Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

What websites should be whitelisted on school content filters?

Many of our public schools in the United States today “overblock” the web and prevent both students and teachers from utilizing powerful, interactive tools which can assist in content creation, collaboration, and sharing as well as constructive, on-task digital learning. To promote more balanced filtering of Internet content in Oklahoma schools, Eric Hileman (the Director of Instructional Technology/Telecommunications at the Oklahoma State Department of Education) is soliciting input from educators everywhere via Google Forms to share websites EVERY school should permit on their network, and the reasons why. This Google Form is accessible from, and results are also viewable publicly. If is blocked in your location, this is the direct link to the Google Form.

School Filters - Whitelist Recommendations

Eric is going to continue sharing the results of this survey via Twitter, and I hope to amplify those results both here as well as on Please share this project and these links with others. This is a great project and the shared results could prove extremely useful for schools everywhere, not just in Oklahoma.

Cross-posted to

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4 responses to “What websites should be whitelisted on school content filters?”

  1. Dan Stucke Avatar

    Hi Wes,

    Don’t you find it a sad state of affairs that the discussion is still about whitelists in 2011? I’m in the (very) fortunate situation of having full control of our filter. We operate on the minimum possible filtering, we have the obvious porn/gambling/hate sections of our filter ticked. Beyond that I’ve still not caved into everything, Facebook is banned for example. But as for Youtube et al, all open and available. We still have work to do educating staff and students on sensible use. I still want to work harder to monitor and deal with unacceptable use (not dangerous use, just excessive off-task use).

    Keep fighting for a complete re-think of filtering in Oklahoma, and I wish you luck in turning the conversation around to black-lists instead of white-lists.

  2. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    Yes, it is unfortunate we’re in this place where we need to push for “balance” in content filtering, but I think it’s understandable given the overall struggle we see with school reform more generally. I’m glad to hear you’re in a more open school environment where responsibility and appropriate choices are emphasized as well as practiced. Hopefully that can become the norm here in our Oklahoma schools at some point in the not-too-distant future.

  3. Elona Hartjes Avatar

    It’s quite interesting to see how my students have developed strategies to get around all the blocked programs. They are constantly helping teachers get around the blocks the board have instituted. The unintended consequence of the school district’s blocking site is lots practice of students problem solving skills. My student are becoming amazing problem solvers.

  4. Alice Avatar

    From being a student not so long ago – I remember how frustrating it was to try to do work (and needing to use the internet to do so) then coming across a site that will be perfect, only to find – Oh great, its blocked, and seemingly, for the most pointless reasons.

    I agree, social networking sites, pornography, gambling, games etc all should be banned/ filtered. But when the filtering gets to a point that it wont actually let you get on with your work that you are in college in the first place for – that is annoying!

    Also @Elona – I still remember a few tricks we used to use to get onto facebook etc (I never said I was innocent!) but as soon as people were using them, normally it would be stopped.

    Interesting post, and a good quick read.

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