Actually we are a small school, so we share resources with other schools around us and we are probably blocked there as well. I know it worked last school year, but not this year. Soon, our filter will have the internet so whittled down, that we will store a paper copy of the webpages approved by the filter.

Tags: filters, safety, secondary, socialnetworking

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Except the paper copy will have to be stored so that it can easily be seen by individuals looking into your class through a monitor. I really think that Orson Wells had it wrong. He should have titled his book, "2007."
And at my school (primary) which is SO annoying when you want the kids to join in with projects and show them stuff
This happened to me, too. I protested in a big way, and it turns out the "machine" is responsible; apparently it's something (as I picture it) that lives in a backroom somewhere in the school, hunting for internet connections that are either fun or offer the possibility of connection to a much wider world. Apparently "social networks" are big on the censorship list. So are games.
I was just about freaked out about losing the connection to CR2.0 (this was about 3 weeks after losing connection to Facebook) when a student in my fourth grade class (who knows how systems operate, both human and machine) said, "Just talk to Steve," (one of our preeminent techies) "he'll get it worked out." He explained that "protection software" is constantly checking and hunting for new things to block--"...they're trying to do the right thing, but they don't know."
To me that seemed like a naive perspective until I went home and talked to my son, who's in high school and pretty well up on things that are happening online. "Yeah, he's right. At school, we have to keep hunting to find the games that haven't been discovered and blocked at school. It's getting harder to find really good quality games. You always have to spend time hunting for something new. The good ones get blocked, probably because they're popular."
Well, this kind of leaves me speechless, in more ways than one. Does anything seem backwards about this?
Anyhow, Steve told me how to get around the blocking.
I wonder if that machine in the backroom has a cord I could pull. I'm all for protection, but I think our best way of going about it is in educating the children to be proactive about their own safety. And games? Well, the best games are the best for a reason. Yes, it's good for us to have talks about what's appropriate for school and how game-playing does or doesn't correspond to which sorts of human values. But these are very human decisions, best not left up to censorship software.
I guess I'm lucky. The "big" ones, My Space, Facebook, YouTube, are blocked in our large 30,000 kid district and will not be unblocked; all blogs, social networks are unceremoniously blocked. BUT, there is good news here anytime a site is blocked you have the option to contact the CIPA (Children's Internet Protection Act) representative and he/she will unblock the site for you. I've had hundreds of sites unblocked one at a time.

I started a ning at home, went to school and of course it was blocked. Reason for blocking? DATING!!! Oh geez.

I laugh everytime I I think of the CIPA guy, no one in the IT department will reveal who it is (afraid house will get TPed or sugar will be poured in gas tank?). I picture him like the Wizard of Oz..."Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain". Hopefully one of these days we'll be able to access the stuff we need. N.
So far ning is not blocked at my school. I just set up a network for all the secondary English teachers in my district, so I will be really upset if it does get blocked. It took a long, long time to send all those emails out letting everyone know about the network. My district is pretty good about NOT blocking things (unless it's myspace, facebook, or youtube). So far no google apps are blocked. I'd really freak out if they started blocking google stuff. No more blogger??? Egads!
Heaven forbid you try to be productive!
This is all good in well in theory, but you've got to realize that most tech's aren't just blocking for the fun of it. Its a requirement in order to receive erate funding from the federal government. they must comply with CIPA which requires "technology protection measures to block or filter Internet access to pictures or sites that: (a) are obscene, (b) are child pornography, or (c) are harmful to minors (for computers that are accessed by minors)". The easiest way to do that is to have a filter that blocks by categories. So most of these sites that are getting blocked as time goes on is because they've been categorized into a blocked category. For example, at our schools social networks are blocked because of instances we've had with myspace and facebook and cyberbullying/cyberstalking, this includes ning.com. However we've added classroom20.com and other useful nings to our exceptions so that teachers can use them.

Also, many schools are managing bandwidth issues, and flash games and streaming media are a both bandwidth hogs. If all teachers actively monitored what their students were doing online and made sure that all online activities were education based then this wouldn't be an issue. But i'm sure we've all run into teachers that use the comptuer as a baby sitter. I've made some suggestions at the end of this post on how you should go about requesting that sites be unblocked. Its easy to just say "oh the tech people are lazy and mean" but we've got to look at things from both sides and understand where each party is coming from.
It's blocked at some level at my school division also. I can tell because of the errors that pop up as the pages load or don't load...The security engineer and I are developing a love/hate relationship. I love to ask to have things unblocked, and he hates to see me coming. He's really good about stuff though. When it's not supposed to be blocked and there is an issue, he gets right on it. The software apparently evolves as it tries to adapt to new tags and the tags are sometimes embedded deep in the site. So one day I can get to my stuff when I'm at my desk, and another day - when I'm training a teacher in her classroom - the system just laughs at me...it is a bit frustrating, but the engineer is relatively reasonable and we have come to a meeting of the minds. Now I just use it as a teaching opportunity and remind teachers that we are now mandated to teach internet safety...
Yep . You guessed it - Ning is blocked at my institute! Just when a glimmer of hope appeared, the department's scanner picked it up. Luckily it's blocked just on the student network, so I just take my students into my tiny office two at a time to get them interested and signed up as members of the class Ning network, via the administration network. I've pleaded Educational Imperative, but have only met with blunt refusals.

So, we operate outside the system. I think that although it's inconvenient, it draws students together as a group because they realise that they and I are together 'fighting the system' . They appreciate too that as a teacher I'm willing to go the extra mile for them.
At our school, too, the address http://classroom20.ning.com/ is blocked, but http://www.classroom20.com/ is not.
Thanks, Jeremy--that's a key piece of information!
We have a filter that usually filters academic sites and it lets the bad sites through the first time but when you try to go back it blocks it. We are also a small school. It seems everytime I want to use a site I have to call the people that oparate our filter to get a specific site unblocked.

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