What THE — Pay? Internet? @SCHOOL?

What THE — Pay? Internet? @SCHOOL?

Image of a money mouse trapPerhaps I’m incredibly naive or stupid? I’d never in a million years thought any school would charge their students for the privilege to access the school’s Internet! Yet apparently this is the case.

During a lovely chat with Sue Tapp she casually said her biggest barrier to using web technologies with her students is they have to pay for school Internet access at the start of each year. Their Internet quota is extremely limited; use it all means they’re charged for extra which often they can’t afford (read Sue’s post to understand the costs involved).

Sue honestly thought this was the case in most public schools

Leigh Newton tweet says it all:

Image of Leigh\'s tweet

Can’t believe this didn’t make my list of Elearning Challenges for 2008! WE need to continue these conversations to stop these types of challenges and barriers preventing the uptake of these technologies with our students.


We won’t know about issues each of us face if we don’t discuss them. We can make a difference if we all add our voices — please take this opportunity to write your own post tagged barriers08 (or leave a comment) to let us know:

What is the biggest barriers and challenges you’re facing?

Photo by cypherone @ Taiwan licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0.

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27 thoughts on “What THE — Pay? Internet? @SCHOOL?

  1. Sue,
    I also never dreamed that students could eventually have to pay for Internet access. It really sounds strange; there should be a law against it
    The bigger challenge I’m facing right now is that our new wireless internet connection at School doesn’t reach our floor yet, thus I have to bring my own mobile connection – and sometimes it fails…:(
    The biggest barrier is my personal fight against time: sometimes I have 5 minutes, sometimes 10 minutes, between classes, and I can’t cope with several tasks in so little time: to close and unplug the laptop, the connect box and the projector, while asking the students to leave the room, then close the door, give the key to someone in charge, then going upstairs to change the “summary book” and take another book for the next lesson, then return downstairs, enter in another classroom and plug in the laptop, the projector, the connect box, open the site I need, greet the students and keep them quiet to start the lesson.
    Thus, sometimes, I just take a piece of chalk and have some rest…:(

  2. Kia ora Sue!

    Well what d’y’know!

    I guess this is the logical (logical?) next step. I don’t know what schools charge in Australia, but activity fees for students have been a part of NZ schools for decades. To boot, our kids have to pay to register so that they can accumulate the credits that lead to their secondary quals – every year!

    Whatever next?

    Don’t say it . . . !

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

  3. This is an outrage. Please don’t tell our district they might try it. I think it would be considered illegal in CA under the free public education rules. If a school charges for basics and a student can’t pay they have to provide it for free. This includes field trips, band uniforms, etc.

  4. I’m pretty sure schools picked up this dirty habit of raising revenue via internet use from universities. I had to do this at Griffith in Brisbane, from as early as 2003.

    The best part? It didn’t automatically log you out of your usage! So sometimes you’d come back to computers to find that your 15 dollars of credit is now $0.00 because someone has downloaded as much as they could on your money.

    The whole system is flawed, and is a pathetic attempt to make a few extra bucks.

  5. Reminds me of something similar here in Virginia. One county has a one-to-one laptop program, but only if the family pays the annual insurance fee of $50. Many poorer families cannot afford the insurance, so their kids do not get computers – a great example of holding back the very thing that could lift some of these kids out of poverty.

  6. @Ines I was totally amazed when she told me as I never realised that this is what some schools do. That is frustrating your wireless connection not reaching your area. I have exactly the same issues where I work — constantly changing rooms so there is some situations where you just can’t carry everything.

    @Ken I definitely hope this is not the next logical step. It seems so crazy.

    @egsl So far I’ve worked out that only Victoria here in Australia appears to be doing this. No way do I want schools to go down this path.

    @Dean And solution — keep chipping away — change does happen.

    @James Universities charge for use? Our TAFE’s don’t so why would a Uni? That is crazy to be charged extra and definitely a flawed system. Are you still overseas at the moment? And if so where and how is it going?

    @Britt That is heart breaking that kids can miss out because of issues like costs. As Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach pointed out kids from wealthier backgrounds will be provided for and do well because their parents will make sure of this. The kids that need our help as those that can’t afford too — and yet we take away tools that will help them make a difference?

  7. Oh My Lord!

    Im a student and I would paticition the town, OR THE STATE, to not do this, In the USA People pay taxes for education, education involves computers so what the point of paying for access to something youve already payed for 🙂

    Comment Back

  8. Thank -you. I just celebrated it with my family a couple of minutes ago. I think this is so cool, being able to talk to you! Talk to you soon.

  9. Hi Sue,
    ok this is barmy, if we are claiming that no child should be left behind how on earth can we charge them for the very thing which is dividing education more and more…..that digital divide would become a chasm ….because no matter what technology children have in the home, if the learning taking place in schools involves computers and the internet children should be able to access this freely and equally.
    Finally I have found at least one thing the British education system is doing properly in terms of technology all schools get their internet etc free….phew!

  10. @Julya Well I do agree that we pay taxes and that should cover it but unfortunately the Government’s look at the fact that it can’t cover everything. But I hate the idea that they think charging for use of the school Internet is a good way to go!

    @Olivia Happy to be talking with you too

    @Mrs Cunningham I was totally amazed when she told me this. For her it has been in place so long that no one was questioning the fact that it didn’t make sense. I believe that only Victorian schools are doing this in Australia. CRAZY!!

  11. Hi Sue Waters!
    Thanks for the comment you left on my blog!
    I am quite surprised that students in some schools actually have to pay to use the internet! At our school we just turn on the computer and go without having the worry that the school is going to charge us internet fees!
    I cant imagine the price it would cost for us as we use sooooo much internet at our school, especially in our class because Mrs.C is very into technology and computer programs and good websites/blogs/wikis etc.
    I dont think it’s a good idea that students should have to pay because it will limit there time on the internet, when exploring the net can be very educational! Especially when you go on student and class blogs that you know have people running them that are on a learning journey!
    Well that’s all I have to say about the paying of internet in schools!
    Hope they think twice and maybe stop charging the money! Even more so if they are in a public school!
    From Cointha!

  12. @Cointha no problem re-comment on your blog. I was totally surprised by having to pay for the Internet also. You are very lucky to have a teacher who is into using the Internet — looks like your class is enjoying using it.

  13. Olá professora, antes de mais queria dizer que gostai muito do que a pofessora fez.
    Professora vou tentar conquistar mais jente para faser o que a professora fez.

    E tambem gostaria de dizer que estou a adorar a competição nunca pensei entar nestas coisas.


  14. Well, there’s nothing free in this world… if you don’t pay for internet separately, that just means it’s already included, and the amount should be high enough to handle the risks. I don’t know what is cheaper after all…

  15. Students demonstrating today have every right right to be outraged. All of us should be – because of the student fees, instead of the brightest kids only the richest kids will get the education. That’s hugely antisocial.

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