Just because we might have access to some technology to fix a problem, does not necessarily mean that the problem itself is a technical one. Sparked by a forum conversation, the key example is the use of technology to filter out web content in a classroom. Asked for is, perhaps, the technical prevention side of the previous discussion of wireless in classrooms. Dan pointed out the flaw with that plan:
Really it should be the teacher stopping their students from playing youtube videos out loud in class and disturbing other students.
I think this is one of those problems that does not need a technological solution, but a social one.
There are a lot of obstacles that could (and often are) put in place between users and their desired network accessible content. Some are legitimate security measures aimed at protecting the network. Others are roadblocks that annoy users more than prevent whatever has prompted the measure.
One of the most ridiculous “security measures” I once saw on some system was that the right-click of the mouse was physically disabled. The sys-admin must have disassembled the mice and popped off the plastic extension that clicks.
While well though out network rules are possible, it seems that more often that not the systems are simply crippled in a blanket policy of “just don’t do anything, ever”. There will be a locked down kiosk mode browser with broken settings; to ensure that everyone uses only this (very inconvenient) browser, the installation of any other browser will be forbidden… the same enforcement will also prevent the use of any other legitimate software, as a side effect. Soon enough the entire system is a crippled fraction of the former self, all because some student was watching YouTube videos. This is excessive. Everybody suffers.
While complicated systems could make it just that much harder for the students to get around them, perhaps the root of the problem is in the fact that those students are aiming to get around all this technology in the first place. In such a case, throwing more technology at the problem only masks its symptoms.