Friday, April 29, 2011

Question of the Day: Filtering? Meh.

Question of the Day:

While filtering software might be a necessary CYA for many schools, in reality how does the spread of and other ubiquitous and undetectable anti-filter and anti-censorship tools change the way school leaders need to think about blocking and monitoring access? And how do such tools fundamentally alter the kind of conversation we need to have about access?


  1. I agree that filtering is a little pointless. The kids find loop-holes and fixes faster than the IT Dept can block them. They are also more tech savvy than most of the teachers. For example, if we block GTalk, they use Skype. If we block Skype, they will find something else.

    What we need is more intriguing material that will draw their attention away from non-academic purposes. We also need to figure out how to make the students better "digital citizens." But that will take us actually figuring out a definition for a good digit-citizen and then convincing our fellow teachers to jump board with this whole "internet/technology thing."

  2. I read an analogy once that really made sense to me: We don't wait until kids are old enough to cross the street alone to show them HOW to cross safely. From an early age, we guide them.

    I think the same goes for digital citizenship and safety. This goes especially for high school. We can't expect our students to go from a completely locked down environment at school to open access at college or the workplace.

  3. I have to echo Matt's sentiments, because I think the best teaching strategies are not the "don't do this it's bad!" lectures. It is far more effective educate kids on all of their choices and the consequences of their actions.

    I also feel like many of the filters today give carte blanche to block anything with certain key terms, and their are so many appropriate opportunities for our students to learn that they then don't have access to.

  4. I really hate the argument "we have to make our material more appealing" and most variations on it. Although I admit that we must always attempt to make our content relevant, interesting and entertaining as possible, I question the assumption that this is always the most "time efficient" way to do this.

    In small schools, most teachers do not have 2 classes with the same content. The school I teach at tomorrow, for instance, has exactly 5 teachers for high school. Most of those teachers also teach many junior high classes, and some even teach a few elementary classes to give those teachers prep time!

    Contrast this with a large urban school where one teacher may only have one or two different classes.

    The time each teacher can effectively put into improving the content, making it relevant and ensuring it can make a successful bid for our students' attention is NOT equal between teaching assignments. Call it a crutch, like teaching from a textbook seems to be considered a crutch here, but sometimes it is a NECESSARY crutch.

    My apologies about the CAPS. I have not mastered the art of HTML tags.

    Doug M.


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