Locked Down Laptops: Technicians vs Educators or Both Win-Win

A friend told me that his child goes to a 1-1 laptop school. He bought the computer for his child but the district locked it down when it installed the school software. He could not add a driver so that the child could print out at his office.

I borrowed an office laptop.  I do not have admin rights to change the printer so I cannot print in the office nor at home. I have to email the materials to myself and then use my wife’s laptop to print out the material.

A teacher bought the same laptop that the district has so she could use it in her classroom.  The district will not let her put her laptop on the district network.

I think the district technology director, technicians, and end users should sit down and have a healthy discussion about locked down laptops and other technology.  I understand security issues, viruses, management issues, and network concerns; I also understand the teachers or students desire to use their laptop for maximum teaching/learning.  I tend to go with technology supporting learning as opposed to technology blocking learning.

So how has your district provided both technicians and teachers/students with a win-win solution?

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1 Response to “Locked Down Laptops: Technicians vs Educators or Both Win-Win”


  1. 1 Sean November 10, 2006 at 5:14 am

    I certainly can understand the frustration when a user has a computer that want to use in two different environments. On the one hand, you friend wants his child to have the full support of the district IT staff, while on the other he wants complete freedom in his own home and office.

    When institutions budget to support the IT in their buildings, they can’t factor in support at the owners’ home, office, Starbucks and local public library. In order to provide some economy of scale, a district has to establish a computer support policy that often dictates what they believe to be the best practices to ward off viruses, malware and the like. They want to ensure that machines are patched, unsupported drivers are not installed and the machines and network are secure. Keep in mind that if another child’s computer became infected because the IT staff let your friend slide through the cracks, they would have to answer to another parent…

    My advice for parents that would like to buy a computer for home and school use would be to consult with the staff at the school to learn about the district computing policies before they buy. I think that’s a good faith effort to get that win-win.


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