A Technology Decision-Making Case to Consider

Let’s consider a situation that illustrates how proper, appropriate, and reasonable configurations of IT can influence teaching and learning. I was asked to help resolve some “network problems” in a school. Math teachers had complained that students could not access the online grade book from the computers provided under the recently begun one-to-one initiative. It turned out the network administrator had configured the permissions and switching so that students were unable to access the online grade book while at school. He reasoned, “We need to prevent students from trying to ‘hack’ their grades.” The principal responded, “That seems an insignificant threat, and it prevents students from tracking their grades when they are here at school. It is essential they be able to see their grades while in class with their teachers present” and he directed the network administrator to reconfigure the network. In this case, the network administrator properly configured the network (he had successfully prevented students from accessing the server), but the configuration was inappropriate (it prevented access to information necessary for teaching and learning), and it was deemed unreasonable (thus the school administrator who had authority insisted the configuration be changed).