We trust you with the children but not the Internet

Many schools filter YouTube, Twitter, blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networking, and other content-rich online services for both students and employees. Why on earth would you filter the adults who work for you? This is a loser strategy that prevents educators from accessing potentially-powerful educational material and damages employee morale. Does this make sense to anyone? Nice job, administrators…

Distrust

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49 Responses to “We trust you with the children but not the Internet”

  1. Sometimes, I think it’s just “easier” to put up firewalls rather than confronting all that really would need to happen to properly equip teachers to use the net meaningfully with students AND to ensure that we are truly hiring people we *can* trust. I don’t know that we honestly do or even can trust all of the people that are hired. I’ve also seen what happens (over and over again) when teachers abuse their access to the net and to children–admins often find themselves facing hefty consequences. I guess it’s no surprise to me why the filters are there.

    Still, it seems to be in the better interest of students if we worry less about catching someone we can’t trust than avoiding the potential fall-out of confronting that reality. The web doesn’t create teachers who can’t be trusted…it simply exposes what they may be up to. It would be that much easier if parents and communities supported courageous school leaders for acting on that sort of premise rather than punishing them.

  2. I’m so glad you created this… a few weeks ago, I tweeted my frustration about the lack of trust for teachers using the internet responsibly. Your response was exactly that- apparently, we trust teachers enough to put the children of our community in their care for 8-10 hours a day (in some cases, more), but teachers are obviously not well educated enough to use good judgment when it comes to the internet.

    I think it’s sad that we punish all teachers for “what if” scenarios. From the data I’ve seen, the percentage of teachers in school districts who are terminated for internet abuse or other ethical violations is less than 1% of the entire staff. We make rules that focus on the actions of 1%? That’s LUDICROUS! That’s akin to punishing an entire class of students for the actions of one. Do I know people who do that? Yes. Is it right? NO.

    Thanks again for stating so matter-of-factly that which we all know to be ridiculous… and also (sadly) true.

  3. My school district has opened up facebook and You Tube for the staff. The students now have You Tube, unless they abuse it. Let us not forget that as administrators we also have to listen to the parents. If parental objection to the use of facebook is overwhelming, you’re going to block it.

  4. Although I understand the point, it is not clear to me – as a union rep for teachers and other school staff – that school administrators DO universally trust them with students. There’s an awful lot of micromanagement around curriculum and programming, let alone double-guessing when parents complain about teachers.

  5. I am thinking the administrators are getting the shaft a bit here. :) Yes, I am an administrator. We have opened up the world to our teachers, but it was not easy. First, we had to convince our Board. Second, we had to transition our WHOLE system away from the Regional control to internal control. The regional control was not willing to work with us, so it costs a whole lot of money for us to fix this and work internally. If you don’t have the technology minds to help make this happen, it will take even longer. Our tech guy saw the need, worked with us and made it happen. Kudos to he and his team for their work!

  6. Would LOVE To feel respected enough to be trusted with a computer that wasn’t so locked down that I can’t even save a bookmark without it being wiped out over night. How crippling is that to the education process when we are demanded to integrate technology into our daily classroom use?

  7. @Angela Stockman: The percentage of teachers who abuse their Internet privileges is vastly smaller than the percentage of those who don’t. School organizations pay a price – both emotional and fiscal – for lumping them all together. Distrust of the very people who work for you leads to low morale, frustration, increased turnover, and other negative outcomes.

    @John Weidner: I understand parents being concerned about what their children are accessing. But are you actually getting complaints about teacher use of the Internet?

    @Melissa: Hey, I’m not talking about you guys! Clearly you get it. It’s those other administrators I’m talking about… =)

  8. We’re not perfect by any means, but Irving ISD in Irving, TX is one of the most open districts I know of. We do block/filter some things, but any teacher can request that a site be opened up VIA an online form. We use other technologies to throttle some sites in an effort to manage our 200mbps internet pipe (and with 10,000+ student laptops, we max our pipe during school hours).

    I think our stance is tedious and we may get pulled back any day pending any incidents we have – it is a hard line to hold. The bad thing is that with such a wealth of resources, bandwidth and open policies in our Title 1 district, we should have many more, high quality examples of outstanding tech use in our classrooms… :(

  9. This has been a challenge for me, as I edit a website intended for educators, among others. When we embedded Youtube videos early on, we discovered that many school personnel were blocked from entering the entire site.

  10. Thanks for pointing this out. At my fiancee’s school it is so ridiculous that she can’t even access her own school email account.

  11. While in some cases, it may not be administrators making the filtering decision – it probably shouldn’t be the responsibility of the tech folks.

    Just as lawyers shouldn’t make marketing decisions for business, tech folks probably shouldn’t make curriculum learning decisions for schools (tho I know of some who could!)

    Is it a trust issue, or fear (of losing control which was never owned) issue by the tech squad? Or is it bandwidth?

    The answer to How is Yes — but the question should be How, not If.

  12. This post reminds me of the infamous ‘maps’ post. A bit sensationalist for the sake of sensationalism. There is obviously more to the filtering debate than shackling teachers.

    I think that there is room for improvement, but an unfiltered internet is not a wise thing to have. YouTube for teachers, and maybe even social networking, but I really don’t think I would let my elementary kids loose on YouTube. Some of the comments on the videos are nothing less than obscene.

  13. Why on earth would you filter the adults who work for you? People are frequently surprised that we are directed by the state to comply with filters and restrictions or lose our funding. I’ve long maintained that internet abuse is a classroom management issue not a technology issue and that we shouldn’t restrict the majority of our responsible staff. But, parental pressure, School Board concerns, CIPA guidelines, eRate funding and a whole host of other factors come in to play. The real challenge is removing the barriers while complying with regulations – perhaps the question should really be – How do you remove the barriers to instruction and remain in compliance. It takes a little work and some creativity but it can and is being done.

  14. Scott,
    I love the slide, but the same way one cannot generalize all teachers, you can’t generalize all administrators. I for one in my district allow teacher and student access to youtube, wikis, blogger, and a host of other web 2.0 sites. If something is websensed (and not that much is except for blatantly inapropriate sites) and a teacher can make a case as to how they will use it instructionally, we unblock it.

    Maybe the to advocate for themselves in districts where it is blocked, teachers need to build a compelling case to show how access will improve student learning and understanding!)

  15. @Jonathan Wylie: This post doesn’t have anything to do with filtering students. It has to do with sending a message of trust to the adult employees who have daily responsibility for the community’s children. If you don’t send that message and back it up with action, research shows that a whole host of negative consequences ensue. That’s not the kind of school environment or workplace that school leaders should be fostering.

    @Jan Kauffman: I’ll ask you the same question I asked above. I understand that your community may be concerned about Internet abuse by students, but do you really have folks complaining about inappropriate use by the adults in your system?

    @Barry Bachenheimer: It seems to me that the default should NOT be that teachers have to request permission for something to be unblocked. Instead, the default should be that it’s open for teachers unless shown that it needs to be blocked. Which shows greater trust? Keep up the good work!

  16. My district will consider unblocking sites if a case is made (I ran into this last spring with goodreads.com and a semester long project I was doing with the site). I understand that administrators have to protect against the worst case scenario, but it was a pretty big waste of time to build a case for a website that never should have been blocked in the first place.

    I don’t think that the solution is to allow free access to all web sites at school, but to hear that your district wants more technology used but then limits your access is a discouraging message to receive.

  17. Our district has allowed us access to ‘most’ sites via a process of typing a username and password.

    However we currently lack access to the iTunes store and therefore the search function for iTunes U because a few years ago some employees downloaded content to school laptops and then complained when those laptops were re-imaged and they lost the stuff they paid for.

  18. I think the filters, and there are probably instances in schools where they are appropriate, should be controlled by teachers.

    Proper use of the tools is already the responsibility of teachers and taking the control out of their hands only causes problems.

  19. Scott,

    I am happy to say that our central office has allowed broad access to teachers beginning this year. Great vision on their part.

  20. About six months ago I asked my school district to “unblock filtered material or disable the Internet software filter without significant delay for all adult users” after doing some very light research and after feeling that censoring YouTube at our high school does not make sense. According to Wikipedia, the library “may disable the technology protection measure concerned, during use by an adult, to enable access for bona fide research or other lawful purpose.”

    Does this apply to schools?

    The response from the director of technology was that he can’t stop blocking because our filter cannot differentiate between a student’s computer and an adult’s computer.

    Although he has unblocked a website (Photobucket) for me without significant delay, the district’s decision to continue blocking YouTube makes showing clips to students cumbersome. And at the high school level, it all boils down to fear and mistrust.

    I speculate our Director was snoozing in Civics class because he clearly has not heard that “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought — not free thought only for those who agree with us, but freedom for the thought we hate.”

    Although YouTube may not always offer agreeable content, let’s not condemn all that it has to offer because of a minority of its content. With Constitution Day right around the corner, here’s an idea of how we can celebrate the day in our schools: Let’s stop needless censorship of the internet! And since every school is required to observe Constitution Day under the Patriot Act, we could actually DEMONSTRATE democratic ideals by ending this pointless censorship rather than just talking about the importance of the Constitution.

    -Good night, and good luck!

  21. As an educator that exposes my students to the world wide web for instructional purposes I have noticed an increase in web site filtering from the school systems that I work for. The process of “unblocking” a website takes time and sometimes requires a bit of effort having to explain reasoning. I am in favor of blocking student access to some websites but I think teachers should be responsible enough to get a username/password that will provide access.
    In the past, I have planned at home and went to work only to find that a website needed for instruction is blocked. I find it hard to believe that school systems want technology integration but limit access to internet sites.

  22. I agree–unfiltered access seems like a major issue waiting to happen. I don’t see the place that social networking has in the classroom. Perhaps it can be used for some creative teacher networking, but I think that can be accomplished on the teacher’s own time and their own computer space.

  23. Darin brings up a valid point – the Children’s Internet Protection Act does allow for adults conducting bona fide research to be allowed to bypass the filter. I must certify that my school as a filter in place when we apply for our E-Rate funding – why is the Schools and Libraries Division not asking if the filter can be overridden for adult use? My district provides an avenue for people to learn about the law, our filtering policies, and how to obtain an override account (which they keep for the remainder of their employment).

    A point brought up by Mike: he says that tech people shouldn’t be in charge of the blocking. I think he really meant to say “someone-that-has-never-been-in-the-classroom” shouldn’t be in charge of the filter. Too often the tech director is someone with immense amounts of technology experience but they don’t see things from the educators’ point of view. IMO, the curriculum and instruction department should be in charge of the filter. My district put technology in the C&I department – and hired a classroom teacher to run it (me!).

    My district utilizes the power of our filtering system to provide separate “profiles” for students and faculty. We provide the federally mandated levels of filtering for students while providing teachers with access to most categories (we still block adult-oriented sites and known malware sites). If a teacher does happen to request a student-blocked site to be re-classified for student use, then his/her principal makes the final decision (he/she is the instructional leader of the school after all).

    Most content filters provide a mechanism for filtering by login. It sounds to me that most tech directors out there are being lazy and not employing those technologies. I have personally evaluated 4 or 5 different filters and they all have 3 to 4 different ways to set them up.

  24. I think this post has some of the same components that the, “If you use paper maps, you should be fired” post did: It takes a very complex issue and places it in a black and white context – either “this” or “that”. If you do not open up sites, people feel untrusted.

    I don’t believe this issue is as simple.

    There are legal aspects (although CIPA has become an easy cop out for not having harder discussions).

    There are appropriate use issues. Scott stated that abuse is an exception and that few do this, but I would argue this based upon how abuse is defined. If it means people used the internet and computers in a manner which is contradictory to an organization’s AUP – I do not think this is an exception; especially if an AUP deals with purely personal use. If “abuse” is defined as the kind of actions which get you walked out the door, than I am inclined to agree with Scott.

    There are technological aspects to this issue. Filter suck today more than they ever did (I mean that in the fondest of terms). They are getting suckier because the web is changing faster than the underlying technology. In fact, that has changed very little.

    There are definitely political aspects to this. Just as it seems like everyone is becoming polarized around issues and the nature and volume of conflict is increasing, it seems like issue is getting strange attention. Believe it or not, teachers also questions why students should have this or that wide open. It is easier to be appeasing than argumentative when principals or parents or a superintendent are giving or taking heat.

    Lastly, as an organization, we still wrestle with a strong and systemetized way of approaching internet use with a purpose. Our practices range from very thoughtful and well planned out, to darn near internet recess. With that type of range, this issue is much cloudier than it needs to be.

  25. Yes, filtering is more complex than “do you trust teachers?” But solving that complexity with total censorship is a simple-minded solution from tech departments and administrators who don’t seem to understand how to make technology work for you.

    All it takes is two features to solve the problem:
    1) Allow teachers to bypass filters. Instead of a screen that says “You’ve been blocked”, they need a screen that says “You’ve been blocked. If you believe this resource may be appropriate and would like to preview it, please re-enter your login credentials to verify that you are [teacher]”
    2) A way to let teachers preview the screen without students seeing. Basically, a simple way to instantly turn a classroom TV or digital projector off for 10 seconds so that the teacher can check a page privately on a computer monitor. Laptops might accomplish this with F8. With a TV, you can just change the channel. With a digital projector, it might just mean putting something opaque in front of the image for fifteen seconds.

    Entertainingly, if tech departments implemented these two things, they would never have to handle an “unblock” request again. They’re just making more work for themselves by not investigating real solutions. :)

  26. cCntent-rich online services for both students and especiallyemployees should not be blocked.
    I agree!
    Who decides what is content-rich online sites usually if you have a filter or block the company that provides it decides. Interesting?
    If the school decides to decide then who, the teacher in the content area…Sometimes…the administrator…Sometimes…the tech person…more often.
    When both the administrator and the content area teacher are not part of this decision is it harmful to morale…yes…
    Is this a problem in more areas then just internet use…yes.
    Does this make sense…no.
    Niether does saying…
    Nice job, administrators…

  27. tbh I think a lot of you are missing the point schools filter a lot of the *crud* from the net. We provide a internet connection for the purposes of work in relation to the school only. It can NOT be used for personal work including personal email. When ever we have opened the net up staff dont just get access to the sites that were for use in the classroom (which we unblock anyway) they get online shopping, social networks etc where the browsing is nothing but personal. We have had to sack staff that have posted consistently in forums about how they are teaching class and bored etc. We also have staff accessing inappropriate sites for non PC jokes etc, it is the duty of the school to protect the pupil from that stuff and pupils DO see whats on your screen at times. I hate to say it but in our experience staff abuse the internet much more then pupils and they play games. This is not the minority this is the majority. We have a site unblocked which is the most hit site by staff in our school, its a real estate agents!
    Thats what they are doing when they are paid and entrusted with pupils care for those hours. If staff acted more like professionals in our school then maybe things could change but every time we give an inch its abused profusely by staff. The internet is not a right, its a privilege and teachers can still teach without it (or they shouldnt be teaching). I am not saying it doesnt enhance the experience for pupils though, just more that life goes on without it like it did for decades. Its there for work and work alone, if they didnt abuse that fact across the board it may be changed but as long as the biggest site is a real estate agents it wont be happening soon.
    Just remember we DO unblock sites that have legitimate uses just not generally ALL of youtube, just the relevant pages.

  28. A few thoughts…

    A. Administrators across the country create work climates of distrust that disparage and demean their adult employees and I get criticized for calling them on it? Huh?

    B. @Lacusa: 1. I’m guessing that the vast majority of teachers are using the Web appropriately. If not, you’ve got much bigger culture/climate problems on your hands than this one. As Deming said, most problems with individual employees are attributable to the system in which they operate. 2. People generally treat others and/or their employers as they’re treated. 3. Has a conversation been initiated around this? If so, WHY has it failed? Because your employees are bad people? Or other reasons? 4. I believe that a great number of corporate employers find that treating their employees with some respect by not fussing too much about an occasional personal call, e-mail, web site visit, etc. pays off in terms of employee morale. I believe they also find that productivity isn’t really impaired that much. The employee surfing the Web when he is supposed to be doing something else is the exception, not the rule. If is indeed the rule where you are, see my #1 again.

  29. @Scott: Yeh I do understand your points, and in schools where staff personal usage is low (which tbh is fine) I can see more merrits from unrestricting some sites. I do though think that anything hacking/porn should be banned to protect staff from the odd bad click with a projector and getting nasty images onscreen in class (and all it takes is a dead link/misclick) with the obvious allowance for unblocking if miscategorised.
    As for dealing with abuse it is possible to deal with the odd staff member but if its rife you cant deal with all the staff and thats when filtering should be used. TBH in our examination of logs the majority of staff have no problem with blocked sites. I have checked the sites that were blocked often and they have all been blocked for valid reasons. Obviously youtube is a mixed bag but do you really see being on facebook in class as a benefit to the pupils and an essential tool?
    Also fyi there have been a lot of debates on http://www.edugeek.net/ about this more from a techs perspective though if you interested in reading/making a post.

  30. Our director of technology e-mailed me with a copy of my post and the comment that he actually received “pretty good grades” in his social studies classes. I believe him.

    It would appear that the decision to filter YouTube came from another administrator.

  31. Administrators across the country create work climates of distrust that disparage and demean their adult employees and I get criticized for calling them on it? Huh?
    Is it just me or does this seem to make a blanket statement? If blocking sites from adult employees consitutes disparegement of employees you are going to have to open the blanket to include a large part of the business world.
    I find that blocking sites frustrates staff (with a capital F) but to disparage and demean usually involves an administrator that uses lots of other resources besides the internet.
    Blocked sites in an Art Department include many artist that have nude work. Wow think about that, I guess Degas is not worthy. Degenerate art was blocked also by Hitler. Food for thought.
    Communication with solid curriculum references will convince most true educational leaders.

  32. Although there is a lot of good conversation here, there are also a lot of overly broad incorporations. I would compare the concept of blocking all adults to the statements indicating administrators are to blame. There are so many factors that must be considered when considering the concept of filtering some of it is actually the ability to appropriately set the filters, which tend to block on an “all or nothing” basis. When forced to make that decision, it doesn’t seem so easy. Also, I disagree that this is an issue of trust. Popups, spam, viruses, etc. clearly indicate that most of us don’t truly want to be 100% unfiltered. We do, however, want to be able to use the sites that we find valuable. Filtering and blocking when done appropriately (conversations and honesty) aren’t disparaging but appropriate. By the way, is it appropriate to allow teachers to surf for non-educational items on school time? Such things like video games, on-line banking, facebooking, etc. for personal use are probably not what was intended when the contract was offered. I think this is similar to other employment opportunities as well, not just education, and education is not the only place that content is determined for adults. It is, however, a more sensitive concept as we are using taxpayer money to do so.

    On another note, I want to thank Scott and Dangerously Irrelevant for the number of posts and freshness of those posts. DI moves quickly, and that allows us to see a lot of information on a lot of topics. In an attempt to go a little deeper into a few topics, however, stopping by Beating the Dead Horse may be an option. The first post of this new site (yes mine) discusses this topic.

  33. I understand the filtering of what internet the student’s can access, but with teachers is it a matter of not trusting them. I think it should be a matter of having the privelage until you misuse it. For example, if a teacher is caught abusing his/her internet privelages, like showing an inappropriate video on Youtube, then youtube should be blocked from that specific teachers computer. That may be more advanced than computer filtering in schools currently is, but it is something that could be aspired to.

  34. Research the reasons for this before posting an UNEDUCATED opinion, please!!!

    Many schools and higher education institutions get internet free from the state or, in some cases, even slower speeds at a high price. There are also laws that govern certain information such as email, instant messaging, etc. that MUST be recorded in the event a court system demands the release of this information during a trial.

    That said… traffic becomes HIGHLY congested with the use of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and thus hinders the performance of the network for other purposes more closely related to classroom material. To keep costs down, the most logical solution to this is to block certain aspects of the internet. Not only for security but for better network performance! So yes… it most certainly DOES make perfect sense!

    For hundreds of years we got by in the classroom without the internet… why is it so important now that you have access to Facebook and YouTube while on campus??? Seriously… that alone is what doesn’t make any sense. Perhaps you should focus on the quality of education. How about the statistics on the number of students who know how to spell properly or do math without a calculator (both of which have gone WAY down over the last 10 years)! How about knowledge retention??? We focus so much on the damn internet and “quick and easy” access to any and all information we could ever want. There is no longer an incentive to “remember” anything or to “understand” why something is the way it is.

    If you’re going to rant… please do so about something that matters instead of the BS that you shouldn’t be doing at work/school anyway!

    If you still want to argue your point… I challenge you to go and ask ANY network administrator out there if the reason for blocking said content was based entirely on the filtering of “potentially” crude, illegal, or adult oriented material. Your answer will be an astounding NO and you’ll be forced to rethink your position.

    That is all!

  35. Although I do agree with you, I’ve just been informed of some stats from Education Minnesota. According to them, the number one reason for teachers being fired from their jobs is internet porn (or other such sexually inappropriate sites). That being said, I do think that we should open the internet but still allow the ability to track it and take the appropriate actions. Those who are involved in such habits know how to get around any internet filtering system.

  36. The internet has an enormous amount of information for our students and staff. I do believe that students need to know how to spell correctly and be able to do math without a calculator, but not to allow some of these advances into our classroom is ridiculous. I have found that using YouTube allows my boys to relate to something they can write about. Yes, it may look like Nitro Circus, but these experiences fire their amygdala (fight or flight) and allows them to create wonderful writing samples. I never use anything that couldn’t be viewed on television, but often times this novely, even for my girls, inspires them to think outside of the box…just like educators should be doing. We need to be cautious, but with careful planning these instances can really spark something with our students.

  37. As a media specialist in two K-5 buildings, I’m “in charge of” the computer lab at each building. It’s very frustrating for me each morning when I boot up a lab and find all kinds of things “wrong” with the desktop – icons have been changed or renamed and all kinds of random files appear. I do check the history of some computers each morning and am pretty surprised at some of the sites that even elementary students at least TRY to access (our blocking software works too well sometimes).

    I think the big problem is that too many classroom teachers do not supervise their students in the computer labs. I don’t know, maybe they look at their time in the Lab as free time or something. One computer is designated as a “teacher computer” and it’s clear that teachers spend their time surfing while their students are free to roam around the Internet.

    So, perhaps it’s necessary for our Tech Dept. to put on the filters because of the lack of teacher supervision at times. Personally, I wish there were no filters, but then, when I think of some of the teachers and their lack of supervision…

    BF

  38. picketech@gmail.com Reply October 22, 2009 at 5:16 am

    Yes of course you are right, but that 1% x multimilliondollar lawsuits is a risk schools won’t take.
    These risks will only be taken when legal damages are an upfront known quantity. So we need to regulate the legal profession before we will have admins regulate the internet in schools in such a way that it makes sense.
    Under the present legal system it’s easier to regulate exclusions than inclusions.

  39. Speaking for the teachers who do supervise in the computer lab with students – it has never been easy to wander the narrow aisles and monitor 35 students on computers to catch them when they are being creative with computers. Especially when most of the kids know more about computers than some teachers. We now have a new Smart Sync and can sit at our teacher screen to observe and lock the computers as needed – and we can sit and surf while we do it.

  40. Thanks for being the Voice of Reason here, Marshall. I agree that filtering is not an easy decision or process, and the choice of a school district/administration to filter some content/sites is not an automatic show of distrust of teachers. I also think that an issue that people are talking around here is the difference between recreational use of the internet and educational use. I personally don’t expect the district I work for to pay me to shop online or update Facebook so my family can view new pictures. The same goes for students in my class–time assigned for educational projects should be used for such. The problem lies in the fact that many sites cross over and can be used recreationally and educationally, just as some sites have content that is both appropriate and inappropriate for school use. This being the case then, I would have to advocate for filters that limit inappropriate content, but allow teachers easy and quick ways of accessing content which they feel can be appropriate to their classes. The solutions that Anon mentioned on 9/15 seem reasonable and relatively easy to implement.

  41. This may seem off-topic, but when I saw the title of this post I thought it was about how we are trusted to be with students in the classroom but are discouraged from interacting with them using electronic media. This seems ridiculous to me. It is OK to write a note to a student, call them an the home phone, have face-to-face contact with them, but it is INappropraite to communicate with them via e-mail, facebook, etc.?

  42. I have known too many stories about teachers going on inappropriate sites and caught by kids. It happens more than we’d like to know, and it is far better to block sites than have kids catch a teacher doing something inappropriate.

  43. @ Karen
    Wow! Voice of Reason and I are not usually associated, but thanks for the compliment (anyway, that’s how I’m taking it). You have the issue summed up. We want to use the “good and appropriate” and eliminate the “useless, inappropriate, and distracting” content that may be included. Just like e-mail…we want to get what we want and not the spam. Sounds simple, but with filters SOMEONE has to be the judge of appropriate use. That may be where it gets tricky.
    I liked Anon’s ideas too, and I think the access idea is great – it simply allows a pre-approved educator to make a determination that the site they are wanting to accesss is of education value. The block is a warning that this may be of questionable content, and mis-directed errors can be avoided pretty easily. Yet the content that is desired can still be accessed with relative ease. From that point, an educator is responsible for what they access.
    One of our difficulties locally has been the expertise and experience of managing the system (referencing your comment “relatively easy to implement”). I have been unable to post to my own education based blog from school technology for several days now, and it’s frustrating. Additionally, I haven’t been able to see or use comments here on DI during that time. Our IT person is basically self-taught and works hard to do what we need, but has struggled with this topic. We could get an expert, but the expense of bringing in someone can be pretty hazardous to our checkbook. Just this morning, however, she made a great breakthrough for me, and it’s that type of thing that encourages me that we will continue to grow and improve.

    @ Lori
    Normally, I’d say that the technology is an improvement over calling on a phone, etc. or even F2F as there is a tracking of the digital conversation. We just aren’t accostomed to that approach yet. Lots of talk on that topic too.

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    [...] it’s wise to be cautious, I think some parents (and schools) can’t see far enough past the potential pitfalls to notice what benefits they might be [...]

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