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General Chat Thread, What would you do? in General; I am sat here in front of a screen in my office; it is running our classroom monitoring software. I ...
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    broc's Avatar
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    What would you do?

    I am sat here in front of a screen in my office; it is running our classroom monitoring software. I am watching what a class of Year 11 students is doing in a 'lesson'. There are 10 laptops in use; they are all playing games..... they have been playing games for 50 mins of the lesson, and it has 10 mins to go.

    Now I ask myself...

    What is the member of staff supervising this lesson doing? The school AUP clearly defines playing games as misuse....

    Should I intervene, & spoil their day? I could block access to the sites they are using, or even temporarily block internet access.... In doing so I risk the students taking revenge on the equipment & pulling laptop keys off or worse. If the staff member is not watching what the kids are doing would they notice the kit being trashed? I could make myself very unpopular with a certain staff member by reporting the misuse to SMT, but there is no guarantee it would be followed up on anyway....

    Or should I ignore it, in the knowledge that when we eventually emerge as a BSF school nobody will be monitoring student activity on the network anyway, apart from those staff who can be bothered to use the classroom monitoring software....

    What would you do?

  2. #2

    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Have a quiet word with the member of staff in question and baffle them by discussing bandwidth limits and the fact that by them playing games they're using bandwidth which could be better used. Tell them it lags you're iPlayer session. ;-)

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    solitaire89's Avatar
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    I would block access, but not say anything to them - just block. Then if they pull keys off etc, come down on them like a ton of bricks and do them for playing games as well. My opinion only

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    36Degrees's Avatar
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    Just ban the sites. The head of ICT is constantly asking me to ban games sites but you then go around the rest of school and see pupils blatantly playing games and the teacher doesn't seem to want to challenge them. Year 11s are worse as they will be leaving soon and therefore care even less about school policies than they used to.

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    broc's Avatar
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    I heard recently that at an Ofsted inspection an ICT teacher got an 'unsatisfactory' grade for their lesson because they failed to notice a couple of students spent their lesson time playing games.

    Maybe if a few more were caught out they would pay more notice.

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    In the past I've terminated access to the internet in such cases. I've given people the chance to realise that someone is watching and log on to something more to do with work, but they dont always take it, and they get access to the internet removed(i have allowed access back at the end of the lesson).

    If you get a request that the internet doesn't work, inform the teacher it was due to all the pupils playing games and the servers had to be restarted for the filtering to be updated(just replace with any tech sounding waffle) because obviously it wasn't working as they were all playing games and this breaks the AUP.

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    When this has happened in the past I make a quick note of the exact sites a couple of select pupils are on, then wander down and have a quiet word in the teacher's ear along the lines of "Are you aware that these muppets have been playing games all lesson?"

    Then when the teacher goes off at them, and they start denying it, I just pipe up and say "Well, for the last 10 minutes I've been watching Smith on gamesforidiots.com, Bloggs on miniclips.com, and for some reason Smithers has been watching My Little Pony music videos. Anyone else want to deny what they've been up to or shall I go get the complete log from the proxy server?"

    There's a reason they called me The Angry Man.

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    danrhodes's Avatar
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    Here are a few more you should add to your block list too!
    Attached Files Attached Files

  9. 4 Thanks to danrhodes:

    joe90bass (21st May 2010), ShaunJohnson (15th June 2010), solitaire89 (19th May 2010), Tyiell (19th May 2010)

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    solitaire89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danrhodes View Post
    Here are a few more you should add to your block list too!
    so just 1 or 2 then... Thanks!

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    Ban the websites.... and feel happy knowing your are a BOFH

    Its the only fun we get

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    let them play games...not your problem. Unless it is causing issues with your network or anything else you manage, its the teachers responsibility.

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    Hightower's Avatar
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    2 years ago I was constantly blocking sites. I would block a site, and then watch the students just browse to another site and find the same game. It was an endless battle. It was then we decided to implement a whitelist filter. I created a Squid box with a PHP front end, that (using LDAP Auth) would allow staff to log on and unblock sites as they wished.

    The system has worked nearly flawlessly (touch wood) over the past year. The only problems are when the cache gets full and I have to empty it (which I am working on a solution to), and when a member of staff had 123 as their password, which the kids knew, so they could add their own sites.

    The system adds who unblocks what though, so removing these sites again was a doddle. Because it has been running for a year or so now, all the sites that get used a lot are unblocked, and only a few each day are unblocked now as the staff have most of what they want already in the list.

    That's what I'd do.

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    We had this in my last school and we watched for when one of the pupils reached the high score and just before it was saved we rebooted the computer. Continued to watch after reboot and he went onto the same game. So we waited and did the same again. (Did not acheive much but gave us great satisfaction )

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    broc's Avatar
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    In the past I have tried all of the things suggested; we do block access both at an individual level & at a room level; we do close down sites; we do speak to staff... we do monitor what is going on....

    But, there seems to be a culture that says it's ok to play games as it keeps some students quiet......

    I have realised that when the school becomes a BSF school with managed services there will be nobody to act as 'watchdog', checking what sites are being used, watching for proxy bypass activity, looking for evidence of cyber-bullying.... the school will not be employing anyone to do it & I am certain it's not in any SLA so what's the point of me doing it now?

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    If you have a case of mass amounts playing them, block the sites they are on initially, and then phone the teacher and inform them.

    If a student, after being blocked from playing a game site, then goes to find another one, then this is bypassing school security, and is a more serious punishment.

    Make sure you record all who did what, and on what machines first, incase as you say they decide to take out their frustration on the computers.

    If you find that the problem is always a specific class, or a specific teacher, then as much as they dislike it, if you are aware of substandard conditions, you are there to help the school, and in turn to help the students to learn, and should report it up the respective channels to their line manager, with relevant details and evidence to back it up.

    I know of a case in another school, where the technicians found evidence that a teacher was in fact just sitting on facebook, hotmail etc. instead of teaching the class. As a result, logs were taken of usage over the course of a week or so, the evidence was presented to SLT, and a school-wide change to time-based filtering for non-educational sites was put into place. During lessons, no social networking or games were allowed. During breaks and before/after school, the sites were allowed.

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