edublogs being blocked!!!

In General on 23/11/2005 at 3:18 pm

Well, you know you’re doing something right if people start trying to stop you (I know this is an odd logic but it seems to be true in a bizarre way) I quote from two emails received when I sent out the first edublogs.org newsletter:

“I used your blog for a few weeks during Sept, Oct, however, the A-site of our school district has now blocked your blogs. Students can no longer use these for asynchronous discussions. Thank you for providing this service to educators. We appreciate everything you do for students everywhere.”

“Thanks for all you do!! Currently, I’m having some trouble accessing my edublog due to the censorship I have to put up with in my school district. I’ve literally been blocked from using it at the district level. I’ve written our district webmaster and asked for an explanation for this. Do you have any suggestions for me as to how to “get around” this problem?? I put a lot of work into my blog and want to use it with my students and parents.”

WTF???????

How to deal with this??? Any ideas???

Update: Looks like this is happening all over the place.

As far as I can see though, no-one is doing anything about it (apart from on an individual basis)… and you know what they say about collective vs. individual action!!!

So howabout it, I want to be part of something that stands against this ridiculous censorship in schools, that states clearly and unequivocally that he most important thing is to teach people to swim and that can clearly and unequivocally say to these educational establishments that what they are doing is WRONG and STUPID.

Are you with me?

  1. Count me in too.

    Claude

  2. Judy,
    U know, I’m not 100% convinced about a totally filterless Internet in schools. If classrooms and bolted to the floor computer labs are going to be around for much longer, then I think that perhaps filters are needed – but I have ideas on how it could be done better. The reason I think it is still necessary is because ever since this issue entered my radar, I have noticed many reasons why its needed. In teaching with computers (in old style classroom setting sadly) my classes can get quite off track and disrupted by one person looking up what ever. Now I’m not a control freak, and enjoy some of the side tracks, but when other students start getting annoyed and think I should be doing something, I start to feel preasure. On a couple of occasions I have been glad that the filter stopped a few sites, or there would have been some issues quite hard to handle.

    But, if classrooms, shared computers, and computer lab environments are to continue… and filters deemed necessary, then I think every class should have at least one person (starting with the teacher) who can unblock (and block if necessary) particular sites. If a teacher had those rights, then the filter could be trained quickly and easily, making it far more intellegent and effective in those situations where for example, minors need to be shielded from some things…

    But I could be swayed quite easily. I do in fact prefer the no filter stance, and would campaign that line with the above as a compromise.

    What do you think?

  3. I don’t agree with going for the no filter stand. Theoretically it’s a nice aim, in practice it won’t wash with the people who are actually legally responsible – school administrators, or with many parents. I really like the approach Stephen Downes is taking on this – peer networks/recommendations as a way of building safe environments in which children can have the freedom to explore.

    I think the galvanising message here should be education rather than protectionism/censorship. This is not the same as saying let your 8 year old – who’s ability to give informed consent is not recognised by law, and who is not accorded the legal rights and privileges that go along with legal obligations and responsibilities – have potential access to everything: instead it’s a clear argument in favour of societies obligation to equip the child with the tools to approach and understand the world (here, specifically the online world), rather than simply withdrawing access.

    So for me it comes down to a child-centred obligation on the school and educational systems to equip children for the realities and languages of modern life.

  4. Leigh and Josie,
    My view is that the no filter position simplifies and clarifies.
    One simplification is that the issue is moving beyond school control anyway because students will very soon have their own personal mobile Internet access devices. As that happens, from the school side blocking becomes a matter of forbidding students to use their devices at school. Already, many kids, whose parents can afford it, have laptops that they keep in their backpacks when they use a shared school wired computer. As cell phones become more Internet friendly and laptops cheaper, this will happen with more students in more places.
    When the devices are brought to school by children, the blocking decision could/should have been made by the parent who supplies the device. It seems to me this is the way young children can be protected. A parent can insist that a child have a blocked device, which the teacher accepts and work around if necessary.
    These are transistion times, in which simpified goals (like no blocking) will speed the change to something better. I understand the spectre of law suits and know answers have to be found there. Maybe kids will forever be blocked from the full Internet so long as they are using public education. At the least the world should know what the spectre is causing: blocked learning.
    Yes, the bottom line IS education and learning. For me the trade-off in restricting the new generation in using the information medium of their time and from seeing and connecting openly with knowledge and each other is for them ineptitude and ignorance, not education. But now I’m ranting . . . apologies.
    One more thought on how schools handle the Internet as the medium emerges: it is from this column in today’s Washington Post:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/29/AR2005112901096.html
    The guy is saying corporate tech departments will cease, replaced by outsourcing. One-focus person that I am these days, I thought, “well now, maybe that will happen for schools too.” The Internet will, on its own, integrate into teaching and learning and educators can turn from manipulating the medium to the cognitive challenges and adventures of leading learners to knowledge.

  5. […] edublogs being blocked!!! […]

  6. Hiya guys,

    Got caught up with some stuff the last two days… thanks for the great contributions, will put up a site for discussion asap.

    James

  7. Great comments, Judy! More and more kids ARE going to be coming to school with internet-ready devices (I just discovered that my son’s PSP has WiFi!), and as I see it, there are only two workable options: a metal detector at the school entrance, or education on digital ettiquette. These kids who are trying to get on the school network with their PSP’s are going to be grown-up users some day, and I truly believe that ditigal literacy needs to be included with online literacy. Yesterday I was at a local gift shop and there must have been 4 or 5 different kinds of cell phone cases in the Hello Kitty display. Are 5-10 year olds carrying cell phones now? What about the new Firefly? What does a young person learn from being told their cell phone/pda/ipod has to say in their locker?

  8. I have only just caught up with this conversation but it makes scary reading. Especially Linda’s post about a UK education authority’s stance.

    I now work in adult and community learning but originally trained as a primary school teacher and my view is the quicker digital/online literacies become part of the curriculum the better.

    Look forward to following progress on the new site and helping in whatever way I can – will start by checking my own LEA’s position on this in primary and secondary.

    I’m hoping they will be taking a more enlightened line as they held a major conference earlier in the year for school heads/governors at which Alan November gave the keynote which included examples of the use of blogs in schools!

    Belatedly – thanks James for edublogs!

  9. The Trials of Podcasting and the read/write web

    Good and Evil in the Blogosphere, So my faith isn’t entirely shaken, but it is kind of like the 6 month old car – still feels new but there are some odd rattles that are beginning to be annoying. You don’t want to throw it away and get a new one but …

  10. […] And it isn’t just obviously recreational sites that are being blocked on school networks. Although educators, learners and researchers have been using blogs constructively for over five years now, educational weblogs – edublogs – are currently being blocked at district level by school authorities. In effect, this means that despite the recognition by multiple governments of the value of e-learning (to individuals and economies), and despite an emerging body of research and numerous examples of great educational practice, weblogs – which provide a simple way for educators and students to create and participate in collaborative, conversational and distributed learning communities – are being excluded from the day-to-day business of education. […]

  11. […] edublogs being blocked!!! […]

  12. […] This week is down in my research plan for taking the first action phase of my research. I was worried that I was just ‘messing about’ with making a blog for the Classroom Displays group. Well, actually two blogs one on James Falmer’s Edublogs site Edublogs and one on Blogger. I wanted to see how they compare for ease of posting, style, ease of linking etc. Originally I thought I’d have to find a blog that would make it through the LEA Smartfilter (that’s a whole other conversation!). However as the blog is aimed mostly at teachers and support staff I decided this wasn’t such a big issue. This is partly because we now have a computer in the staffroom that isn’t filtered so no blocked sites. Anyway, when I checked my plan for this week I realised I am doing exactly what I’d intended. I am taking my first actions in my research, adding a blog to the Classroom Displays Group. […]

  13. i need an access web address to myspac.com my school blocked it thanks

  14. hey man our school has blocked myspace so i want to get on so please help me thanx