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Open letter about laptop reimaging

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Open letter about laptop reimaging

Leon Tan

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Editor’s Note: The following letter was?originally submitted to GM administration. With the author’s permission, The Lasso is reprinting?this letter with full intentions of representing student voice and opinion.?

I’m a senior at George Mason High school and will be seriously affected by the ongoing computer IMG_3323 (1)reimaging. I use my laptop for all my in and out of school programming work and the loss of my files and administrator privileges on my machine would severely hamper my work. Every time I start a new programming project I have to install or modify programs. The Self Service App is spotty at best and the it takes weeks for a program to be added to it. Additionally some items simply cannot be installed with it such as plugins, and programs like opencv. I cannot wait weeks for a program to be added to self service and I cannot hunt down Mr.Knight anytime I want to install something. Many of these programs literally took hours to install and I doubt I can detain Mr.Knight that long every time I need to install a something.

To this date I have used administrator access to:

-reinstall eclipse, many times. I use eclipse for much of my day to day programming.
-install and reinstall dozens of eclipse plugins. I use eclipse plugins to be able to program in multiple languages in eclipse.
-install Unity3d game engine. I use Unity to make videogames.
-install the Atom IDE. I use atom to make websites, one of which includes my Cas project. Without being able to install an IDE like Atom I cannot work on my Cas project using my computer.
-install github. Github is the worlds most popular collaborative programing tool. We use it in robotics. Additionally knowing how to use Github is a basic requirement for every programming job in America.
-install opencv. I use opencv for my image processing programs. I’m going to use opencv in my upcoming math IA.
-Make web bots. I made a small chatbot over the summer. I needed to install 3 different programs in order to make it work.
-Python and associated Libraries. Our robotics team programs in python. We need to be able to install it on our computers along with python programming libraries in order to program.
-Cyberpatriot. We need administrator access to install programs in order to be able to compete.
-Programming competitions. Last year I led a team in the picoCTF competition. This year I’m entering the Easyctf competition. We needed to install wireshark and other programs in order to compete.
-sudo, I need sudo access to be able to install python libraries.
-xcode, I use xcode to program apps for the Sillicon Ventures club.

I have not abused administrator privileges for nefarious purposes. I have used it to do work. Lots of work and if my computer is reimaged I lose all of it and my ability to work on any project like these on my computer ever again. I understand your desire for control over the machines that you rightfully own but exercising that control would turn my machine into a glorified typewriter. You didn’t pay thousands of dollars for glorified typewriters, you paid for technology to implement personalized learning. For me, personalized learning is a tremendous success. The freedom to learn and work on what I want using my computer was the only reason I was able to do all that stuff. If my computer is reimaged my education will be hurt. If you are not convinced by the extent to which I need administrator access I would be more than willing to show you any of the programs I’ve listed. They total hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of line of code that would not be possible with the tighter control of technology that the IT department desires.

As far as a solution to this situation, I believe a 2 tiered privileges system is the best solution. Students who have proven that they are capable of using their computer productively could request that they be given greater control of their computers. That way responsible usage of technology could be encouraged and those who need administrator privileges such as myself could work to their full potential.

I lose a lot from reimaging. Please rethink the policy.

From,
Leon Tan,
George Mason High School Student.

1 Comment

One Response to “Open letter about laptop reimaging”

  1. Holly Garcia on September 24th, 2015 11:28 am

    Well written! Props to you (and the GMHS English department) for such articulate writing! I think a two-tiered system for students who are using their computers for multiple purposes would be a good fit. You should flesh out what that would look like, Leon, and make a proposal to the administration and the Tech team. Your ideas can help future students!

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Open letter about laptop reimaging