Saturday, August 28, 2010

An Innovation Paradox

I work with an amazing community of technology innovators. Students are early adaptors of technology and most show up with new tools asking me how they can integrate this technology into learning. Faculty member are as energized and curious as the students. By far, the most prevalent technology of the year revolves around “apps”. These small applications sit on smartphones and iPads allow the user to quickly run a single focus program to meet a social, informational or recreational need.

Great! As an educational technology geek I would love to encourage this enthusiasm for apps. But I ran into a snag piloting the iPad… network security. I ran into a snag with my new Android smartphone… network security. Because apps communicate back and forth with their developer site, our proxy server would need to whitelist every single developer site. With roughly 1000 users in the building carrying at least one mobile device… well, the math is a little beyond me but at the least it would be a full time job to keep up with those sites.

And this is the innovation paradox; schools are charged with keeping children safe in electronic environments while creating innovative 21st century experiences. I wish I had the answer for this one. I can say that for now – it doesn’t include apps.

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