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7 Responses to Whitelisting websites – what a pain!

  1. vejraska says:

    I didn’t know you taught digital storytelling…add another to the list of your workshops I would like to attend! I did a digital story with Bernajean a few years back and I still use it at my parent orientation nights. It was a great experience. Do you have any suggestions for kid friendly PC software for digital stories?

  2. Mark Ahlness says:

    Ouch! If you have not already done so, I’d ask those in charge of the filter to test all
    your sites on a “student” machine and then get back to you. That’s their job, not yours…
    Good luck with your workshops! They sound wonderful! – Mark

  3. Gary Stager says:


    With all due respect to Mark, an Internet-free Internet worshop does not sound wonderful. I’ve done my share of workshops where the net didn’t work, based on some bureaucratic stupidity, but I would never do a workshop where I knew things would not work before I began.

    What if you just don’t do the workshop?

    What percentage of those “whitelisted” sites are merely links to other sites users won’t be able to get to. Why is there a workshop on web sites anyway?

    Walking away from such a job seems like the appropriate response. It’s the most professional thing to do.


  4. Wesley Fryer says:

    Amy: Tech4Learning has the best digital storytelling software for young people that I’ve seen (notice Gary, it’s not freeware or open source!) I’d recommend either MediaBlender or Frames. Their older product VideoBlender evolved into the “Frames” program.

    Mark and Gary: I’ve submitted the list of sites to the tech department where I’m presenting so they can “whitelist” them on the content filter that will be filtering our Internet access during the workshop. I’ve found this is required now in many districts which are filtering so many websites which permit user-created content. For instance, many (if not most) public school districts in Oklahoma blog all wikispaces sites, all pbwiki sites, all blogs, etc. “User created content” seems to be a synonym for “evil website” in most IT departments. I may write another blog post to explain what I mean by “whitelisting” – Yes, many of those sites are likely blocked for students and possibly teachers as well. Teachers will have the option to access the sites from home / away from school and use them, and/or request that certain sites be unblocked at school.

  5. Jim Lerman says:

    To be a bit curmudgeonly, I must confess that I find the term “whitelisting” to be offensive…it’s just as bad as “blacklisting”…white=good, black=bad. I know you meant no harm, just wish to point out my feelings and know they are shared by others.

  6. vejraska says:

    Thanks for the digital story info- I had tried videoblender a few years back, may look for frames and see if they worked the quirks out of it. The real root of the problem is I am spoiled by imovie;)

    As for the whitelisting, I have had to do that as well in other districts where I present, or risk looking like an idiot when none of my links work in my presentation. The problem is that with most filters there is no guessing what they will and won’t let through. I rarely update my website from home anymore b/c I don’t want to deal with the fact that half the stuff doesn’t work when I get to school. I think it is a complete and utter waste of time for professionals to have to ask permission to use sites, but I have long since realized that you get more flies with honey, and now I can call my tech person and have a site unblocked for me…no questions asked….within minutes. Still a huge pain, but who wins in the end….my students do!

  7. Wesley Fryer says:

    Jim, I’m glad you chimed in with that point, the terms “whitelist” and “blacklist” can certainly be interpreted as pejoritive. I wonder what a better term would be? I’m using the term because that is what IT departments are using that I’m working with, when they create a list of “approved sites” which should be permitted by the school district’s Internet website content filter. If there is a better term to use for this process I’m certainly willing to use it, I just don’t know what that term is our would be.

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