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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Government laptops. Questions abound from parents and teachers

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The journalists wanted to meet with a representative of the Ministry of Digitization to talk about the doubts of parents and teachers regarding the laptops distributed to fourth-graders, but the ministry did not take advantage of the opportunity. There are questions about security and technical issues. Material from the “Poland and World” magazine.

Government laptops for fourth graders, accidentally or not, handed out just before elections parliamentary issues are slowly reaching children and parents through schools. After a few weeks of using computers, the first questions arise about the operation of the program.

– I think there is a broader need than just fourth-graders, but it would be nice to ask the parents of fourth-graders themselves: “do you specifically need this laptop for your child, because maybe instead of your child we will provide a computer for the fifth or sixth grade” – says Kamila Pasternak, mother fourth grader.

However, the program is only for fourth graders. You can use the equipment by borrowing it from the school or refusing to accept it. But the most popular solution is assignment.

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– This equipment cannot be resold or disposed of for five years. However, the entire importance of the safety of the equipment lies with the parent – explains Kinga Jarosz, deputy principal of Primary School No. 109 in Warsaw.

“Teachers were not supported in any way”

The computer comes with factory settings that you need to configure yourself. – Installing the system is very simple. Once everything was installed, I gave the computer to my son. It completely fell on my son’s shoulders, because I’m not technical – points out Kamila Pasternak.

Dawid Łasiński, a popular “Internet teacher”, admits that “there are parents who will need support.” – To prevent this laptop from ending up in a drawer or becoming another gaming tool, it is also worth finding out what educational possibilities there are for using such a laptop – he adds.

The Ministry of Digitization has prepared a list of programs for download on its website – browsers, text editors, applications for creating graphics and video or coding. But some local governments offer their own packages to students and teachers.

– It would be very good if the ministry supported fourth-grade students with a modern application that they could download in the future – suggests Kinga Jarosz.

The journalists wanted to meet with a representative of the Ministry of Digitization to talk about parents’ doubts and teachers’ questions regarding laptops, but the ministry did not take advantage of the opportunity.

– Teachers were not supported in any way on how to use this equipment at school or at home – emphasizes the president of the Space for Education Foundation, Dr. Iga Kazimierczyk.

Concerns about safety issues

Schools are not equal – each of them tries to implement its own solutions according to its capabilities and skills. But further action is needed to fully exploit the potential of laptops engraved with the Eagle.

– However, if there are no dedicated applications or specially written software for this, it is indeed very difficult. And teachers have to do it on foot again – admits Dr. Iga Kazimierczyk.

There is still the issue of safety. According to experts – regardless of whether the equipment is government or private – the parent should be a virtual guide for the child, not just an observer.

– Let’s not say that the laptop is only used for gaming. Because a laptop can be used for learning and development. So that we learn to be with our child in this virtual world next to him – emphasizes Dawid Łasiński.

Parents who have questions about the software, contract terms or system problems can contact the NASK National Research Institute.

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