School IT in the Dark Ages?

I went to a meeting of local school IT managers last week and some of them appear to be in the dark ages.  They talked about blocking Google Docs because a teacher could possibly post kid’s contact info there.   “We provide everything they need here so they don’t need their own laptops or smart phones.”  Everything meant Office and typing programs.  They wanted to store all data locally with nothing in the cloud.  Seemed to be all about control and sticking with the Microsoft only vision of the world.  There are issues with having data in the cloud but it is already very common.  For example, our SPED data is in the cloud.  They seemed to forget that the power of Google Docs is in the collaboration features (and the cost) and that it is not the same as using Office locally.  They seemed to not know kids are bringing powerful computers into school with them everyday and don’t even need our networks.  We can’t teach kids how to be responsible 21st century citizens by trying (and it never works) to prevent every possible way they can get into trouble.  There was even a suggestion that we introduce jammers to block their cell phones!  We need to model, teach, guide them into the positive, educational, and collaborative uses of technology, both the technology we have and the technology they have all around them.

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