Sheltered??? True or False

September 27, 2008 at 7:56 pm (Uncategorized) ()

After viewing a post on Filtered Fun at Weblogged-ed, it made me think of my workplace.  Often times, I have a question that I would like to IM Dr. Lowell; however, I can not access Yahoo messenger from my school account.  We cannot use Yahoo or MSN messenger or email.  They must be able to see everything we write and infer about.  It seems ridiculous at times.  A comment posted on weblogg-ed made me question if our students are really safe… “I truly believe that filters make our kids less safe. They step off the bus into unfiltered worlds with no context for making good decisions about the stuff coming at them. It’s a huge problem. But on some levels, the bigger problem is what we are doing to our teachers.”  How are we expected to stay updated and educated with technology if we are not aloud to access the resources from our classroom?  It is a huge problem for teachers and students. 

However, I must state that I enjoy the block for my students (and own child) to some extent.  I do not want my child or students in my classroom being exposed to pornographic pop-ups.  Yes, they might hear it elsewhere but not on my turf.  At least I can take that moment to educate my own child.  The blocks do seem ridiculous and prevents us from using the tools that are available.  Just my thoughts…

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8 Comments

  1. Nate said,

    I’ve maintained for a long time that filters protect schools and not students. We cripple valid interaction, remove the possibility for oversight, and give free rein to mis-behavior in the name of “protection.” The problem is that we’re protecting the wrong entities.

  2. amyhoward said,

    I would love to use instand messenger with students. If I can get my virtual classroom up and going, it would be great to IM the other students in classrooms across the globe.

  3. Diana Jackson said,

    Very true! We’re trying to protect them from the wrong things. Seems like a true problem when the school would rather protect themselves from lawsuits when they’re really inhibiting their students from learning. When trying to think of their reasoning, I can only believe that they are trying to shelter students (and teachers) from everything. Do you think this may have something to do with sticking to the old fashion content (for testing of course)? Or are they just plain stupid from the technology realm?

  4. Nate said,

    No, I think they’re protecting the schools – and administrators – from lawsuits. It only takes one parent who disapproves of something that little Johnny or Mary sees to cost the school district a lot of money.

    The fact that these blocks are hurting students is not demonstrably evident in the same way that “Kids are not supposed to be viewing porn in the classroom” is.

    It’s part of the litigation environment and so long as the courts side with parents in these cases, I believe we can expect to see more dumbing down.

  5. carla said,

    The proxy does protect the state. I know most of know teachers who would probably use it more than kids. But.. there are proxy bypass websites. 1000 of them. The kids know them too and the access exactly what they want. the school can not proxy all of them. SO really, we are not protecting them at all.
    Sheltering students is what has gotten so many kids into trouble. Good little high school kids who live in a bubble and then college life comes and a big reality smack in the face.
    If parents and teachers would interject a little reality into daily lessons then students may be a little more well rounded.

  6. dianaljackson said,

    Dr. Lowell,
    I see your reasoning; however, when we block viewing of certain resources we are hurting students in terms of education…correct? I do agree that it seems their main concern is to protect themselves from lawsuits. Would you please explain further your statement “The fact that these blocks are hurting students is not demonstrably evident in the same way that “Kids are not supposed to be viewing porn in the classroom” is.” How is it not demonstrably evident?

  7. Nate said,

    There is nothing you can point to and say “Not having access to these resources is hurting students.” The best research results are always trumped by the first naked person on the screen. These tools are all too new to have any kind of research base that unequivocally supports their use.

    The aggravating part is that there’s no research base that unequivocally supports the use of classrooms either. It’s just “what education is.”

  8. Diana Jackson said,

    Dr. Lowell,
    Right! After taking a moment to think about your comment, I understand how research is lacking in this area. It’s also sad that education must be what it is. It seems unfair that nothing cn be done. I’ve thought today about your first comment and how it’s sad that the system (administrative department) only worries about itself (not the students). So I think it would be safe to say that lack of research does seem to be the root of evil.

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