I’m taking a class at a local community college and face an interesting technology observation and quandary.
The observation is this – 14 of 16 students use a pencil/pen and paper to take notes. One student brings in their own laptop to take notes and only one student, myself, uses the schools computers.
At first glance this seems a bit weird. This generation which grew up with computers, most of them are around 18, 19, 20, are using a technology that Abraham Lincoln might have used studying in his log cabin. The school provides very nice Windows 7 desktops which have Microsoft Office 2010 installed and are connected to the internet.
I actually bring in a thumb drive, plug it in and use the schools computer to take notes and do G0ogle searches as the teacher is talking.
Why students act this way and use antiquated note taking is a mystery.
The quandary is this – are the school’s computers safe?
If you look at the picture above, you can see that Java update #45 needs to be installed and the school seems to have chosen Internet Explorer as their browser of choice. To most techies using IE is the choice of amateurs.
As I’m thinking about this I’m wondering, “What are the chances that any of the hundreds of computers that the school maintains is infected and am I willing to take a chance and bring that thumb drive home and plug it into my computer?”
The answer to me is obvious – never trust another persons computer and in this case, never trust a network that you don’t control.
Pen and paper are not hi-tech, but they are high security.