Admin password changes students’ use of laptop

Edward Hagerty, Staff Writer

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New restrictions were placed on the laptops at Mater Dei at the beginning of the school year. One of the most prominent changes is the administrative, or “admin”, password, which limits what students can download online.

Mr. Daniel Pasawongse, director of IT at Mater Dei, explained the system: “The admin password is for technicians to be able to log into the machine with full administrative privileges, to troubleshoot the units, and to install items and app configurations.”

Last year, students had full administrative access to their laptops, with the freedom to download any games or applications they wanted from the internet. This year, only approved members of the faculty have the power to install programs online.

“We removed that [privilege] because a little over sixty percent of our students’ laptops had viruses. The second reason was that we wanted to take away apps that were non-academic, which negatively affected the students’ learning.”

A large percentage were being irresponsible with what they tried to download from the internet. In many cases, the sites they visited contained embedded viruses, slowing the computers down, and also slowing down the internet connection for whole classrooms. Last year, the math department in particular was having connectivity issues as students’ use of non-educational websites clashed with the use of online textbooks, resulting in noticeably slower Wi-Fi.

Former AP Computer Science student Sebastian Romero has mixed feelings about the new policy. He said, “It doesn’t really bother me much, but sometimes when I’m downloading important software like Adobe Flash for a certain textbook, I have to go to the admin to download it, and it doesn’t always work out. It’s kind of a hassle after a while.

Ethan Marshall, a freshman, has never experienced laptops without admin passwords at Mater Dei. He’s never really needed to download anything off the internet that’s not from PowerSchool, at least during the school day, so the restrictions aren’t a problem for him. “I think that it’s a good idea, to keep students from downloading stuff that could have viruses.”

Mr. Pasawongse and the IT department believe that the students will eventually come to accept the changes over time and realize the ability to freely download games is not worth the risk of downloadable viruses.

 

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