Day 2 at AALF so far…

I just finished a session with Joe Hoefmeister and Jeff Spain from Country Day, and it was about their IT infrastructure and how it relates to the educational process. I really wish that we could get away without filtering Internet access, but I just don’t think it will work in our environment. Most of the problems that we have stem from bad classroom management skills. Their suggestion about Instant Messenger was not to block it, rather to ask the teacher how they could embrace it in the classroom. They don’t have any Internet filters in place, but they do have a Packeteer to prioritize traffic. They don’t block any of it, it’s just the lowest priority traffic on the network. That is the way that they can get away without filtering traffic but not getting slowed down by downloads and P2P apps.
I don’t know how it would work to not restrict the student laptops at OHP. If we took the more liberal road and didn’t create lists of applications that they are allowed to run, what would happen? Would we have more problems with games, spyware, and viruses than we did this year? It would be interesting to see what happens. We did that exact same thing with most of our community based satellite programs. Their Internet connection is not filtered, the students have admin rights, and we have not had any problems. I know they are a different “breed” of student, but it would still be interesting to see what would happen if we took a subset of our population and opened up their laptops. Perhaps we could leave the laptops slightly more open, and restrict the laptops by Group Policy once the student has violated the policies we put in place.
I also want to open up the e-mail program to allow student-to-student e-mail again. We will need to patrol it at the beginning, and make some examples of students. I think we can get away with 100 personal e-mails per month. If they go over that number we give them a warning, and it needs to be noted in a file somewhere. If that same student violates the policy a second time, their e-mail would then be shut off for a period of time or for good. We’ll have to see.

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