Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Internet filtering system broken

John Travers has put his two bobs worth out there regarding internet filtering in response to some of the discussion that happened at the Jimmy Wales seminar in Adelaide. Sure administrators can upblock a site ATM, and they do, but the current filtering model starts from a negative position and that is not good. It is a deficit model that is not built around trust.

I want a better filtering system for schools that

  • respects the different needs of children as they grow and develop
  • promotes values of respect and trust
  • facilitates unencumbered learning
  • is respectful of the work of teachers

So what if we had a filtering system that

  • a teacher could turn on and off for a student for periods of time (ATM it is only administrators that can do this)
  • had various levels of filtering from very strong to none
  • where students could be assigned a level for filtered access that was consistent with their percieved trustworthiness and maturity
  • where this level was reviewed on an annual basis involving teachers, parents and students
  • displayed all access logs for all members of the school community to all members of that community
  • where community action was taken where people breached our expectations for appropriate conduct

I am not totally happy with this as a model but I have to start somewhere and it certainly better than the one size fits all model that we have. I also expect that the needs for filtering models will change with time just as the need for a person to walk in front of the early motor cars with a red flag disappeared with time.

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  • At 5:22 pm, Anonymous Graham Wegner said…

    In a comment to Chris Harbeck who I think is facilitating some great knowledge sharing stuff with his Maths students, I asked how he got the kids to have so much unfettered opportunity. He said, "We have two filters at school. The traditional filter will let you get to ..... not many places but there is a "teacher" filter that gives you access to bubbleshare, youtube ets. During class time I use this filter to let the kids do their projects."
    There has to be a better system here that doesn't rely on the techno-savviness (or lack thereof) of the principal who is the ultimate decision maker on who has admin priveleges.

  • At 4:34 pm, Blogger googlenews said…

    We are a UK company who has produced a Internet Content Filtering Solution specifically for Education called Inteliguard (www.inteliguard.net). From a technology point of view Inteliguard will allow schools to operate in the way described in this item but of course its all about how the school decides to use of software.

  • At 9:46 pm, Blogger John said…

    How effective is log supervision to promote 'accountability rather than gatekeeping'? Does it take an unreasonable amount of time for the administrator?

  • At 8:02 am, Blogger Wara said…

    How effective is log supervision to promote 'accountability rather than gatekeeping'?
    I don't know as I haven't had the opportunity to try it. With the assistance of technology I think that it could be quite streamlined. Mike Seyfang also put up the idea at the CEGSA AGM of the class holding each other accountable by publicly displaying all class member logs. This may not work with all classes but it could be an option for some classes. Maybe we need to have a variety of options that we can deploy as we see best suits our students?

    Does it take an unreasonable amount of time for the administrator?
    Why does it need to be an administrator that may not know the students? Why can't the logs be displayed for the teacher of the class who is intimitately aware of what students are doing?

  • At 1:26 pm, Blogger Bill Kerr said…

    I think there must be underlying political / edu-bureaucratic reasons why we have an inflexible top down system rather than the flexible system which you envisage

    ie. the need to play safe and appear squeaky clean trumps other considerations in our current climate, where public opinion I believe (worth investigating) is in favour of rigorous filtering, fueled by the media of course. Fear sells media.

    Hence, your ideas are sound and logical but are likely to fall on deaf ears. Reasoned incremental progression into the future? I don't think it will work that way.

    Disruptive technology (psiphon ) is the wildcard, which will turn out to be equivalent to giving up on the red flag in front of cars

    Change does not come gently but the youth will grab it with both hands and the old farts will just have to adapt or go the way of dinosaurs in the tarpit


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