Poll: Do you allow staff to view more internet sites than students?

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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, What sites do you allow staff access but not students? in Technical; Hi all, I am new to the forum so please be nice! I am a teacher (sorry!) in a secondary ...
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    b_m
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    What sites do you allow staff access but not students?

    Hi all,

    I am new to the forum so please be nice! I am a teacher (sorry!) in a secondary school, with a network manager who believes that RM is the best thing ever and there is no other way to run a network!

    So basically, I have doubts as to whether he actually has a clue or not!

    Having worked in another school in the area also connected through the same internet provider, the differences between the schools policies have shocked me greatly.

    To cut it short, in one school I was allowed pretty much unfiltered access (obviously porn would be filtered!), and could access youtube, facebook, bebo etc. This was logged and if accesses to facebook etc were seen during teaching hours you obviously would be questioned, but apart from that it was basically restriction free.

    In the second school staff do not have access to youtube. facebook, google images etc. Staff are on the same internet connection (and filtering) as the pupils. It obviously is possible for different groups to have different filtering as evidenced by one of the two schools, but the second school just doesn't know how to administer this properly.

    My question is, do you allow staff different internet viewing permissions to students- and if so what can staff view that students can't? Please could you answer the poll and post details in the thread?

    Thanks for your time in answering this!

    B_m

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    Sylv3r's Avatar
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    Staff and students have access to the same sites here.

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    Diello's Avatar
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    Staff have access to YouTube (teaching resource) and recently FaceBook (some drama companies use it to contact teachers etc.) - they also have access to "extreme viewpoint" websites the students can't access - e.g Pro-life/Pro-choice advocates, where-as students can only access balanced websites. We also allow them access to personal email providers, however school policy dictates that they must use their school account for all professional correspondence.

    Bebo/MySpace etc. are blocked as there is no educational case for it.

    Yes - most filtering software will allow you to set up filtering based on groups - and RM certainly doesn't stop you doing this.

    As for RM being the best thing ever - well, it depends really - if IT Services don't have enough staff to support the school, then network management needs to take a back seat over helping people, at which point RM does make sense. If they have enough staff though, then they really should consider a standard Microsoft network. Unless they've only ever worked in education and only know RM of course.

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    sahmeepee's Avatar
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    Our staff can get on slightly more than pupils, most notably their home email. Pupils can't access webmail because we get a lot of cases of bullying via email so it makes sense to channel all email in school through a route that we can manage.

    Until the LA blocked them, our staff could get on Facebook, Youtube and iPlayer. IIRC we had all those blocked for the kids. Staff don't seem to be too bothered about FB (it's a mixed blessing having it available 24/7 IMHO), but they do miss the educational benefits of Youtube and iPlayer. Luckily we can use zamzar.com to get Youtube videos on a one-off basis.

    Obviously I can see the reason for blocking incredibly bandwidth-hungry video sites when capacity is finite and would rather lose Youtube than suffer slow speeds on every website.

    On your first point, there are currently other ways than RM to run a school network, but unfortunately that seems to be changing.

  5. Thanks to sahmeepee from:

    b_m (7th March 2009)

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    We have different filtering policies for staff and students, however staff internet usage is still reasonably tight. The fact your current school uses RM should have no impact on what may or may not be getting filtered, in fact there’s a good chance both schools are using the same LEA provided filtering setup. Unless you are having difficulty getting to the resources you need to teach with i fail to see you complaint, the schools Filtering policies are likely set and approved by the schools senior leadership. Sometimes you just have to accept that different school IT departments implement things differently.

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    Staff have very relaxed filtering at our school - the students get the other extreme

    Staff can't download executables etc though or get on online auction / gambling / porn sites

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    b_m
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    Thanks for all the feedback so far. Just to clarify a couple of points.....

    • my point about using RM wasn't meant to imply that RM were doing the filtering, just to give an idea of the level of competency of our network manager. (His response to everything is "I'll raise a ticket with RM")
    • the reason I ask is that we (me specifically) are trying to raise the use of ICT as a teaching tool amongst all staff. We have invested heavily in projectors and IWB's (an initial SLT response to just throw money at the problem!) but I am aware that there are a lot of good resources on youtube particularly that we are currently restricting staff from using.


    I know of course that lifting restrictions gives rise to issues with staff leaving computers unattended etc, but I think that would be another bridge to cross if and when we actually reached it!
    Last edited by b_m; 7th March 2009 at 04:30 PM. Reason: appear to have lost the ability to spell!

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Year 7 to Year 11 pupils have one level of filtering. Sixth form students have the school-level plus webmail (to allow them to use their Hotmail, Gmail, etc. email when they are doing the UCAS applications and the like). Staff have the Sixth Form level plus a few extra sites as needed.

    The reason for keeping the filtering levels so similar is for consistency. There's no point in a teacher preparing a lesson and checking out websites only to find that the kids can't access those websites in class.

  10. Thanks to Ric_ from:

    b_m (7th March 2009)

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    b_m
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    Year 7 to Year 11 pupils have one level of filtering. Sixth form students have the school-level plus webmail (to allow them to use their Hotmail, Gmail, etc. email when they are doing the UCAS applications and the like). Staff have the Sixth Form level plus a few extra sites as needed.

    The reason for keeping the filtering levels so similar is for consistency. There's no point in a teacher preparing a lesson and checking out websites only to find that the kids can't access those websites in class.
    Makes perfect sense to me. Could you say what those "few extra sites as needed" are?

    Thanks,

    B_m

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b_m View Post
    Thanks for all the feedback so far. Just to clarify a couple of points.....

    • my point about using RM wasn't meant to imply that RM were doing the filtering, just to give an idea of the level of competency of our network manager. (His response to everything is "I'll raise a ticket with RM")
    No network manager should raise a ticket unless having looked thoroughly at the problem and had his technicians look at it. If they cannot fix it, then they can atleast make an informed choice, just doing that without looking at the problem is grounds for negligence in my work.


    Quote Originally Posted by b_m View Post
    • the reason I ask is that we (me specifically) are trying to raise the use of ICT as a teaching tool amongst all staff. We have invested heavily in projectors and IWB's (an initial SLT response to just throw money at the problem!) but I am aware that there are a lot of good resources on youtube particularly that we are currently restricting staff from using.


    I know of course that lifting restrictions gives rise to issues with staff leaving computers unattended etc, but I think that would be another bridge to cross if and when we actually reached it!
    Tell staff to use teachertube if youtube is blocked. It contains much much more teaching related materials. Sorry to say your NM sounds incompetant if he puts both teachers and staff on the same filter. They should have seperate filters as we have in my school. We have a staff filter which allows alot more than the pupils, but still doesnt allow access to various things such as online gambling, facebook, hotmail, pr0n etc.

    Just tell him to knock his filters off and use ISA to make life easier!
    Last edited by nephilim; 7th March 2009 at 04:48 PM.

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    We're quite relaxed with what staff are allowed to access, Youtube, google images and so on are all allowed. Of course, everything is logged for various reasons.
    The only thing we really block staff from (other than porn and websites the LEA has blocked) is social networking websites.

    When we did allow facebook access to staff, it was always miles ahead of every other website in the usage stats and eventually the school management requested it's removal, as there is no educational need for them to be accessible.

    As for students, Youtube, social networking, games, non school website and so on are all blocked. We ease the restrictions as they enter Post 16, i.e they can access hotmail.
    Last edited by DrCheese; 7th March 2009 at 04:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b_m View Post
    Makes perfect sense to me. Could you say what those "few extra sites as needed" are?
    I can't remember off the top of my head, it's not additional categories of sites though... just the odd site that might serve the vaguest bit of educational contnet.

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    We have two lines from Cleo our provider. One is not filtered and used on our admin network by our SMT.
    The other is filtered (By CLEO) and used on our curriculum network. Staff who login on the curriculum side use this line. We then filter this line even further for our students (IE: any games, proxy sites we spot which havent been spotted by county etc etc)

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    Staff and pupils have the same access but staff can use one of the office computers if there's something they need that is filtered. They are in open view which discourages misuse (which we have had big-time in the past).

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    Everyone uses the same filtering here on three grounds:

    1. Our filtering is generally perceived to be quite balanced so there are rarely requests for unblocks.
    2. I can't say I trust a lot of the staff any more than I do the students.
    3. I think it would just provide more incentive for students to attempt to misuse a staff account.

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