Kids need access to computers in schools, no one’s denying that they need to have access to cutting edge tools so that they have the skillsets needed in todays world. The sooner you can get a computer into your kids hands, the better off their going to be. Sure, their’s ideological differences between families on when and what a computer should be used for, but on the whole, you’d be hard pressed to find a parent who doesn’t want their kids having a leg up on the competition. A Beverly, Massachusetts school is trying to get a MacBook into every single students hands, and they’re trying to force parents to pay for them.

When a school “forces” parents to pay for their kids new MacBooks, a line has to be drawn—or does it?

College’s have expected students to have access to computers for well over a decade now, and students find themselves either buying one, or leasing one through school programs. No big deal there. But what about the elementary, and secondary school students? Should they be expected to foot the same kind of bill? Money’s tight in schools, and ensuring that students have an equal opportunity is becoming tougher by the year. Some schools have even begun asking parents to pay for textbooks. So, it’s probably no real surprise to some that students are being asked to bring their own computers to school. Society is moving in that direction, and it’s going to be difficult to stop it.

My concern isn’t that students are being asked to bring laptops to school, it’s that they’re being “forced” to use MacBooks. That may surprise some of the readers, but I have a theory on why Windows is so prevalent in the business sector, and it directly applies to Macs in the classroom.

At some point Microsoft started pushing hard to get into colleges. Students became very familiar with their products, and once they graduated they brought that knowledge with them into the business world. We use what we know. The same thing can be said about the students in this particular classroom. In my opinion, they shouldn’t be learning from a particular platform, instead they should be learning how to cope with multiple platforms, using the best machine for the best task.

Parents shouldn’t be forced into a brand, and they certainly shouldn’t be forced into purchasing a second laptop for their child if they already have one. It’s pretty easy to support multiple environments — admittedly it’s not as easy as supporting just one.

It may be the beginning of a new era for computing in schools, but locking ourselves into one brand could very easily turn Apple into Microsoft 2.0, and I’m not exactly sure that’s something we should be supporting. But, that being said, a MacBook can easily run both Windows and OS X, so it would make the most sense to adopt a technology that allows students to explore both worlds.

What do you think? Should schools be allowed to dictate to parents what laptop their children should be using in school? At what point should parents draw a line?

Article Via MacNN

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