Question: I need to use iChat videoconferencing software to make video connections with a classroom in another state, but for some reason I cannot connect at school as I can from my cable modem at home. What is the problem?
The IT Guy says:
Most likely your district IT department has set up your school network so specific ports are blocked, prohibiting instant messaging clients and videoconferencing programs like iChat from working.
The bottom line to solving this is getting your administrator to understand the value and potential of online collaboration with iChat, and then get their support to get the district IT department to open up needed ports.
Some Apple knowledge base articles that may be of use for doing this include:
- "Using iChat AV with a firewall or NAT router"
- "iChat AV: Compatible Network Routers"
- "Well Known TCP and UDP Ports Used By Apple Software Products"
The main thing to realize is this. You technically are able to use iChat with others from within your school district network, but if at present you can't then it is a matter of convincing the IT "powers that be" to open the requisite ports as an instructional necessity. I recommend you first get your administratorsâ€™ support, because many educational IT departments tend to want to lock everything down to the greatest extent possible.
This issue highlights an ongoing conflict in education between the dynamic forces of creativity and the authoritarian drive to control and limit user behavior. Virginia Postrel's book "The Future and It's Enemies" is a good read on this topic. See Virginia's blog and click the link for the book.
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