Monday, March 23, 2009

To filter or not to filter

My thoughts have been traveling lately to the issue of filtering in our schools. Before I go any further, let me say that I believe that filtering is a good thing. But how much is the question. I believe that all pornography sites should be filtered across all schools and would actually like to see the government step in and make them have a completely different top domains. So they could have a different set of last letters after the (.) instead of the common .com, .org, or .net.

Other than that, I am beginning to question what else needs to be. Some parts of me say that online shopping needs to be blocked. While I agree, there are some applicable classroom uses for this type of category to be left open. Such as a life skills class to "shop" for different items to see their cost. Others still say games should be blocked. But more and more games are being put up that are educational, and I believe that trend will continue. Plus what do kids do when they have nothing else to do at school? We are making them board by blocking everything. So they in turn try and find loopholes in our network. And some of them are very successful at it. Once one finds a way, the word spreads like wildfire and then the tech department finally gets wind of it. They get that hole filled and guess what, the kids find another one.

Instead of blocking, blocking, blocking, we need to be teaching these kids how to use things correctly and show them trust. Once they break that trust give them the appropriate punishment and move on. Don't punish the whole bushel because of one bad apple.

Anyway, there is plenty of debate on this issue and I will never disagree with a technology coordinator on what to block because that is up the individual district, I would like to see some more open policies and how they are getting along.

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