According to Wikipedia “foot binding was a custom practiced on young girls and women for approximately one thousand years in China”. Like many customs of old I’m sure the practice had its roots in someone completely explainable at the time, but today it just seems cruel and inhuman and its probably best that the practice is now abandoned.
Every era has its customers and the current digital age is no exception. Whilst it might be hard for some to draw the same parallel that I have, I heard of a similar kind of practice that even now seems to me to be a little bit arcane, yet it is a practice entirely borne of the digital age.
What I am referring to is something as simple as storage management within our schools here in Australia. Whilst I am sure there are many children around the world worse off than children in Australian schools I was shocked today to discover that some schools limit the storage available to students only 50MB.
The ability to effectively use computing resources is a critical learning outcome for students today and if schools are placing these kinds of limitations on students then I wonder whether we are actually doing them some harm. I do have some perspective on this in that I used to be a Teachers Aide responsible for administering academic computer networks and we had some fairly hard limits about what kind of storage capacity was available to us, but that was over ten years ago and those limits simply don’t exist.
Part of the problem is the perception that IT resources need to be somehow carefully measured out by those wise wizards in the computer room responsible for the computer networks. Sometimes it saddens me to think that I may have used my authority of academic computing networks to hinder learning outcomes that way.