the laptops, and viewing them as no different than other “rules” for maintaining comfortable common spaces where people can work and spend time with friends.

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