Social media ban inside classrooms is an on-going experiment -ICT

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Department blocked student access to social media inside classrooms, contrary to the campus-wide access that students have been enjoying since the launching of the institution’s Digital Campus Initiatives. 

However, ICT Network Solution Head Melchor De Las Alas clarified that the ban was only an ongoing trial.

“Ang pagtatanggal ng social media ay experimental pa lang. Titingnan pa namin kung maibabalik pa ito, kung kakayanin ng bandwidth,” De Las Alas said.

According to De Las Alas, Integrated Digital and Innovative Director Glenford Prospero ordered barring students’ access to social media and gaming apps for the purpose of prioritizing the Learning Management System (LMS) and for the monitoring of the school’s bandwidth.

One of the routers present in DLSL’s classrooms (B. Escano)

“The internet connection is designed for learning and to also avoid conflict [when] connecting to Wi-Fi during class discussion, activities and taking [quizzes] online,” De Las Alas said.

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as video games have become inaccessible through the classroom Wi-Fi connection since the beginning of this semester.

De Las Alas also stated that another reason for the ban was a complaint from a member of the Parents Educators Nurturing Cooperation and Integrity La Salle (PENCIL), a parent organization of the Integrated School, saying that social media has become a form of cheating.

Students affected by the ban said that they did not receive any prior notice of its implementation; however, the ICT Department claimed that they had a proper announcement through Canvas before the class started.

“Narinig na lang namin sa ibang students na naka-block na pala ang social media. Eh para saan pa ang binabayaran sa Canvas kung hindi naman magamit ‘yung purpose,” said Vanessa Tadeo, a second-year Accounting Information System student.

Leda Vanessa Tadeo and Aldrich De Vera from the BS Accounting Information System program voice their concerns as students about the limited usage of social media in classrooms. (B. Escano)

Nevertheless, Lasallians can still access the blocked applications outside the classroom buildings such as in the Student Center, Learning Resource Center (LRC), Hacienda, and North and South Lounges. 

One-device policy

Aside from limiting access to social media, a one-device policy has also been implemented inside the campus at the beginning of  this school year. 

According to De Las Alas, issues with regard to disconnection and slow internet speeds were minimized as a result of this policy, compared with the previous years when  students could utilize the Wi-Fi using multiple devices.

Limiting the students’ usage of devices inside the classroom raised issues on disconnection and slow internet speeds. (B. Escano)

However, some students expressed issues regarding the new ruling. 

Cathrina Tayag, a first-year BS Accountancy student, said that despite having her phone already disconnected from the Wi-Fi,  her laptop finds it difficult to obtain a connection.

“Hindi po ako naga-agree sa one-device policy kasi ang hirap na nagpo-phone ako tapos ang laptop ko ay ayaw mag-connect [sa internet] kahit 10 minutes na ‘yong nakalipas, ayaw niya talaga [mag-connect],” Tayad said.

According to De Las Alas, every classroom can accommodate a maximum of 100 devices though the limited bandwidth may surely slow down the connection.

“Wi-Fi stability talaga ang main reason ng pag-alis sa multiple devices para maiwasan na sa isang classroom ‘yung mga instances na hindi maka-connect ‘yong isa o dalawang estudyante,” De Las Alas said.

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The ICT department affirmed that the aforementioned issues were all currently under observation, but a decision on keeping the rulings remains to be seen.

“Everyone can maximize learning regardless of the Wi-Fi policy,” De Las Alas said. 

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