One of the most common questions I ask teachers and administrators attending my presentations and workshops now is:
Does your school district trust you as an educator on the Internet more than they trust kindergarten students?
For most educators I work with here in the southwestern United States, the answer is almost always “no.” The vast majority of public school districts in which I work and with which I am familiar provide a SINGLE LEVEL of content filtering for EVERYONE utilizing the network for Internet access. This is unfortunate, since teachers are PROFESSIONALS and deserve to be trusted much more than anyone does or should trust a five year old.
I know of only three Oklahoma public school districts (Tulsa, Enid, and Alva) which currently provide differentiated content filtering for teachers and students. I am planning to put together a whitepaper on this topic in the coming month, and (if possible) will share that document publicly. My perception at this point is that the schools have different network architectures and hardware/software configurations which make it possible to provide differentiated content filtering, but the basic idea can be summarized in the following Skitch diagram:
I hope to learn more about different configuration options available for differentiated content filtering at the educational technology conferences I’m attending later this spring. If school districts insist on blocking access to sites like YouTube, PBwiki, Wikispaces and Blogger, in my view they should NOT block that access for teachers. Differentiated content filtering is not the “endgame” when it comes to changes we need to see on IT networks in schools to help them better support instructional objectives and learning needs, but it certainly would be a step in the right direction for many of the schools I work in and around.
Is your school district providing differentiated content filtering yet? If so, do you know how they provide it? (What type of authentication scheme and content filtering system are they using?) If not, how are you going to get this conversation in front of policymakers?
If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, subscribe to Wes' free newsletter. Check out Wes' video tutorial library, "Playing with Media." Information about more ways to learn with Dr. Wesley Fryer are available on wesfryer.com/after.
On this day..
- Video Toolbox: A Good iPad App for Blurring Student Faces (when needed) - 2015
- Social Media Consulting Services - 2012
- Essential Media for Educators - 2012
- Surviving Dachau, Liberating Mauthausen - 2011
- Erewhon, Mt Sunday (Edoras) and the Rangitata Valley - 2009
- EETT Funding (Title IID) Updates - 2009
- Here come Star Trek communicators - 2007
- Self-promotional video is instructive on different levels - 2007
- Firewire over IP and Target Mode - 2004
- Eminem's lawsuit, intellectual property, and greed - 2004