Teachers monitor more than hallways

Kelly Dwyer

Hall monitors at BSM have always made sure students were doing what they were supposed to in the hallways. However, because of the new one-to-one laptop program, hall monitors now monitor what students are doing in class as well, serving as a set of eyes for teachers who cannot see what students are doing on their laptops.

The process started on Tuesday September 28 when the administration and teachers began to monitor laptop misuse in class. On Tuesday night, the administration sent out an e-mail to teachers saying that monitoring was going to begin on Wednesday, and that they should let their students know.

From Tuesday to Wednesday there was definitely an improvement in what kids were doing on their laptops. “We appreciate the difference in what students are doing in class,” said Principal Sue Skinner.

BSM has always planned to monitor student computers, but didn’t begin until September 28 because the technology wasn’t ready yet. “It was more a matter of when the technology would come available to us,” said Sr. High Assistant Principal Mary Andersen.

The administration wants to monitor the laptops so kids will stop playing games and will pay more attention in class, said Ms. Andersen. Two major problem-causing sites were Dolphin Olympics 2 and sixtyforce.com.

The administration doesn’t want students to feel like they’re secretly trying to monitor them or that they are trying to get involved in the students’ personal lives. “We aren’t trying to be in your business; we are trying to provide a motivation for students to stay on task, and what it means to have a laptop at a school or at a job,” said Dr. Skinner.

The program the administration is using is called Apple Remote Desktop (ARD), which allows teachers to monitor what students are doing on their laptops. Soon they soon hope to start using a program called LanSchool, which will allow teachers to monitor their students in class.

LanSchool is not only a program used to monitor what students are doing, it is also an interactive teacher-student computer program. Teachers will be allowed to bring student’s computer screens onto the projectors, and teachers can also send messages to individual students. “The hope is to have this program working within the next week,” said Dr. Skinner.

However, students at Benilde-St. Margaret’s have already found a way around the Apple Remote Desktop monitoring. “I just turn off my airport before I play Dolphin Olympics 2,” said one student.

The school still does have issues with kids misusing their computers. There is a shared Google document between the hall monitors, the deans, and the tech department. When a hall monitor sees that someone is misusing their computer they record it there. “Then the deans will e-mail the teacher, and the teacher will deal with it accordingly,” said Ms. Andersen.

Students shouldn’t feel like they’re not allowed to do anything on their laptops. “We want to find a balance between freedom for students to do what they want and for students to stay on task,” said Dr. Skinner.