I’m wondering how many other teachers/students out there have the problem of their district blocking web sites at the first sign of student mis-use. Last year we were able to use some YouTube videos to complement our lessons. This year they blocked it. I helped a Special Ed. teacher find a site that allowed students to “create their own superhero,” which tied into a lesson she was doing in Language Arts. That site is blocked too. After attending the ICE conference in St. Charles, Illinois, in February I was introduced to Netvibes as a way of keeping track of blogs or podcasts that I might want to follow as a means of building a Personal Learning Community. This morning, I try to open my Netvibes page… I’ll give you three guesses. You’ll only need one.
I’m on the tech committee for our building and I’m a contributor to some of our district tech meetings, and we’ve even discussed the problem of blocking sites purely for the sake of keeping kids away. We came to the conclusion that instead of blocking everything, we should be educating the students on how to use the Internet appropriately. This is beginning to remind me of 2-3 weeks ago when China started blocking YouTube for the videos related to Tibet. There’s great information out there, but if we just block it instead of exploring it as an educational opportunity, we’re losing a great tool.
Perhaps my question should be this… are there districts that have come up with a good way of teaching their students appropriate uses of the technology? I’m finding that’s not happening here, as far as I can tell from my Language Arts classroom in this little corner of the building, and instead we’re opting for the quick fix.
This is a quick post, but I want to make sure to publish it before they start blocking my blog!