10 Important Rules For Your School’s Computer Lab

We love education technology here on Edudemic. From the looks of it, you like it too. So let’s stop for a second and forget the idea of a 1:1 classroom or a BYOD setup. Let’s take a walk down the hall together and stop in at the school computer lab. It’s filled with brand new barely working computers. They are there for a reason: to help students access the web and learn together. Computer labs can be a hotbed of activity or they can be something that resembles a graveyard. It’s up to your school to determine which you want.

Every school is different so these rules are not perfect for everyone. However, at least some of them are quite useful. For example, ‘print only when necessary’ is a great tip that is eco-friendly and saves your school a bit of coin on printing costs.

On the other hand, ‘work quietly’ may not suit every school’s computer lab. As I mentioned above, these are labs, not libraries. It can be okay to do group work or to have some collaborative project-based learning in the lab. Again (can’t stress this enough), it’s up to every individual school to determine the proper rules for a classroom / school computer lab.

The following list of 10 rules are succinct and meant to be printed out and posted on your lab’s walls. They may not have much description to go along with each rule, but it’s a great starting point.

computer lab rules

Personally, I think the ‘surf safely’ rule is most important. Honestly, it’s more important than working quietly or (heaven forbid!) not changing settings on a computer. Most of the technical stuff can be accomplished using preventive software or parental controls (like on an iPad). But the ‘surf safely’ (shouldn’t it be ‘safely surf?’) rule is key because it brings to mind the idea of digital citizenship. To give you a quick idea of what I mean, digital citizenship means you should be aware that your information is public, everything you do online is public, and that you will be held accountable for any action you take. Simple as that.

Hopefully we can all remember that and these other rules (except for the food and drink one – I typically find myself eating at my desk) when we sit down in a computer lab. Happy surfing!

Image via BEPublishing – Thumbnail via the St. Sylvester School



  1. GTA 5 Download

    November 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Nice article! Very cool! THanks

  2. Tom DAmico

    November 10, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I think a bigger question is why do you still have a computer lab – are there better options that promote differentiated instruction? If we are trying to protect instructional time and take advantage of the visual cues in a classroom, then moving an entire class from one part of a school to another in order to access devices, is an outdated practice.

    The rules on this poster do not reflect a 21st Century learning environment that promotes creativity, collaboration, communication and creative problem solving.

    Seems to be a use of 21st century technology to promote 20th century pedagogy.

    Your views?

    • Peter G

      November 26, 2013 at 4:14 am

      Computer labs are as outdated as desktop computers and if you think they are outdated then you need to reexamine what is done in the modern workplace, CAD, Video editing or any number of creative pursuits are done using a desktop computer where large desktop real-estate often multi-monitor comes to the fore. New portable devices also have their place but it’s not a matter of old/new but horses for courses.

      Keep in mind ICT is about the Information not computers with today’s computing device begin tomorrows e-waste, the information is what keeps moving forward. As any educator knows it takes more than just access to information to educate. Easy reliable access to information is the starting point not the end.

      I keep hearing ’21st century learning’ as if it means something but I’ve found it to be little more than a vacuous changeable cliche. The real challenge isn’t about how rooms are laid out or what tech is available it’s producing a culture when students value learning. Respect for others and their work environment is part of that and these lab rules reflect that respect not only for others but themselves.

    • Kate

      November 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      I think you may have a paradigm locked into your head about computer labs and 20C learning vs 21st. I understand where you are coming from, but for example, at my school, we do still have a lab, which is the central classroom around which 4 other classrooms are positioned, with glass walls in between, so students can move freely into the lab whenever they need to check something out. Teachers team teach and can easily see what is happening throughout the whole pod of classrooms and the lab. This is for security too – so we can know that all devices are locked up at the end of the day in the central room. This works well and enables students to take ownership of their learning. So this poster works well for our setting, as at lunchtime the lab is open and a staff member is on duty and consistently reminding students of the rules – which is not hard, but I thank the person who made this visual. I have printed it off on A3 and stuck it on the wall.