If you build it, they will figure out a way to hack it.

8 Nov

Recently, the LA school district decided to slow down their 1-to-1 iPad deploymentbecause some of the students figured out how to hack around the firewall system that blocked them from “undesirable” web sites. In almost every school I have taught, students have figured out a way to circumvent the internet firewalls that have been placed on the school districts’ network. Even if one of the work arounds is discovered by the district IT staff and disabled, the students will find another way. Technically, it is a violation of the district acceptable use policy, but it makes me smile. This shows they are learning in the most authentic way possible, about topics that matter to them. They have been given access to technological tools that are supposed to help them learn, and they want to use them to access apps and web sites that interest them and are figuring out a way to do it. They are problem solving, using their creativity, and exploring. Isn’t this what education should be all about?
The fear of unknown regarding technology has to end. As educators and parents, we need to model and instruct students in the appropriate and responsible use of all technology, and trust our students to make the right decisions. Yes, there will always be a few that can’t handle it, but you would be amazed at what students can create when you give them the tools and let them go.

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