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These tools can be used in any eLearning or traditional school settings that desire to integrate
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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Post 8: Blocking Sites NOT a good Solution

This is not about Internet Filters, it's about Information Censoring. And Information Censoring is the teachers responsibility. Current school District filters are generally set by technicians, not educators. Most of them have never been in the classroom and have no idea how to modify the software-filter defaults to meet the teachers and students needs.

  • I always thought our philosophy is to have high expectations for our students, to educate them to behave ethically, responsibly and safely and then expect that they will do the right thing.
  • When they don’t, they know there will be consequences and we’ll have a conversation and try to learn from the mistake, but we don’t assume they are going to screw up.
  • In other words, our philosophy has been to educate, not ban.
The other day I attempted to give a presentation to kids/teachers/administrators at a nearby progressive school. The outstanding 8-minute video titled "Shift Happens", which resides on YouTube, was filtered/blocked. So, obviously the filter is not very intelligent.
  • So, not to panic, I simply challenged the kids to help me solve this little problem and offered a prize to the first one who could bypass the 'filter' so we could watch the video.
  • 5 minutes later a student came up to my pc, typed in some information (which I won't share) and voila --- the video began.
  • Lesson 1: school Districts continue to attempt to block students and staff out of academic (and non-academic) sites without really dealing with the issue at hand. The only people the District 'filters' stop are the teachers and administrators --- not the kids.
  • Lesson 2: Best solution -> Most District filtering software (like 8e6) reside in an Active Directory environment so let the individual teachers override the universal unintelligent filters to open up appropriate sites for their kids.
  • Yes, it's the teachers responsibility to select 'appropriate content'. And if they make a poor decision, there are already consequences set in place.

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