Wayback Wednesday: Educators need some education

Caught in a bureaucratic storm.

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
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This netadmin pilot fish working for a school district gets a help desk ticket from a library assistant, who complains that a wireless device she uses won’t work.

“I went down to the library to see what was going on,” says fish. “They had factory-reset the device, and then they took out the manual to put in all the settings.

“There was an example picture of the input screen with 192.168.1.1 as the IP address, 255.255.255.0 as the subnet mask, and 192.168.1.254 as the gateway. This is exactly what they entered.”

Fish explains to the library assistant that the school’s network uses DHCP, and the address she had typed in won’t work.

Assistant asks, “Is DHCP an approved curriculum software?”

It isn’t any kind of curriculum software, fish explains, but it’s necessary for the network to function.

Assistant storms off in a huff.

A few hours later, fish hears from his boss, the curriculum coordinator. He’s heard that fish is running unapproved software on the network. “Is this true?” he asks.

Technically, yes, says fish. DHCP hasn’t gone before the official curriculum committee and been approved, but it’s vital to running the network.

“You should have run it by the curriculum committee first,” boss tells fish. “Please take it off the system until the curriculum committee can review the software and the educational benefits to the students.”

Reports fish, “I said, OK, I’ll take it off. He said, ‘Thanks.’

“I should have kept my big mouth shut and just turned it off, but I said, ‘No way! Are you crazy? What is wrong with you?’

“I hope he finally realized that not everything is directly related to what happens in the classroom.”

Sharky would like to review the educational benefits of your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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