Let’s solve everything with Technology #3

IT professionals, especially in schools, are frequently asked to address problems that are not technical in nature, but that management have decided are best handled with a technical solution.

Our most recent instalment is one of the more myopic examples I’ve encountered:

“Students are writing abuse on the Wikipedia page about the school. We should block Wikipedia in school.”

What, so they instead wait until they get home and write abuse on it there, where I can’t track the edit back to their school account? That’s a fantastic idea, genius.

About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

3 responses to “Let’s solve everything with Technology #3”

  1. Ellira says :

    Wiki should be blocked in schools anyway. The only thing it’s useful for is pop-culture that’s unlikely to be wrong, and that’s the only thing they barely ever research in schools …

  2. AngryTechnician says :

    There are many who argue that Wikipedia can be a valuable research tool if used correctly (i.e., if you actually check the references and evaluate their quality). I am one of them. My other half is a professional librarian and is of the same opinion, as are many extremely knowledgeable and highly-qualified people in her profession. In rigorous research Wikipedia should certainly not be used as a definitive reference, but as a guide for finding other, reputable, references.

    Importantly, I think it is better that students are taught how to use and evaluate something like Wikipedia properly, in the classroom, and learn the research skills they will need later in life than the alternative, which is that they will simply quote from it indiscriminately in their homework.

  3. Giles says :

    Well put.

    I have teachers that want open access to everything so they can teach the best way to use the resources.

    I have other (let’s call them ‘bad’) teachers that want to ban everything… it’s all too new and scary, they treat the computers as babysitters and try make any classroom management problem into IT’s problem.