Friday, April 3, 2009

Blocking Sites - GRRRRRR!

I thoroughly understand why we have firewalls (or whatever they are called) and why we block websites at school. I also understand why it is easier to put a generic block on specific content, but I feel like I'm surfing the net with a broken leg. There are so many cool web 2.0 things out there that I want to check out and try, but I have started running into a problem. Some of the sites I want to see or tools I want to try out are blocked. How in the world could ScribLink be inappropriate. It's an online whiteboard! Plus, I have never been told who to ask to get a website unblocked. We have all of this technology and can't use it because it is blocked. Why is it blocked? I don't see add along the side of the page. I know some stuff is blocked because it is considered social networking. Wait a minute! Arn't we social networking? Social networking isn't bad; it's what we are teaching students to help prepare them for the new workforce.

Attribution: Picture by Za3tOoOr!


  1. AMEN! How can we be effective when we can't even get to websites we need. We need to have passwords that allow teachers to cross the firewall and see what we want to see. We are grown adults as well as educators and we need to be able to look up stuff and sometimes even get other emails.

  2. Let me play Devil's advocate for just a minute, but keep in mind I'm on YOUR side. Unfortunately, we have teachers out there who WANT technology to do their job, which is policing the kids on the Internet. So, we have some who actually ask to have quite a few sites blocked instead of disciplining their students, which tends to really get under my skin.

    As for asking for sites to be unblocked, we (me and ITS ) are currently working on a new process to make that easier. I have grown more and more frustrated with sites that have educational value being blocked just because kids "might" find objectionable content on the site.

    My thoughts? If a kid finds something objectionable, they were most likely looking for it in the first place, and then it becomes a discipline issue. The technology filters shouldn't be our babysitters. Our students need to have it driven home, so to speak, that if they're misusing the Internet, there will be consequences.

    Oh, and if you have any suggestions for how we might make the process of unblocking sites easier, I'm open! We're looking at creating a Google form that would include rationale for WHY a site should be unblocked.

  3. Just a query:

    Why should we have to justify unblocking a site? Why shouldn't it be the other way around...justify blocking the site?

    A good example is I would love to use that with my students, but sometimes I get blocked at work (I've yet to find a reason why I get blocked sometimes and not others). I found one thing, maybe two, that was questionable (a picture of a gun). The kids could use everything else on the site, but should know better than to use that one. Plus, I had a kid Friday tell me the password for barracuda....and it worked. I tried it just to see if it was correct. And a kid used a term that I wasn't familiar with and I wanted to know if it was deserving of a write-up, another student said yes it was and I told them to prove it. They pulled out their I-Phone and proved it by going to (which is blocked by the way so I can't get to it on my computer). What's the point in blocking? They get around it anyway. We're the only one's who are blocked and don't know the secret word.