My many years in education, the last 25+ of which have been living in a computer lab or as a "tech person," have proven to me that no matter how much you try to educate teachers there are some who will  a) use passwords that are very easy for even kindergarten kids to figure out (i.e. the softball coach uses "softball," or the teacher uses his/her dog's name), b) not see any reason kids can't have the password, c) just give the password to students on the fly because they are busy, or d) type so slowly that a student standing behind them figures it out.  We also have many K - 4 teachers who, no matter how many times I've told them, still log on to their teacher account and let kids use the computer.  

I wish I had a good answer for how to get through to teachers, but it seems to be a losing battle.   Our tech people have to change passwords regularly for streaming video - which they have graciously set up with password access to be used by teachers for full classrooms in spite of our bandwidth issues.


Joanne Finnegan
Technology Integration Specialist
Chittenden East Supervisory Union
(voice) (802) 858-1728
(fax) (802) 899-1059
>>> Eric Hall <[log in to unmask]> 07/15/09 10:56 PM >>>
Chiming in a little late on this one...

We have often discussed that filters are sometimes as much about protection
from the accidental as from the intentional: the syndrome.
I will also echo Joanne's comment about bandwidth: at times we have been
slowed by streaming as well.

Our staff can "override", and I think we may soon go the direction of
different filtering policies for staff and students.  Before doing so I we
need to address issues of password confidentiality and the intent of the
policy (i.e. don't just override the filter for your students and walk away,
or let them sit at your computer with staff access). We have an override
password for staff which apparently was shared widely on the bus this spring
after a middle school student watched a teacher override. A 3rd grade
student told his teacher the password on the last day of school, which is
when and how we found out. Great.

All of that aside, we are having significant challenges with content coming
from anonymous servers - media in particular. Our filters use URL
categories, so you may be able to get to a certain site (or override), but
when content is drawn from other servers in the background it does not get
through. Some great web2 tools like Wordle are getting caught! Any
suggestions for dealing with this?


on 7/13/09 2:59 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.
>> 59.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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