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Technology and the New Teacher: LAN/WANs

About this Daily Classroom Special
Technology and the New Teacher is designed to introduce you to the topics, successes, and pitfalls of technology in the classroom. It was written by Buzz Eyler, a Teachers Network web mentor who has been leading in-service training in technology use for the past 12 years.  

(Note: This page was written in 1999. Some information may be dated.)

LAN/WANs

Computers which are connected to each other in some fashion create what is known as a Network. It may be as few as two or as many as thousands. These networks are classified as Local Area Networks (LAN) or Wide Area Networks (WAN).

In a simplified form, a LAN can be thought of as connecting a series of computers in a small area such as a school or lab. They are connected by cabling and there must be at least one File Server which handles file sharing and remote printing capabilities.

A WAN, again simplified, is a connection of computers often spread over a large area and connects the file servers from each LAN. Thus, those people with usernames and passwords may have access to many file servers in a district. You as a teacher, can easily communicate with staff members at other schools to share files, projects, or assignments.

And a district WAN is usually connected to the Internet by a combination computer and software package referred to as a Firewall. This Firewall screens the computers that sit behind it (on the WAN) from bad things that might happen because of the Internet.

More and more, school districts are also using a computer/software combination called a Proxy Server. While it server many functions, of most interest to a district is its filtering capabilities of unacceptable web content. Through a series of user access levels from no access to unlimited access, teachers and students may view sites deemed appropriate to the user. The Proxy Server screens all incoming web content, compares it to a list of unacceptable words, phrases or addresses and either allows or denies viewing the material.

When a district gets to a WAN, there is surely a full-time tech support person whose job it is to keep it up and running. Find out the procedure you must follow to get something fixed if it breaks or stops working.

We teach in an exciting time and if your access to printers, programs and the Internet is disrupted, you need to know how to get it fixed or your children lose out. 

Introduction
Basics
Advanced Topics
Curriculum Development
E-mail
Graphics
Internet
LAN/WANs
Mac vs IBM
Printers & Copiers
Software
Students
TV/VCR
Word Processing

 

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