Monday, February 9, 2009

Network Blocking ARGH!

so, i've been so darn angry the last two weeks that i haven't bothered to write about it, hoping the situation would resolve itself. well, it's not going to resolve itself, and i just have to vent before making an appointment to speak with the headmaster.

last year i attended Ulearn08 with our headmaster and some other folks from my school. the net result was that this year we were going to have open internet access, among other cool stuff. well...

i came to school after our (too short) summer holiday and plugged in the network, used google chrome for various things, then went home. when i plugged my computer into my own modem, i couldn't load chrome, as "your network administrator has blocked your access to proxies. see him" (that's a paraphrase) came up. thinking it must be the browser i used, i tried internet explorer, only to find that the connections tab was missing altogether! i rang our NA at home, and he, wisely, neither answered nor returned my call. i was absolutely livid.

the next day i went straight to him, and was told that it was "possible" for a student with a laptop to access our proxy and use up our internet time. he added, "the ministry provides laptops for work, at work". he then tempered that with the info that he had only changed the proxy access on IE, and that chrome "must be borrowing the settings from IE, tell it to change them properly; then, d/l firefox, which should work fine for you at home".

so, downloaded firefox, which does work fine at home, BUT...

EVERYTHING is blocked! first, we couldn't access any video sites, then radio sites, now sites on metaphors, and today i couldn't even open my payslip in google docs! it's gotten so ridiculous i would be speechless if i just weren't so angry!

>>Site blocked. is not allowed on this network.
>>This site was categorized as:
>>Questions? Not properly categorized?

look, i get that school doesn't want staff hanging around on tradme, but come on! half of the english curriculum in nz is media studies! without access to media, how am i to teach my classes? and not using my laptop at home? where do they think i actually do MY work, after teaching all day?

and the idea that a student will use up all our allowance? c'mon! i've only ever seen 1 student here with a laptop, and he was a top boy! seriously, what is the percentage?

oh, and then to add insult to injury, on thursday all staff received an article in our inboxes, from the _principals' digests_, entitled "using the potential of facebook, youtube, and myspace" (none of which we can access, of course)! it carried the reports of a study, which i'm sure you've seen by now, with a vision of student today, and recommended: consideration of social networking sites for staff as well as classrooms, harnessing the educational value of chat rooms, instant messaging, blogs, and wikis, "ensur[ing] equitable access", and so on. was that supposed to be a joke? were they kidding? are they laughing in their offices about how frustrated we are?

the new nz curriculum calls for teaching students how to live in their future, utilising technology students use in their everyday lives. how can we do that if we, the teachers, do not have access? while i had planned a variety of exciting units for this year, at all different levels, i am seriously thinking of bagging all of them and simply using "chalk and talk". running into gigantic problems every time i want to do something new and relevant is becoming too big an obstacle. i am very close to giving up.

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