Laptop roll out and realities.

This year my advisees are freshmen, and today was the day they got their laptops.

We talk a lot at school about how laptops aren’t the key to SLA– and they’re not — but today they were a big deal. Kids rushed in to advisory like it was Christmas morning, and I have to admit, seeing them with the new shiny machines reminded me how lucky they are to be given such a powerful tool.

After that sentimental moment, though, there were a million little things to say, like:

  • We say it’s your laptop, but technically it’s not yours — you are the guardian for four years.
  • You treat it well, it will treat you well. If you don’t, it might not make it to graduation.
  • Label your charger right now so it doesn’t walk away from you.
  • Label your machine, but remember, anything permanent is like a four-year tattoo.
  • Don’t let me ever see you walking the halls with your laptop open.
  • Never have it out of your bag on the way to and from school.
  • Get some sleep between now and tomorrow… the computer will still be there.

Today, they had just about enough time to turn on their machines, log into Moodle, and label their chargers. It was like being at the tip of a roller coaster, on that coaster had an infinite number of tracks it could take. I felt excited for them, but also nervous. Just putting the machines in their hands means a lot, but in the face of everything that’s expected of them in the digital world today, access is just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming months, we will talk to them about backing up your data, and responsible use, and maintaining their online identities, and how to wrap your power cord so it doesn’t break, and and and…

What makes it all worth it is knowing that they get to explore this in school, with guidance. And by the time they graduate they are way ahead of their peers when it comes to using technology wisely and well. I look forward to the process.

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