I'm a primary school teacher. If I want my class to do any research, I am required to select which search terms they can use and pre-check them all. The children may not use their own search terms. Wikipedia is banned because it might not be accurate enough. Google has just been banned because our service provider has realised they are not able to force Safesearch on and a pupil might switch it off. Youtube is blocked, even to teachers.
I understand and agree with the need to cover our backs, and the desire to shield children from undesirable content. However, I can't help feeling we're being steered by a series of knee-jerk reactions rather than a properly thought-through programme of educating children to conduct themselves safely, coupled with a risk assessment policy that balances risk against educational benefit. After all, as soon as the kids leave the premises they'll be using their unfiltered phones with their friends.
Maybe I just need a summer holiday. Am I being unreasonable?
Sounds like you need to a new service provider for a start as enforcing safe search is fairly easy as it it involves is adding something to the end of every url request for a Google search.
I find that "Wikipedia is banned because it may not be accurate enough" to be a strange one, while this maybe true I'm sure it will be good enough, who came up with this ?
YouTube completely blocked ? What about the education side of it, it may not cover everything but it's a start at least.
I'm sure some people from primaries could suggest some search engines that they use that maybe better for the younger audience.
I didn't think it could be that hard. I may be wrong but I suspect they must be using a product that "does it by magic" and/or doesn't allow enough customisation, so they're stuck until the next version comes out. Here's the announcement.
Originally Posted by ChrisH
I find that "Wikipedia is banned because it may not be accurate enough" to be a strange one
I've just about stamped that one out now but it was the school's policy until I got there.
Originally Posted by ChrisH
YouTube completely blocked ? What about the education side of it
Quite. A few of us rip anything we need at home but most people just resign to not being able to use it.
We are a secondary school which until recently was with EIS Kent for our internet and filtering, but have since moved away for a variety of reasons.
If I was you I would have a word with the guys & girls (Natalie and Kevin I dealt with mainly) in schools broadband and see if they can transfer you over to the NextGen Lightspeed filtering that they use for secondary schools. It is connectable straight to your AD and read out user accounts allowing staff & students to have different polices (we allow youtube for staff and the education version for students ) and it works 100% with google safe search. This is the same product that we now use on a virgin media connection at our school so if you need any advice let me know.
I work at a college rather than a primary school and I realise that things are going to work very differently there but it sounds like the need of you and your pupils are not being met very well at the moment. Rather than trying to work around these flaws, can you see if you can get things addressed properly to meet your needs. I doubt you're alone at your school in struggling with what seems an overly-restrictive system, and this has to be impacting the education of your pupils and that's why we all bother flinging the doors open in the mornings, after all!
The reason safe search is hard to block is due to filters being unable to read https packets without deep packet inspection (SSL Scanning). There is a solution whereby to sum it up you put in your local DNS forwarders a Forward Lookup Zone for google.com and create a CNAME within to point "www.google.com" to "nosslsearch.google.com". Once you have all Google requests going to None SSL Google your filters will work to however you may have them set up.