[K12OSN] Re: Making donations work better

Dennis Daniels ddaniels at magic.fr
Mon May 10 04:15:30 UTC 2004

I appreciate your perspective and you're right, there are a lot of 
things that Aunt Tilly shouldn't do on a network but keep in mind that 
change in the classroom never comes from the top; it comes from teachers 
like me who, having worked in the 'real world' of networked offices and 
instant communications with co-workers experience culture shock walking 
backwards in time into the classrooms of most schools today. Most of our 
students are graduating; ready for 19th century technology, not the 21st.

I've been able to count on my IT folks at school to say no to every 
request I've made, to let work orders go stale for months and ignore my 
requests for simple things like homework drop boxes on the school's 
network. I don't have access to POP, can't install anything on my 
workstation and can't publish students' grades on the schools' website 
because of 'security issues'. I imagine, if you're a school admin, which 
it sounds like you are, then you're teachers are happy campers. My 
teacher friends, on other campuses, have nothing but horror stories, 
echoing mine, about their IT situation.

What I'm saying is that IT folks are often NOT there, have never taught, 
and have no idea what it means to face a room full of students who don't 
have log-ins or have to tell them 'the network is down ... again'. I 
imagine your teachers are lucky. The one's I know, who are trying to use 
the network provided by the IT folks, receive miserable service; ergo my 
choice to build my own and escape the tyranny of the 'nay-sayers' in IT.

This dialog is very useful in my opinion. This list is often about 
hardware purchases, or software settings but rarely about what it's like 
for the 'little guy' using the K12LTSP on a daily basis in the classroom 
with students and the pressures that entails. My respect for what you 
do, Terrell, and the rest of the admins on this, list is enormous. I'm 
an admin now because I have to be, not because I want to be, and it's a 
damn hard job. Making it easier for more teachers like me to set up 
micro-networks in schools, a little haven of sanity in the chaos that is 
  most school's IT network, is a big and worthy goal. Because, traction 
for ideas like K12LTSP only comes from teachers who get it working and 
running, and showing it off to all curious and the nay-sayers, is the 
only way it will be embraced in the larger context. The easier it is to 
cycle in donated hardware and to build larger networks the more likely 
we'll be able to give our students access to the tools they will need to 
be productive members of an increasingly technically sophisticated world.



> <RANT>
> This is a major reason why I have trouble with the notion of Aunt Tilly 
> the teacher standing up gear on the network--of any sort--without going 
> through the IT folks first.  Our own school LANs have gotten nailed 
> several times by the Aunt Tillys of the world bringing in their wireless 
> access points from home.  These things have their internal DHCP servers 
> turned on to give out 192.168's (remember, we have 10.x.x.x subnets!) so 
> when they hook them up to the school network, they take out the entire 
> school.  Yes, this is in violation of written policy.  Being the network 
> infrastructure guy, I have to go track down these rogue W.A.P.'s when it 
> happens.  During all this, I get to deal with principals, vice 
> principals, and teachers trying to yell at me as if it's *my* fault.  
> Thus, I have a major problem with this.
> Aunt Tilly needs to leave the network A-L-O-N-E--workstation, thin 
> client, server, or otherwise.  It's not her job.  That's why we IT folks 
> are here.
> </RANT>
> --TP

More information about the K12OSN mailing list