Giving disadvantaged kids technology and teaching them how to use it in the classroom is a great way to increase a students academic ability. A documentary released by PBS shows a group of Bronx kids who were failing to meet grade requirements. Through the use of laptops in the class room, they were able to turn around their academic careers. It’s pretty amazing stuff. Instead of focusing on the positives, a bunch of people are pointing fingers and the administration’s use of Remote Desktop to monitor a child’s use of the computers.

I can see why there’s concern, but most of the negativity around the article is misguided.

I was once told that the majority of discontent people feel personally or vocalize to others is often based on misunderstandings and confusion. Surely, it’s not always the case, but the idiom has proved valuable to me in the past. If someone’s confused about something, or they’re making assumptions about something, there’s a good choice their will be a disconnect between the people giving the message, and those who are receiving the message. So lets clarify some stuff about the hoopla over a Bronx school spying on it’s students with Remote Desktop.

In the video below, there is no evidence that the administration is monitoring the children through their iSight camera. Instead, they show students using Photobooth as a mirror. The student opened Photobooth. Remote Desktop shows the monitor exactly how the user is viewing the monitor. Anything opened or running is revealed to the user on the other end. Secondly, a green light turns on when the computer’s iSight is active. Students would be aware of the camera turning on and off. There’s no video monitoring going on here. Move along!

It appears in the video that laptops are used within the school, and students have the option to sign them out to complete homework. They aren’t given to the students, nor do the computers belong to the students. This situation parallels corporate practices. Employee’s don’t own their computers, and they’re fully aware that there is monitoring software on their computers. This is nothing new, and it’s certainly not going to be changing any time soon.

There are only two gray areas that I see in this whole video. First, were the students and parents made aware that there’s monitoring software on the computers? If they weren’t then there’s a problem. Second, having male administrators monitoring female students is a little bit iffy if you ask me. I’m not saying that the people portrayed in this video are using it nefariously in anyway, but it’s pretty certain that there’s potential for problems as students start moving to senior class levels. I’d love to see female administrators monitoring female students, and male administrators monitoring male students, because you just don’t know. With all the “Sexting” going on these days, an administrator might stumble on something by accident, and if that happens, you can be sure lawsuits might be filed by a student’s parent.

Watch the Video Below

Via 9 to 5 Mac