Reality Slap

Sitting in a meeting at a north Texas school district today, and this is a list of some of the sites with blocked access that Istop.jpg encountered in a quick check:

  • Bloglines
  • Gmail
  • Twitter
  • Ning
  • Blogger
  • Wikispaces
  • PBWiki
  • WetPaint
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Photobucket
  • Picnik
  • Scrapblog
  • Jott
  • Fleck
  • Trailfire
  • Skype
  • Flock
  • Slideshare
  • Polldaddy
  • Zamzar
  • Google Documents

Some categories that the offending sites fall into include messaging, personal pages, entertainment/recreation/hobbies, instant messaging, web phone, dating/social (for Flock?), shareware/freeware, and, my personal favorite, computing/internet.

While district filters are a fact of life, this one is providing me with a needed reminder of what a lot of teachers (One or two of which may actually read this!) face when they try to implement Web 2.0 into their curriculum. They sit on their home computers, find exciting new resources, and create fantastic, engaging, and relevant lesson plans that utilize the tools, only to find the site blocked by their districts. I’m not trying to be critical of the district (The discussion about the disservice done to students and teachers who have such tools blocked will be saved for another day, another forum.) , because such policies certainly help eliminate many risks to students and networks, but when those of us who are fortunate enough to work in much more open environments share outside of our home turfs, we need to keep in mind that the audience may still be dealing with districts that apply a more tightly-protective philosophy. Offering several alternative sites during sessions is definitely a good idea.

By the way, they blocked Jack Handy’s Deep Thought of the Day on my iGoogle page–that is simply going too far!

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3 Comments

  1. OUCH! That’s a pretty hefty list. I don’t think I could work in that environment, haha! My wife is a teacher (www.seemeafterschool.com) and I always want to share web2.0 tools with her, but it seems like they’re always blocked at her school too.

  2. Brad,

    As a sidenote, another district’s technology director told me her district blocks all wikis as a policy. It is unfortunate that some policy decisions are seemingly based upon fear and a lack of information–the kids are the ones who are missing out on some great learning opportunities.

  3. Looks like the same list that we have blocked at my school. Being a technology teacher has its disadvantages when it comes to internet filters. I also wanted to comment that I attended your web 2.0 session at TCEA this year and walked away with a lot of great ideas…however flickrstorm didn’t work out as well as I hoped. I set up one and our filter brought up the page…minus the pictures. Total bummer for myself and the Journalism teacher.

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