Filtering ~ (Hopefully this isn’t blocked)

| July 7, 2014 | 4 Comments 

Filtering 4“To filter, or not to filter. That is THE big question”.

Our local authorities are the ones who need to be provoked into thinking. There is so much inconsistency in policies and practice.

The aspect of training children, and students, effectively is intensely important. We filter so heavily, in some places, that they are given such a false sense of security; it is no wonder they stumble across undesirable content, when they go home, and are searching in an unprotected environment.

The internet is a vast resource; a wonderful wilderness of opportunities. There are some dark, unsavoury corners that we need protect our children from, through careful advice as much as monitoring. The web is exactly that, and there are some less than lovely spiders within it.

Filtering 3YouTube is blocked in a large number of educational contexts. However, it is a HUGE resource, and the biggest Aladdin’s Cave of valuable learning material ~ How to-s, thought provoking films, an archive of rich value.

One of the biggest reasons (offered) for blocking YouTube, is the comments that are logged in reaction to a lot of films. These can sometimes be written by people with a limited grasp of acceptable English or a desire to shock.

There are some (somewhat expensive) ways to filter out the comments. There are, however, some “freebies” such as ComentSnob, Quiet Tube, Cleanr, and NicerTube.

Filtering 5This is a wonderful time to be alive. The internet offers very powerful tools for research, collaboration and interaction. If we, as teachers, come across sites that are truly innocuous, and harmless, but enhance good teaching, we shouldn’t sit there and complain without taking action.

There are the possibilities of unblocking such sites, on an authority level perhaps. We have a professional right, and, in fact, duty to contact the people who administer our networks, and alert them to the fact that something useful is being restricted by the , understandable, blanket filters.

Filtering 6There has to be some consistency, and adaptability, but that depends on us being proactive. Open, as much as possible, but in a thought through fashion.

In our travels around the country, we are always amazed by how varied access is. We’re also startled by what people are denied access to, and why: In a lot of authorities, though not all, Noughts and Crosses is blocked! Why? Because it is “A Game”. Badness incarnate, surely!

Even the BBC site CBBC games is blocked in some authorities.

Filtering 2When we try to upload content to the blog, our ftp site is, sometimes, though again not always, blocked. This seems illogical. We need a password and detailed technical knowledge to enter it. We are uploading content not downloading some kind of strange unknown elements that might digitally corrupt a school computer network.

The ThinkUKnow sites offer some really valuable activities and resources when exploring internet safety. Visit the 5-7 site, 8-10 website , parent pages, and resources for teachers. Look back through this blog for others.

Filtering 7There are many remarkable, and powerful, resources out there.

We need to think. We need to act. Filtering can feel like action.
Is it making us complacent in terms of our responsibilities to children?

Category: 2) Useful n Interesting

Comments (4)

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  1. Tim Brook says:

    I’ve coined the spelling fffffiltering to describe the unbelievably irritating practice of blocking everything that moves…
    Worst on the list of crimes was the blocking of Google Sites – just after spending several months using Sites to build a learning platform.
    You’re absolutely right to highlight the difficulty of teaching responsible web use when you assume it will be used irresponsibly.
    Biggest irony? Finding most of the sites on http://search.creativecommons.org/ were blocked when trying to teach students about intellectual property…

  2. Tim says:

    Thanks for this Tim
    The blocking of Google Sites must have been a total frustration
    I am sorry for the delay in replying ~ irony of ironies: your comment was blocked by our spam filters
    Found it though
    Thank you and good luck with the ways through and around…
    Tim

  3. Andrew Walls (@TheEdTechSchool) says:

    It would be great to catalogue the different practices, regionally, and attempt to get each authority to justify its decision. Also, to survey the profession on policies in schools.

    I don’t think anyone has a national picture\feel of this problem, but it’s something that is creating an equity divide across the nation with Web 2.0 literacy.

    Without hundreds of FOI requests and Google Forms it will be hard to take up this fight. But if we could get a group together to research and raise awareness I think it would do a lot for digital literacy in the UK.

  4. Tim says:

    Thanks Andrew
    Yes. There is a definite division in terms of access and it isn’t standard from region to region
    Blocking can feel like we are DOING SOMETHING when in fact it has to go a lot deeper than that

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