> Mrs. O'Neill's Blog: Why are they blocking blogs at school?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Why are they blocking blogs at school?

There seems to be a lot of talk right now about internet sites that are being blocked by schools. The fact is, I can't access my blog from school. Right now that isn't a hardship. But if I wanted to begin using it with my classes I'd be in trouble.

I'm interested to know what people think about the current situation in school. I find it really irritating when that great site I saw at home, and want to draw to the attention of my colleagues or pupils is blocked by an unintelligent filter.
For example, today the site of an author whose books are being studied by my S2 was forbidden to me. I've been on the site at home and found it educational and entirely suitable. The essay on muslim women wearing veils, which my S5 are just completing would have been a lot easier to discuss through various blocked sites, and the art work I wanted to show another class who are writing 'poetry provoked by images' was classed as forbidden.
I'm not against censorship, and I appreciate there are difficulties in fine tuning this stuff. But come on, can't we do better than this? Is it really impossible to have a better system of content filtration?


Tess Watson said...

This has been the case for Argyl land Bute recently. Why but Why? Is it blogs in general, or is it just blogger.com I ask?

Tess :)

Neil Winton said...

I have real problems with accessing sites like flickr and typepad in Perth & Kinross. It's very frustrating and demoralising when they powers that be decide to make changes without consultation and without explaining and being held accountable for their decisions!

BTW: I like your blog! Looking forward to reading more in future.

Sean Og Og said...

From a practical point of view (I have a little experience in this area) the problem stems from lack of communication between teachers and the technical staff. As a matter of fact its extremely simple to change these settings. (assuming the software used is adequate, which cosidering the percentage of the education budget that gets spent on it, it should be) Network Administrators just don't want to make the changes because they fear it will open the floodgates to thousands of similar requests. They also consider teachers to be the technological proletariat. The "computer stuff" is their domain, and they know best.

The problem is, that the smarter pupils quickly find out how to get around the restrictions (I won't post examples in case it gives anyone helpful hints!) and so the only people who are really restricted at the end of the day are the teachers. Obviously, computer resources are a teaching tool, not a standalone enterprise, so this is a problem.

sean said...

I would agree with Sean Og Og. I have worked for many many years in computing and have seen everything from small office systems to multi-national installations. There is always a problem between users and IT staff. User view IT people as restrictive and intransigent and IT staff view users as capricious and demanding. Frankly, I think that in the main users are right. The IT people are there to provide a service to front-line people not to dictate to them what they can and can't do. The only justifiable way they should be able to restrict things is for the protection of other users, not for their own convenience. In my experience the best way to get things changed is to view IT the same way we would view any company who gives us a service. I'm the client; they're the provider. So as with any other company you simply keep making requests until they change things. It's your right. The chances are that if enough people request changes often enough, eventually the policy gets changed. It may mean a little more work for IT, but, hey, that's what they're there for!

Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

Sean og og and sean,

I think you make some great comments here - especially the stuff about pupils getting through the block -I know from pupils that this is often the case.

Neil - I agree. Personally I think the lack of consultation is a slight to our professionalism as teachers.
Thanks for your kind comments -off to look at your blog now!