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School ICT Policies Thread, Content filtering in School Administration; Hello. I've been thinking about filtering policies recently after enforcing quite draconian filtering (for a bit of a wheez) in ...
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    mitcheln's Avatar
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    Content filtering

    Hello. I've been thinking about filtering policies recently after enforcing quite draconian filtering (for a bit of a wheez) in response to corridor complaints from staff in one of the (primary) schools in which I work about inappropriate material popping up here and there. Naturally, as a result of this, numerous sites ceased to work as expected and the volume of complaints increased dramatically. It got me to thinking that this was something I needed to discuss with the management in the school to develop a program of education for the users and agreeing on a filtering policy to determine roles and responsibilities etc., etc. This is now in progress and I'm wondering what other schools have in place. Anyone care to comment?

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    Re: Content filtering

    Were in the process of this at the moment. The first thing we are going to do is ask all departments for a list of websites that they use for their subjects. These will be entered into a whitelist to prevent the filter from stopping their content.
    We are then going to filter flash according to a schedule. This will probably be all the time apart from the last ten minutes of a lesson etc. This will not effect the sites on the whitelist.

    We will then ban other file type mp3 etc. We are then going to update our keyword filtering for "free online games" , "free music" etc. This will all be backed by a blacklist subscription.

    We then have the choice of using this or going to a pure whitelist only mode for awkward classes. We will be able to do this on a per room/Computer or user basis.

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    Re: Content filtering

    I should also add that we are going try our best to filter game sites that use other technologies as well with keywords.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: Content filtering

    Dansguardian is pretty much stopping it dead here.

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    Re: Content filtering

    My attitude (something of a minority sport around here at times) is that I work for my schools and not them for me.

    I don't use my technical knowledge (as its very small :P ) to implement draconian measures for "a bit of a wheez"

    If asked, I recommend what can be done for free with exisiting kit and what would be needed to so something a bit more sophisticated.

    Here in Lancs, we have county provided SmartFiltering and a local Cachepilot for blacklisting.

    Number one tool is normal teacher control of pupils behaviour

    regards

    Simon

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    eduabncs's Avatar
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    Re: Content filtering

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi

    Number one tool is normal teacher control of pupils behaviour
    If only.....!!

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: Content filtering

    Quote Originally Posted by eduabncs
    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi

    Number one tool is normal teacher control of pupils behaviour
    If only.....!!
    Personally, I find that software unreliable.

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    mitcheln's Avatar
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    Re: Content filtering

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi
    My attitude (something of a minority sport around here at times) is that I work for my schools and not them for me.

    I don't use my technical knowledge (as its very small :P ) to implement draconian measures for "a bit of a wheez"

    I
    Hello Simon, this was meant as a lighthearted introduction to the post. It isn't a description of my attitude but a reflection on the responsibilities we have when making decisions that affect our clients experience of the ICT they use. It is difficult to predict what might be the affect of making a filtering system more strict until one tries and with limited resources this usually means experementing on an unsuspecting public in order to reach a satisfactory balance. Hence my thinking about written policies that are agreed and reviewed as necessary and the education of the users.
    Best regards,
    mitcheln

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    Re: Content filtering

    You may have noticed some of my recent posts on this subject. The use of websites with games is becoming a joke and some staff seem unwilling to cooperate and police the situation. This has caused me to become rather unpopular and it's as if I'm out to get all the little darlings that would rather play on LineFlyer/LineRider (look them up and block them NOW!) for an hour than do some work.

    Out AUP states that the computers should ONLY be used for educational purposes and explicitly states that playing games is unacceptable. Teachers do not seem to care though.

    I too will be blocking Flash on ALL sites excpet those in a whitelist provided by staff. I have my line manager's (an assistant head) full backing... this is how bad it has become!

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: Content filtering

    If you wish to come an have a look at the Dansguardian setup we have here Ric, you're more than welcome.

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    Re: Content filtering

    One of the problems with Linerider, etc is that students have discovered fairly easy methods of disguising it ... and fair play to them, they have had to think long and hard about how to do it (ok ... not so long for the brighter ones), but it staff failing to do anyhing about it that gets me.

    I have taken a tough line with this and even deleted games from staff computers since staff and students are treated equally .. not made me popular but I don't care. There are enough staff that appreciate that there has been an upturn in the amount of work completed this week after I deleted 9.4 GB of games from home areas.

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    Re: Content filtering

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi
    Here in Lancs, we have county provided SmartFiltering and a local Cachepilot for blacklisting.


    Simon

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