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General Chat Thread, Students that ask lots of questions in General; We've a few students in this school which have a genuine interest in learning more about the running of a ...
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    maniac's Avatar
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    Students that ask lots of questions

    We've a few students in this school which have a genuine interest in learning more about the running of a network, and how it all works etc. which I'm pleasently surprised at. They actually ask intelligent questions, but sometimes I do wonder precisely how much I should embrace this and how much I should tell or show them about how the system works.

    I'd really like to develop their interest as they're all very bright students, but I do wonder where I should draw the line in what I show them, as I could well be creating problems for myself by giving them too much knowledge.

    Part of me says there's not much I could show them that they couldn't find out on the net anyway, but another part of me is saying steer clear and don't show them too much.

    Anyone else dealt with simelar students in their school, what did you do?

    Mike.
    Last edited by maniac; 25th February 2010 at 02:33 PM. Reason: keyboard gremlins

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    IME, as long as you both agree where the boundaries lie, they will respect you much more for making the time for them and trusting them not to use their new-found secrets against you. After all, if you deflect them you stand a good chance of them just breaking in out of curiosity anyway.

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    stevenwba's Avatar
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    If you have the space, and maybe spare kit, couldnt you just let them setup a test network maybe server and 1 client etc, and let them set GPO and everything else?

    Just a thought

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    Arcath's Avatar
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    back when i was in 6th form i was in the computing group and we got involved in development, our big job was testing the webdav connection from outside the school, obviously we brought the ability to test from varying networks and connections. Although we did perform the counter productive response of only providing instructions for linux.

    I dont tend to get kids asking me questions primary school kids dont tend to be too intrested in networks and servers

    There is 1 kid that allways stops working and does nothing but watch me use the touchscreen on my netbook, but he never asks how it works.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcath View Post
    There is 1 kid that allways stops working and does nothing but watch me use the touchscreen on my netbook, but he never asks how it works.
    A future gadget boy in the making lol.

    @OP:
    To cover your back, you could offer to teach them the ropes as long as they sign a UAP saying they won't use their new skills against you or risk being banned from using a PC unsupervised. Indulge their inner geek I say

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    korifugi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcath View Post
    I dont tend to get kids asking me questions primary school kids dont tend to be too intrested in networks and servers
    In one of my sites (also primary), whenever I go into a room to sort something there is usually a small number of pupils that crowd round with the questions of "What are you doing?"

    Although - this IS the same site where up until recently one of the reception pupils would for absolutely no reason burst into tears upon my entry into the room... Yes, thats right... Fear the nasty, goatee bearded, eeeevil IT man!

    Aside from that - for the secondary... Bring them onboard - show them stuff but make it clear where the ground rules are. That way, chances are they'll show more respect for the work you do, learn more, and might actually help out with any little projects. Just don't do anything silly like giving out admin rights.
    Last edited by korifugi; 25th February 2010 at 02:47 PM. Reason: reply to OP

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    Theres plenty you can show them without being too specific about your networks security or anything, go for it, its good that they're interested.

    Like theres nothing wrong with showing them how a GPO works, or how you make account changes or even a tour of the network cabinet, but start telling them about how deal with permissions and thats possibly going a bit far

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    JJonas's Avatar
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    I had a student a number of years ago who came and asked on a Friday if I could download Red Hat Linux for him. On Monday he was back really excited asking if he could set up Red Hat on one of our school pc's. So I let him set it up but we did it in such a way that you needed to use a boot floppy to start Linux. The following Monday he had set up a private IRC server on his home pc, by the end on Monday we had a private IRC server running on our school network. Students would log in at lunch time and chat to each other. By the time he left school he had rewritten the school website in PHP and assigned passwords to all the staff so they could edit their appropriate parts of the website. Since then he has finished a computing degree and started a job as a programmer. He was a nice student who was genuinely interested and he did understand that we were giving him special privileges to indulge his interests and that they would be taken away if they were abused.

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    rh91uk's Avatar
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    I wouldn't show them much but one thing I want to start here as when we put in new systems (such as remote access ..... etc) to have a pupil user group. We all cater for "clients" as such - and the most important client of them all is the student.

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    If you have students who are genuinely interested in network support to the point where they may want to do it as a future career, then if your school is in a position to become a vendor academy (Microsoft / Cisco / CompTIA) this can provide them with resources and opportunities to learn in a way that needn't compromise the security of your systems.

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    pod
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    I started a linux user group at the school I work at some years ago, it lasted for a year or two then fizzled out. It was a fairly positive experience, the kids set up a ubuntu server and we had a website running of it for a while. We used an old PII machine and dns via dyndns.org, so there was no money involved.

    I'd say encourage any interest, especially in the network side of things, because it doesn't come around too often :-)

    Chris

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maniac View Post
    sometimes I do wonder precisely how much I should embrace this and how much I should tell or show them about how the system works.
    Everything - if you're relying on security-by-obscurity then you're doing it wrong.

    --
    David Hicks

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    PeterG's Avatar
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    Show them physical Hardware .... It will amaze them ........ explain that the room is always locked when not attended etc ......

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    glennda's Avatar
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    i found at my last place a student before i started my rather over keen and had been playing around lots with viglen's stuff, wen i started we brought him on board and let him help us set a small citrix thin client system that we wanted to test as he had set it up at home!!

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    I'd wish our Sixth Formers show more interest frankly! Especially those on the more technical IT courses.

    Apparently in my first four months as a techie I drove my old boss to the verge with constant questioning. So you can be to enthusiastic!

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