Replace distrust and disability with accountability and ability!

I am often perplexed how teachers begin using a resource and suddenly find it blocked.

In the discussion forum, I asked people in the Stop Cyberbullying Network to share what they did to commemorate stop cyberbullying day.

Here was part of what Jeff Mason had to say:

“#1. We had access in the morning classes to the Cyber Bullying Project video shared by Durff. By mid-day it had been blocked and I could not devise a work-around. We still had discussion . Then, in defiance of bullies everywhere, we worked collaboratively on our first class wiki project. It is primitive, but it is a work in progress. The page is titled DNA and can be found at http://btbiology3rd.pbwiki.com.”

By mid day it had been blocked!

This is the same thing that Jeanne Simpson saw with her wiki work with Chris Harbeck. She had to move to three different wiki sites until she found one that somehow the “filter gods” would allow through. (Listen to her talk about it on the WOW2 show.)

Here we have two classroom teachers with legitimate uses of tools, and they are forced to stop their lesson plans and take another approach! How can teachers plan when the unknown “filter gods” shoot their thunderbolt into everything they are doing!

(Is the filter god looking at what is being done or just seeing traffic and thinking “tsk tsk, those irresponsible teachers are at it again!?”)

So, what should School 2.0 include?

It should include accountability and ability!

Ability to unblock things and accountability for what is done in the classroom.

Right now I see a lot of distrust and disability.

George Siemens is on WOW2 tomorrow!
And although I am on vacation, my WOW2 buddies will have George Siemens on tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 9 pm EST. Go over to edtechtalk — it will be great!

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4 thoughts on “Replace distrust and disability with accountability and ability!

  1. Ironically, I was blocked from accessing this post several times and finally found a way around. I agree that we need to have trust in the discretion of teachers. This goes along with “teacher proofing” everything nowadays. I thought that teaching was a “profession”. If that is true, we need to be able to make some decisions.

  2. We use an open source program instead of the one that the regional powers that be provide. Our tech director is the administrator of it and I will try to find out more about it. It has a list of domains to block and you can add to that or you can block or unblock specific URLs. It also works on a weighted phrase system. Certain words are assigned points and if the URL “phrase” has to high a points number then it blocks it. You can also block it on the basis of key words. This puts the control and the responsibility back on us but it is certainly better to have a human being who can make decisions instead of some program that doesn’t reason. A good example of the problem is my own son who attends school in another district and yet the same region, is on the debate team. The students have to do most of their research at home because even the cross-X site which is the forum for debaters and coaches is BLOCKED at their school and no amount of pleading and explaining can get it unblocked! We have to be willing to take the responsibility for protecting our students under the law without denying them and our teachers the tools they need.

  3. I despair when I hear accounts like this. I have long thought that there are two distinct factors coming into play here. On the one hand there is the implied lack of trust in the professionalism of teachers, and on the other is the lack of control over the filtering process itself.

    It is very hard to explain to pupils why we as teachers are unable to access particular sites, especially as the blocking undermines our expected ‘authority’ status. what is even more galling is that those who do the blocking are often called ‘support’ staff, and yet they appear to have a very basic grasp of what the word support means…

    Maybe, one day, teachers will hold the control over what they can access, but I’m not going to hold my breathe!

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