There is a growing controversy in our district over the use of personal laptops and other computing devices that can access our wireless (or wired) networks. A significant majority, myself included, believe that, aside from WPA and a strong password for the routers, teachers and students should be able to bring whatever computing resources they have into the buildings. We can't do full-blown 1:1 and we can't provide every teacher with a laptop or netbook to take back and forth to home. It makes sense, then to allow anyone who wants to supplement with their own equipment to do so, right?
The other side of the argument points to the risk of bringing malware behind our firewalls. While this isn't an invalid concern, the availability of free anti-malware software (particularly Clamwin, Ad-Aware, Windows Defender, and the like) means that the benefit to students and staff far outweigh the risks. Should we require an inspection of home equipment to ensure up-to-date anti-malware software? You bet. Should we do a bit of training on accessing public wireless points? Definitely? Should we even go so far as to segment our networks for public and private access? Probably.
However, I won't tell teachers that they can't work at home or that students with special needs can't use a computer at home and school so that teachers can read their essays. That seems silly. Am I wrong?