Time to Add a Social Element to our Filtration Systems?

Filters are a problem because they cannot, nor will they ever get everything. (See Content Filtration: A Little Dirt for Your Health) My biggest problem is that most teachers cannot request to have anything added (like access to educational Nings, wikispaces, or an educational blog on blogger – like mine) nor can they ask to have anything blocked.  Someone at some company decides what is accepted and allowed, when in fact, it should be a curricular decision at the local level and there should be systems in place for reporting inappropriate sites and to request that some be allowed for educational use.

In the article, Internet Filter blocks education sites but not porn, says:

One site a Year 10 student opened while searching for a type of bird contained graphic sexual material and was only barred on Monday after inquiries from The Daily Telegraph.

George Cochrane said his school-aged son and daughter, who study by distance education from their farm in Grenfell, were horrified by the sites they could access.

Other educational sites and harmless web pages for the local member of parliament – and even Education Minister Verity Firth's own site – have been blocked by the filter.

I am specifically thinking back on an incident we had in a past project where the Australian teacher had to take personal time to go to the public library to get on the Google Doc to add her students to the project matrix because there was no way to ask for things to be unblocked.

Looking at the new digg bar that they use, I have to wonder why filters can start deploying some sort of social filtration – if a site is blocked, people should be able to request that it be unblocked or submit it for review.  If it should be blocked, then people should be able to report it.  Right now, the reporting structures for firewalls are very much behind the scenes and only accessible to IT staff, why aren't we using Social Filtration for goodness sakes or at least considering to have a social component for reporting?

What we're missing in filtration is the human element and not just the human element of IT directors but that of curriculum directors and teachers — and yes, even students.  With good filters in place that have a social component, perhaps we could begin allowing educational resources from youtube and other resources to come through.

We block the world just doesn't cut it any more.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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1 comment

Trysta September 24, 2009 - 1:42 am

I think that you make a good point about inserting the social element within the concept of firewalls. However, where do you draw the line? Who all is allowed to determine what is blocked and what isn’t then? Just the educators, or the educators and some students? Just random questions…

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere