education, technology, and everything else

internet committee

Posted by Miranda on January 12, 2008

Kimball Union Academy is a boarding school, about one third of our students are day students but the other 200 odd board. In addition, many of the faculty live on campus. It is a residential community in addition to a school community.
Every evening, between 8 and 10 PM is study hall. Students are expected to be in their rooms studying. Questions have arisen about students use of the internet during study hall hours, specifically questions about the use of Facebook but also questions about use of the internet in general.
I was asked by the academic dean to be on an ad hoc committee to formulate policies regarding internet usage during study hall. This committee consists of the dean, faculty members and students in equal proportions and me, the lone staff member. We had our third meeting last night.

Now what is very interesting to me is that the students on the committee are solidly for blocking Facebook during study hall.
They say things like “It’s just a big time-waster” and “You see people hitting refresh 60 times and reloading all that stuff – using up bandwidth just to read another wall post!” and “It’s an addiction.”

My preliminary thinking on the matter was that we should block Facebook during study hall and unblock IM. (We block instant messaging for those two hours) I believe students do have a need to collaborate on homework. many have told me they use Facebook to do that although I have to say in my nosing around I haven’t seen much evidence of it. But communication through Facebook from a bandwidth viewpoint is incredibly inefficient.

However, the students on the committee immediately shot down the idea of unblocking instant messaging during study hall. Too distracting.

The faculty is divided, some want to shut down access to the net completely during study hall. Some use Facebook to communicate with students and look sort of aghast at the thought of losing that for two hours.

But the students… they are a solid block: no Facebook. Interesting.


2 Responses to “internet committee”

  1. Ken said


    Thanks for your comment on my Digital Video>. I am the Ed Tech representative at my school (the go-to-tech-guy before calling the IT folks at the district level) so I have subscribed to your edu-it blog
    Great stuff!
    We have been using a media sharing site for several months at my district here in Seattle. Here is an article about the formation of the site you may find interesting:
    L3RN: Seattle Public Schools Brings Social Networking In House
    and then a follow-up piece to what happened to the lead admin on the project:
    Celebrating One Who Got Away

  2. Miranda said

    Cool! This looks scads better than the script we’re using for our server too!

    Hey I did order a FlipVideo today by the way. can’t wait to try it out. I’m thinking it might be good to have a few roaming around campus for our kutube admin team to use.

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