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District Considers Banning Skype When Tweaking Digital Initiative

District Considers Banning Skype When Tweaking Digital Initiative

Manteca Unified district in California is fine-tuning a $30 million digital initiative that might include banning the popular software application Skype.

On one side of the debate, some view Skype—the application that allows users to video chat with others—as a helpful tool of educational benefit because it allows for students to collaborate and discuss classroom topics.

On the other hand, some parents see Skype as a distracting tool that should be banned from school-sanctioned devices to prevent distraction of their children.

"Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer said a 'handful of parents' have expressed concern about their children being able to use Skype on the school-issued devices," according to The Manteca Bulletin.

Messer might be leaning towards better education for parents on how to control their child's use of the school-issued devices versus banning the application all together, a frequent debate that comes with school device initiatives.

"He noted that on an average 65,000 Skype instant messages are sent during the school day. Messer added the overwhelmingly majority of the messages involve school work," the article said.

Another currently debated topic for the district's million-dollar digital initiative is whether or not the district should pay extra money to purchase cases to prevent devices from breaking.

"A look at device breakage so far shows that it is below expected levels and that most problems are covered by warranty. Screens are the No. 1 thing that gets broken," the article said.

The Manteca district's debates around fine-tuning its digital initiative represent the plight of many schools across the country as they try to test the waters when it comes to, in particular, device roll-outs.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/09/2015

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