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I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond so helpfully to my
question on Friday. It seems that others are or have been experiencing
similar problems. I tried to email each person immediately but may have
missed one or two as I started accessing the responses at home.  I am
including my original post and the responses w/out names.  Again, thanks
so much for the coherent, rational thoughts on a day when I was neither!
Your words of wisdom will help me with this issue as I see it as a
growing concern.  I don't know what I'd do without LM_NET.  See you in
Pittsburgh, I hope.  EC

<Would you please share with me how you go about addressing the need for
students to bring work back and forth to school.  Our students cannot
access their network file folders from home, they are not allowed access
to email here, and they are prohibited from bring floppies or CDs to
school on the basis of fear of viruses.  These policies come NOT from
the library, we are trying to help them work on assignments here and at
home but other forces are preventing our efforts.  How do you deal with
this issue?>


Your query struck a chord with me.

It is sad that students know the technology, it is readily available but
they are not allowed to use it.  I am the tech coordinator at my school.
We are 100% Apple macintosh so we are not bothered as much by viruses
BUT I do maintain the machines, make sure that virus updates are
scheduled regularly and re-image machines when needed.  You can also
manage the settings on machines so that every download, floppy or
external drive must be scanned before being opened.


My schools also subscribe to eChalk ( the school website
host - on echalk every student & teacher has an email account. this
account also allows for remote storage - a virtual file cabinet.  I
don't allow students to use other email accounts while in school &
encourage staff to do so as well.  The cost to set up this site is not
expensive & the per pupil cost is less than $5 a year - less if yours is
a low income population.


To begin to alleviate your problem I suggest that your school try to get
together & make a comprehensive technology plan, consulting with
professionals, perhaps use those in your parent body to make things more
user friendly. It can be done, never say never.

Best of luck in finding a better way.


The tech people in our school have set the computers up so that a
student can only save his/her work on a floppy or flash drive, not on
the hard drive. That prevents viruses on our computers 



I don't know how your IT people will handle the concept, but we found a
group to sell USB keys as a fundraiser and encouraged Highschoolers to
buy them. Helped the group as a fundraiser, and helped us with a storage


We'll shortly be offering home network access, though.



We allow e-mail access here, in fact we encourage its use.  We had a
large technology grant from the state department of education 5 years
ago that required e-mail usage.  A few teachers even require it.  It is
a great communication tool (just look at LM_NET) and kids shouldn't be
prevented from using it.
We used to be very paranoid about viruses from disks.  We required kids
to have any disks scanned by me before putting them in a computer.  We
used to catch a lot of viruses that way (mostly MS Word macros that did
no real damage).  But in the last 3 years I have not found a single
infected disk.  Viruses now travel by e-mail attachment and network
shares.  I stopped scanning last spring.  If you have up to date virus
protection there shoulb be no danger from disks.  Even with e-mail
access, free use of disk, USB drives, and CDs the only bad virus attacks
we have suffered have come over the district WAN from other schools and
those arose from STAFF members opening infected e-mail attachments, not

  Your school needs to make some accomodation to kids so they can use
technology.  Offer to scan disks before kids use them.  

If it were my school and the tech people wouldn't budge, I would
probably violate the rules and let kids use disks.


I coped with the same issues in my school library, so I would be
interested in a HIT from your responses. I was not able to come up with
a solution, but you might be interested in the ideas in this article: 

Loertscher, D. (2003, June). The digital school library: A world-wide
development and fascinating challenge. Teacher-Librarian, 30(5).

Flash drive is about the only option. However, you still have the
problem of viruses. It will probably continue to be a problem unless and
until students have access to school e-mail accounts. Students could
send schoolwork attachments to their own e-mail account on the web such
as yahoo or aol; and then access that from school through e-mail. Sounds
like your IT people need to get into the 21st century!!!



We have filters and a firewall on our computers so students are allowed
to bring their own disks in. Also we usually do not allow email, but if
a student tells me she/he must get to email to access a paper or
homework, I allow it briefly.



Sounds like whoever created these policies didn't think clearly. You
might try going to whoever dreamed this up and ask that person what the
students should do.


I would suggest that you do one or more of the following:


1. Allow access to their accounts from home. This might be difficult or
impossible, but would obviously be the best solution.

2. Permit email only before and after school, and only for a few minutes
per person, so that a student can email something from home and move it
to his/her account.

3. Subscribe to a good anti-virus program and put it on all machines so
that disks can be brought in. Actually, you should do this anyway.

4. Put the anti-virus program on only one machine by your desk, and you
scan every disk. If you go this route, I'd suggest an older machine that
can be dedicated to just this task, and you have some sort of sticker
that you put on the disk to show when you scanned it. Any disk in use
must have today's sticker on it. Stickers would have to be of the kind
that are destroyed when removed, lest some malicious student put a virus
on a disk, bring in another disk that is clean, and then transfer

5. Tell the students and their parents to start complaining to the
administration. When the principal gets the sixth phone call he'll
realize there is a problem.


Actually, why not just suggest #4, but instead of YOU doing the
scanning/putting on the stickers, whoever dreamed up this lockout (tech

coordinator?) can be responsible.



Our district purchased an email system from Gaggle. In it the students
have access to a digital locker where they can store files.


We still allow cds, floppy disks and pen drives but some of the tech
folks want to stop that.


So far we have been able to keep going on the argument that we have to
support the students. But I see the email system as the way to go.



I have EXACTLY the same problem and it is becoming a big frustration. 

Please post a hit.  Perhaps there is a solution out there that will
balance student needs with the need to keep networks and equipment
secure and functional.  Thanks!!



Wow, that is a problem! Maybe your school should consider providing
inexpensive jump drives (portable USB drives, flash drives, thumb
drives, they are called by several different names) for their student
body. I imagine you could get them in bulk at a reasonable price from
Wal-Mart or Office Depot. Good luck!


Hi, It sounds to me like the people in charge haven't arrived in the
21st century yet. I don't see how students will be able to do this. All
avenues of transferring files seems to have been blocked to them. I
would ask those making the rules how they will be able to do this? Also
get the teachers who are making assignments that will require this on
your side. Teachers will probably need to state that this is a real
problem before anything changes.



I have access to all student files.  I e-mail things home to them.  They
e-mail them back.  I ask them to put their name in the subject line so I
don't delete it for spam.  I put it into their folders.


We CAN use floppies and even provide them.  They check them out,
returning ASAP.  I have students also using the flash drives, which
generally have to be used on my computer and then I do the saving. 


My tech's also wondered why the students needed this?  The elementary
and intermediate schools use MAC so don't even have floppy drives.  I
informed them that our students ARE doing homework that is longer and
more detailed then the work they did in grade school.  They need access
to this technology to be successful.


Get your teachers behind you.  Let them know the problem and how the
lack of support through the technology department is not allowing their
students to be successful.



Our tech guys figured out how to protect the system from viruses
introduced via student storage devices.  The computers re-set each
night, run their own virus checks and I believe even check anything
inserted to make sure it is clean.  We've NEVER had a virus introduced
on our campus by a student storage device.


I do allow students to email things to my address, and flash drives are
becoming more prevalent.  Our tech dept. is allowing flashdrives to be

We also have kids burn projects on CD's--of course, some of them are
also doing that with bootleg music and making quite a bit of money, too!

We had this same problem until last year. The techies put two word
processors in the library. The students are allowed to bring in their
own disks with their work completed and print from these two machines.
They are not allowed to put disks in any of the other library computers.
They can also compose from scratch on the word processors. We have one
printer which is shared between the two word processors and just move
the hookup back and forth between the two processors depending on which
one is being used. Works great!



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