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SCHOOL-IT  July 2009

SCHOOL-IT July 2009

Subject:

Re: School Filters op ed

From:

Arthus Erea <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

School Information Technology Discussion <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 13 Jul 2009 21:13:55 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (165 lines)

I wonder if that might be a way to get around the issue of so-called  
"unintentional" access.

Maintain the filter, but when a page is "blocked" simply prompt the  
user (student OR teacher) to "accept entry into the site." Then log  
that into a database. This would force students to be held responsible  
for their access (can't say it was an accident), but without limiting  
the freedom to view content.

A periodic review of such bypasses might be helpful, allowing the  
filter to be refined and appropriate disciplinary action to be taken  
in needed cases.

Sadly, many filters do block far more content than they should. I have  
frequently run into educational blogs (even my own!) that were blocked  
due to an overly broad filter. Though it can technically be fixed,  
that process takes far too long and most students/teachers will simply  
move on and look for an alternate (and often inferior) source.

Don't even get my started on the difficulty of doing research for  
history classes when filters decide to block every useful page about  
WWI and WWII.

On Jul 13, 2009, at 8:59 PM, Vince Gonillo wrote:

> Hi,
> We have DansGuardian. We have two groups for access, teacher and  
> student. If a teacher is blocked they type in "passwrd" (no I did  
> not forget the o) and they are granted access to what they were  
> looking for.
> Not the best solution but it works and we do not need to worry about  
> the password leaking out. It only works if you are in the teacher  
> group.
> Vince
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Stephen Barner <[log in to unmask]>
> To: School Information Technology Discussion <[log in to unmask]>
>
> Sent: 7/13/2009 9:35:11 AM
> Subject: Re: School Filters op ed
>
> Having used GenavaLogic Vision for several years, I have to say that  
> Drew's last sentence does not reflect my experience.  There are  
> sometimes ways students can circumvent monitoring software, usually  
> due to some bug in the software.  The quick solution to that is  
> quite simple; tell the kid point blank not to do it again, then tell  
> him to reboot his computer.  If necessary, ask the student just to  
> shut his computer off and look on with his neighbor (that really  
> gets their attention).  If that doesn't work to control the  
> behavior, you've probably got much bigger problems as a teacher.
>
> The really interesting thing is how many times students will ask me  
> to use the monitoring software to send the projected screen out to  
> their computers.  We use it whenever we're doing presentations or  
> lessons.  Students can either look up at a projected image or view  
> the screen right on their display.  Like assistive audio  
> technologies, bringing the visual display closer to the person helps  
> to hold their interest and can enhance learning.  The fact that you  
> can keep the student from "multitasking" with the computer should be  
> secondary to the educational enhancement this technology offers.
>
> If you rely on classroom monitoring software to manage your  
> students, or to try to hold their attention through an hour-long  
> lecture, you will almost certainly lose the battle for their hearts  
> and minds.  However, it can be a very powerful tool that can be used  
> to improve attention and enhance student learning.  Just like a  
> projection system and interactive whiteboard, it's a tool that  
> you'll miss, once you've mastered its use.
>
> As far as the original article is concerned, it's nothing new to  
> people in schools that some students find ways to get around school  
> Internet filters.  It's been my observation that most students who  
> do this are acting as "script kiddies," merely following step-by- 
> step procedures someone else has shown them, with only a vague  
> understanding how the procedure works.  They have strong incentives  
> for doing this, primarily the perceived enhancement in their social  
> status when they can get by the rules.  There's certainly nothing  
> new in that.  Teachers are too busy, too interested in maintaining  
> order, and generally too honest to be interested in learning how to  
> get around filters; not to mention the fact that they don't want to  
> put their jobs in jeopardy.
>
> The issue isn't really that filters do more harm than good, as this  
> genre of article always seems to imply.  Fact is, filters can do a  
> lot of good for most students, are expected by most communities,  
> required by some federal rules, and can help to divert some legal  
> liability.  Certainly, the constraints on student access often come  
> at an intellectual cost, but this is something a good filtering  
> policy can help the school address.  To address the problem of  
> teacher access, South Burlington has decided to remove most filters  
> from teacher Internet use.  We piloted this with YouTube last year  
> and the plan is to extend this to most Internet access this coming  
> year.  Obviously, this increases the need for teachers to be careful  
> about passwords and student access to their accounts, but this far  
> the pilot has worked well.
>
> Steve Barner
> South Burlington High School
>
> ________________________________
>
> From: School Information Technology Discussion on behalf of Drew  
> Blanchard
> Sent: Mon 7/13/2009 8:34 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: School Filters op ed
>
>
>
> Seems like common sense.
>
> Which is why the federal government will still require filters...
>
> I've used SMART's Synchroneyes with limited success.  Allows real-time
> thumbnail images of all computers in a workgroup, but it's a Windows
> only application.  Monitoring software is still easy for students to
> work around, and unless someone wants to babysit at the keyboard  
> instead
> of actually teaching, it's not very useful.  Good in theory, awkward  
> in
> execution.
>
> Drew
> -------------------------------
>
> Shannon Walters wrote:
>> Interesting article regarding school internet filters in this  
>> Washington Post oped.
>> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/10/AR2009071003459.html
>> What do you think?
>>
>> Best,
>>
>> Shannon
>>
>>
>> Shannon Walters
>> Library Media Specialist
>> C.P. Smith School
>> Burlington, Vermont  05408
>> [log in to unmask]
>> (802) 864-2228
>>
>>
>>
>
>
>
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