October 7, 2008

School Blockage

Doug Johnson, as always, has a thought-provoking post up about the use of Facebook and other social networking sites and their use in schools.  His main point: don't go blocking sites without probable cause.  Give everything the same due process you would any other form of information.

It caught my eye because in my Information Technology class this week, we are to pick a "Web 2.0" tool and put together a slide show on it telling how this would be useful for educators and students.  My assignment is Ning which I can't link to here because I'm at school and it's blocked by our filter.  All social netwroks are.  So I can't get on the TeacherLibrarian Ning and see what others have to say about this issue (actually I can, but, well, never mind).

Our district has recently blocked Wikipedia for crying out loud.  Ridiculous, I know.  The Effing Librarian has a great post on that.

From others in my class I hear all personal email sites are blocked.  That would do me in.  One of the things they're always bugging us about is that "the server is running slow, please delete old emails with attachments."  I never have emails with attachments.  Anything at all that I want to keep like that, I forward to my gmail account.  It all goes straight into a big bucket of a folder labelled "school" and if I need to find it, it's all searchable.  Imagine how happy our tech folks would be if everyone did that.  Imagine how sad it would be to block gmail.

This is all reminding me of a great book I read a few years back called Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do.  The author is against any law that could be considered victimless like drugs, prostitution, book banning, etc.  I don't always go as far as he does (making stupid people wear motorcycle helmets saves us all money, not just the lives of stupid people), but the ideas are worth considering--especially in this new context of digital media.  The "online predator" boogyman has been debunked.  Personal information needs to be kept safe, but guess what?  We can teach that along with being a responsible digital citizen and how it would be a bad idea to post that video of you barfing at the kegger because someday a future employer will be googling your name.


shannon said...

wikipedia blocked? geez... in my district, facebook and myspace are blocked, plus other sites that someone has deemed inappropriate (on who knows what grounds). yea - gmail would just be too much. i wish our school e-mail were more like gmail in fact.

your post reminded me of a funny exchange boortz had with a caller a few years back. this lady called in and was irate with boortz' view on the legalization of drugs. she was saying some nonsense about how legalizing drugs would result in widespread chaos. he got her good. he asked her if one should be able to come home, after a long day at work, put on a blindfold and sit in the easy chair. she cautiously admitted that was reasonable. then he asked her if that same person should be allowed to drive while blindfolded. his point was that people should be able to do whatever the F they want in the privacy of their home as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, which is the backbone of libertarianism i think, right?

in other news, i appreciate all the comments - probably my favorite part of blogging ... or close at least. and yea, the star is not for converse. it's on my leg as well. i call myself a socialist, but i'm also interested in things libertarian and anarchist as well. i guess i need multiple tags.

Kathy said...

You forgot to mention that YouTube (which has some great videos that can be used in the classroom) as well as TeacherTube and most other video sites are blocked in our county. Yesterday I actually did a google search using the word Games in the search and it came up that the search was BLOCKED because of the word GAMES - HUH??

I am not a big Wikipedia fan, especially with kids (so many other resources that they can use), BUT that is no reason why it should be blocked! WIKI's in general I think are great sharing/learning tools.

It is fustrating!

Teacherninja said...

Great analogy, shannon. And yeah, kathy, I'm surprised when I CAN see a video at work. I'm often caught watching TED talks on my lunch break. And I know there are better resources than wikipedia for student study, but for immediacy and quick reference, it can't be beat and should at least be available to teachers.

doug0077 said...

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the call-out and post to my blog on this.

Like I said there, I think it will need to be librarians leading this fight against Intellectual Freedom. And that is exactly what it is.