Just came across this link. Rose tinted glasses comes to mind
The Day the Filters Came to School
Just came across this link. Rose tinted glasses comes to mind
The Day the Filters Came to School
I'm afraid this is a fine example of people not living in the real word. Is it a noble goal? Yes. It would be great if all staff taught all students ethical and moral use of the Internet and then all students followed this to the letter...but in the real world, not all staff care enough, not all staff can be bothered, and even if they do the students themselves DO live in the real world and there are a core who will ignore what they are taught and will exploit the weaknesses of any security/filtering system. Sorry if that is an inconvenient truth, but it IS the truth. We work hard to unfilter sites deemed worthy of blocking by our ISP, but even then we have clashes between some staff who want a site available and others who don't. We had one particular faculty who demanded Facebook be left open, until it became such a pain for them that they then demanded it be blocked. The real world tends to be like that.
blocked by our active adapt rm gubbins filter haha
Lancs CLEO block it as it hasn't been categorised yet.. the joys of a whitelist :/
My comment I put on that:
It is an admiral ideal to want an unfiltered internet system in a school. Real life isn’t filtered, so why should a school be?
However, I feel that you miss the point. A school has a responsibility to protect their children. Be that from physical assault, or from mental. It is claimed by many that exposing children to pornography and violence at an early age can damage their development, or warp it into something it is not supposed to be. Of course, this age is different for everyone, so a one size fits all approach, such as filtering, obviously will annoy some people but protect others.
The idea of personal responsibility, both in staff and pupils is another Good Idea, but in reality simply would not happen. Teachers don’t have the time to monitor everything their class full of children are doing on the computers. In the UK, they are required to put 1 to 1 time for every child. In an hour long lesson, with a class of 30, that is 2 minutes per child, minus settling time etc… Not enough time to watch what they’re all doing.
Add in the group of children who will always take advantage, break the rules etc… and you have a system where the school will continually receive complaints from parents about someone in their child’s class accessing inappropriate material – and you have no evidence of it except that parent’s complaint.
For those that can't access it
I’ve always been fortunate enough to work in a building that was very lightly filtered. Basically, we filtered pornography and that was about it. Everyone in the building, including students, had access to all kinds of questionable material online. Instead of filtering, our policy has always been instead to hold students and teachers to a high level of accountability, insisting that they only be in “appropriate” places online. If they weren’t, they knew they would be facing consequences such as losing their computer privileges. It was a common sense type of approach that served us well for the last ten years.
Yesterday that changed. Yesterday, due to school division directives, we had a smoothwall filter installed in our building.
While the main set of blacklists has been laid across our service quite lightly, focusing on things such as pornography, online auction sites and gambling, what worries me more are the seemingly random pieces of material that have been closed off. Bits and pieces of websites are now blocked that I know from experience are harmless due to what is called a “weighted search.” This basically means that the filter will let you search for something that it considers “edgy” (such as spears or knives or guns) for either a set period of time or a specific number of searches, then it will block access to this material. Apparently some things are dangerous over longer periods of time. A random-clicking-of-links test I tried out yesterday showed me that we have probably blocked off approximately 30% of the internet from our students.
I came home from school yesterday completely downtrodden and wondering where my resume is and when it was last updated. I came home filled with questions about both the effectiveness and the wisdom of this move. I have always been deeply disturbed at a philosophical bedrock sort of place by the concepts of filtering and censoring content in an educational institution. We are a place of learning. A place where we sometimes interact with material that challenges us to see things in a new light. We need to be a place of exploration and serendipity. Learning does not often happen in straightly defined and planned paths. Students and teachers instead need opportunities to explore and connect information pathways. Filters place all of these fundamental beliefs about learning in jeopardy.
To our tech’s great credit, he has told us that he is completely willing to work with us on this issue, setting up the filter to meet our needs and unblocking everything we need. But this isn’t a solution. The internet is not a larger version of a library where you can examine the pieces of content that you need one by one and approve them. The internet is fundamentally something different simply by it’s size, scope, growth and ability to change.
Filters do not solve problems. Filters push problems aside so that they do not have the opportunity to occur inside of our buildings. Filters instead allow issues to fester. Cyberbullying a problem? Students spending too much time on Facebook? Filters don’t solve issues like these. Instead, they move them outside of our buildings where we do not have an opportunity to discuss them with our students. Instead we will most likely simply not know about them.
Filters are not a solution to content online being a distraction either. As Bud has recently written:
“Distractions aren’t a technology problem. They’re a people problem. And creating artificial spaces that don’t actually help to promote the behaviors and attitudes that are important for success is maybe the biggest distraction of all.”
How much of a distraction will the filter itself become? How long will it take until kids begin finding ways around it? How much time will they have to dedicate to finding proxy servers before the routes become well known and well worn and the game of blocking these needs to begin. It is an endless cycle of lost time and energy.
We have long weeks ahead of us of tweaking the filter, trying to walk the line between school board directive and learning needs. One of the most challenging tasks we’ll face next week is trying to explain to our students why, in a place of learning, they are now blocked from viewing certain kinds of information. Leaving the school yesterday at the end of the day, I came upon one of my students who had been in the library where he had headed at the end of the day to finish up his homework. He had a puzzled look on his face as he stopped me to say that he couldn’t get on to his gmail account to get some information he had sent himself during the day. He wanted to know if gmail itself was down or if there was a technical glitch in the system itself. Sadly, I didn’t have an answer for him. All I could tell him was to head home and check his email there, I was certain it would work from home.
Infact the English! I dare you to do a week waving union jacks and being very patriotic somehow you'll be considered a racist... You'll be told to shut up in the end!
Real life is full of censorship so I have to disagree with that comment.
Ideally, neither real life or the 'fake life of the Internet' should be censored but alas, this is the world we live in.
Personally, I'm not a big fan of filtering, but then I am quite responsible with what I look at when at work. I know for a fact that people out there aren't so responsible, and I'm not talking about just the students. We all know there is a reason for Filters and that it WOULD be nicer without them, but some people would only timewaste or look at inappropriate material (even with filters we catch people doing pretty bad stuff online from time to time).
As for the guy in that rant, he's probably disgruntled that he's been blocked from ebaying or something. So much so he wants to find another job!! boo-hoo. Perhaps he should get a job in tescos or at the local waste refuse, they have awesome Internet on-the-job there!
Sure, your examples are extremes - but life as a whole is not filtered. Also, waving flags and being told to shut up are nothing to do with censorship. There are no laws against displaying and waving flags.
I think that the lancsngfl should make the whitelist turn off an onable by the schools, so schools can decide weather they want access to uncatergorised URLs. Id even go for the ability to add to an internal whitelist.
Sure, your home connection might be unfiltered but there's plenty of other things in your day-to-day life that are most truely censored in one way or another.
Filtering is a form of Censorship...
Actually, kids can behave a lot more grown up than you may think but my take on it was "don't blame the person who put it in or the people operating it" and "try to work with them to get the flexibility you and the students may need."
I also suggest more active monitoring ... by all means trust as much as you can but you *know* that you are going to get a small minority who just *cannot* be treated as mature or having common sense, so the use of things like AB Tutor Control for active monitoring or Securus for passive monitoring is a failsafe. These can be used as part of good classroom management (again, the onus on the teacher to intervene when required).
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