Thursday, August 27, 2009

It Isn't Just a School IT Problem, It is an IT Problem

Farhad Manjoo:

The secretary of state didn't know why Firefox was blocked; an aide stepped in to explain that the free program was too expensive—"it has to be administered, the patches have to be loaded." Isn't that how it always is? You ask your IT manager to let you use something that seems pretty safe and run-of-the-mill, and you're given an outlandish stock answer about administrative costs and unseen dangers lurking on the Web. Like TSA guards at the airport, workplace IT wardens are rarely amenable to rational argument. That's because, in theory, their mission seems reasonable. Computers, like airplanes, can be dangerous things—they can breed viruses and other malware, they can consume enormous resources meant for other tasks, and they're portals to great expanses of procrastination. So why not lock down workplace computers?

You can save your braincells on trying to work out the connection to educational history and philosophy. Schools are just acting like every other enterprise. Which doesn't mean it isn't a problem...


Bill Kerr said...

This reminded me of the one line introduction to a 1980 brian harvey essay , which I just reread then:

"a talk I gave at Lesley College in 1980. It's about the philosophy behind the way I set up my high school computer lab: giving kids keys to the room and root access and stuff"

Spanish school in Valencia said...

Ya i too remembered about harvey's essay.