Hey! Where's the problem?

“If they are allowed to experiment and do things on the computers that the teachers have not specifically given them permission to do, we would never get any computer education accomplished.” Beverly Sweeney, middle school teacher involved in the suspension of a student who used a DOS command to send the word “Hey!” to 80 computer stations. —Hey! Where’s the problem? (Star-Telegram)

Because, as we all know, proper computer use, and education in general, does not require curiosity, trial-and-error, or innovation.

Having said that, I’d like to look more closely at something Dave Lieber wrote.

But more troubling is the notion that Sweeney does not believe that the rest of us have any right to question the decisions made by public educators.

Ok, fair enough. Lieber continues:

Remember, we pay the salaries of the teachers and staff. We buy the computers.

He’s right on both counts, but think about it — the school has 80 computers that still run DOS? if that’s the case, then “we” aren’t doing a very good job — either in supplying funds to purchase good equipment or (apparently) in coming up with salaries that will attract skilled teachers.

The fact that Sweeney’s web site includes an animated picture of a caveman smashing a computer with a club, as well as a Java applet that features globes and lights whirling around a distorted portrait, lead one of the MetaFilter posters to ask, in all honesty, whether her page had been hacked.