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How do you do....it? Thread, Using an internet 'white list' in Technical; The school I'm in has a big banning culture, which is a pain in the backside for staff, as one ...
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    maniac's Avatar
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    Using an internet 'white list'

    The school I'm in has a big banning culture, which is a pain in the backside for staff, as one member of staff will ban them, and another member will want them to use the internet for something in another class, which causes headaches for us as we're stuck in the middle of it all! I've suggested an in between ground of setting up a whitelist of approved websites, so insted of banning them outright, they can still actually use the internet in a limited capacity.

    Do any of you use an internet 'whitelist' insted of banning students access out righ? Does this cause any problems for you, like the amount of time it takes to construct it, and the administration of it? If you do use one, how many websites do you have on it, and is it actually a worthwhile exercise to set it up? We use websense for our filtering, so I know it's technically possible.

    Also on the same theme, if you do ban students, what constitutes a bannable offence in your school??

    Many thanks

    Mike.
    Last edited by maniac; 11th July 2008 at 06:53 PM.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    We do this using Websense & it was dead easy to setup took no time at all. Once the list is setup your away. We have around 20 sites in our list we simply asked staff to e-mail sites that would be needed.

    It works very well much better than a total ban. It is also more effective banning people now because students are now usually banned for longer
    Last edited by FN-GM; 11th July 2008 at 06:57 PM.

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    amfony's Avatar
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    we came up with this when we first got any usable internet connection and man oh man, it was like we in IT were suggesting that we take all staff's first born children and pillage their homes. The amount of resistance was beyond awe-inspiring.

    "i dont have time to do that"
    "what if a site redirects to another site"
    "i want kids to research - i cant look up all the sites for them"

    yada yada .. whatever

    We do actually do now incorporate a white-list, but thats only some false-positives from surfControl (now websense) categories or some "i totally take responsiblilty for the site dude" requests. The rest is all category banned.

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    We used to block the internet for individual pupils who misbehaved - but it ended up getting too silly..

    We were constantly being asked to enable access for pupils that were blocked at the request of other teachers. We raised the possibility of a Whitelist - but as expected it was deemed too difficult even before getting to the point of being formally proposed and having staff provide their input.

    The last straw was when we were asked by one teacher to block a pupil - but not until the end of their lesson since the 'troublemaker' was being kept quiet playing games on the Internet.

    My comments to the Head resulted in a long discussion among the SMT / SLT.

    In the end teachers were told that they should not ask for pupils to be blocked from the Internet. Teachers were told they should handle discipline in their classrooms, not expect Support to get involved. If we identify a problem, we can either inform the teacher, or if we choose, take it to someone more senior.

    Misuse of a computer should be handled in the same way as misuse of a book - teachers would not call the Librarian and ask for a ban on using the library, so why should they ban use of the Internet?

    More serious issues should still come to us, and we then ban a pupil while the issue is handled by 'Senior Management' - the expectation is that this would be sufficiently serious that it would lead to interviews with parents and/or suspension.

    Have to say that since we made this change, our lives have been (a little) quieter, and overall even the teachers seem to approve!

    Although almost unused, we still have the capability to allow access only to our 'internal' sites - the nearest we have to a whitelist.

  5. Thanks to R.M.B from:

    maniac (12th July 2008)

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    maniac's Avatar
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    R.M.B, that's precisely my view of the 'banning culture' in my school, so I'm glad you posted that.

    I also liken it to the use of textbooks in class, if a kid was caught vandalising a textbook, you wouldn't ban them from using textbooks that would be silly, you'd issue a punishment of some sort. I think the same should be done for mis-use of ICT, banning students from using it (in my opinion) achieves nothing, and just gives the student even more excuses for doing nothing in class. I've just got to get that message through to the right people.

    I think the main problem we have is there's no policy on this, so staff issue bans very hap-hazardly and freely at the moment, and we have no choise but to follow their requests. This should be changing as I have a meeting planned with the head teacher, deputy head, head of ICT and myself to discuss the issues I raised with them last week. A white list is still a posibility, but my main worry with this is we could in-advertantly create more work for ourselves rather than cutting down on the silly requests we get. I think the banning option is so well established in my school however, that getting rid of it completely is probably a non-starter, that's why I'm interested in the use of whitelists.

    Thanks for the input guys, anyone else feel free to post opinions, all are gratefully received.

    Mike.
    Last edited by maniac; 12th July 2008 at 01:06 PM.

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    joe90bass's Avatar
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    A whitelist for banned pupils is something I'm thinking of introducing, though I do agree that it is a classroom control issue, not a technical one....... I also think we need a discussion on this in our school, I may raise it at our next staff forum meeting to get a spread of views before discussing it with management. As others have found, the banning one lesson, and then unbanning next, etc, etc is a right PITA

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    sahmeepee's Avatar
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    RMB: I agree totally with your post and couldn't have put it better. I put that argument to our head almost exactly as you did (book example included) and he gave me his support, so I'll be putting something out to staff via our IT forum and possibly the staff bulletin.

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    KarlGoddard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.M.B View Post
    Misuse of a computer should be handled in the same way as misuse of a book - teachers would not call the Librarian and ask for a ban on using the library, so why should they ban use of the Internet?
    probably my most used and favourite quote when discussing the problem of teachers using IT Support to handle what is a teacher / classroom discipline matter!

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    Our school is currently in the middle of this again.. (for the umpteenth time).
    I will be having a meeting with the head at the start of next year, so will bring it up with him regarding the issue, since I am always in the middle of sorting out:

    Teach: "This kids account is disabled/banned".
    Me: "Yes, he has been abusing the internet on games, and has been banned for a week from yesterday".

    Teach: "Can you not unban him for this lesson?"
    Me: "No, that would breach the ban....whats the point in a ban if its lifted for one lesson ?"

    Teach: "Pwetty Please?"
    Me: "No, if you don't like it take it up with the network manager.."
    Teach promptly hangs up...

    There doesn't seem to be any sort of punishment for this sort of thing (i.e. keeping the student after school cleaning monitors for example thus using his time... lol (and doing something worthwhile). This is also because the head of IT is out of the building by 3.30 everyday fwit.

    M.

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    Heebeejeebee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwilliamson2001 View Post
    Our school is currently in the middle of this again.. (for the umpteenth time).
    I will be having a meeting with the head at the start of next year, so will bring it up with him regarding the issue, since I am always in the middle of sorting out:

    Teach: "This kids account is disabled/banned".
    Me: "Yes, he has been abusing the internet on games, and has been banned for a week from yesterday".

    Teach: "Can you not unban him for this lesson?"
    Me: "No, that would breach the ban....whats the point in a ban if its lifted for one lesson ?"

    Teach: "Pwetty Please?"
    Me: "No, if you don't like it take it up with the network manager.."
    Teach promptly hangs up...

    There doesn't seem to be any sort of punishment for this sort of thing (i.e. keeping the student after school cleaning monitors for example thus using his time... lol (and doing something worthwhile). This is also because the head of IT is out of the building by 3.30 everyday fwit.

    M.
    I fully concur with the above + it happens with print credits as well - 'student X can't print can you give them 20 more please?' Gaaahh!!

    HBJB

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    I just give them loads of credits, whatever, if they seem that bothered to come and see me about not having enough printer credits, then it MUST be important lol...

    Seems to work okay, I don't get that many peeps, except during cousework handin week!

    M.

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    tom_newton's Avatar
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    We have added a temp ban (works as temp whitelist as well) function to Guardian (new release: v. soon) due to "popular demand" - it's certainly a common tactic, both in the UK & US - not sure if that makes it right though :-/

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    bandgeekmafia78's Avatar
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    Does anyone actually have a 'white list' already populated that I could take a look at? Our school is looking at incorporating a white list but the teachers are reluctant to add their own URL's from scratch.

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    tomscaper's Avatar
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    We use a internet whitelist of troublemakers, we got a list of the sites they need to use for each lesson and staff can still pass on any new ones.
    Works pretty well as the kids who mess about have no where to go but those few sites.

    Although often the case is that the teacher will not be paying attention to them anyway so they just play games of there usb.

    Again the problem is classroom management, they can do it in there own room but as soon as it is a PC suite it all goes out the window.

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    antoeknee's Avatar
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    This is as others have said an issue with classroom management.

    Our teachers have Ranger Remote so can see what all the machines are doing any way.

    We rarely get asked to ban a pupil. But the position is that if a pupil has been banned due to a request of a member of staff its only that member of staff that can request the ban to be removed early (we require staff to specify an end time/date for a ban).

    If another staff member needs the ban removing they need to get the permission of the staff member who requested the ban in the first place.

    For us that means the staff member who requested the ban either comes to see us, phones us or provides written permission.

    Looking back at last year the total number of bans was in single figures from nearly 800 pupils.

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