Saturday, February 21, 2009

So...What Happened?

backstory in a nutshell: we started the school year with more internet blocking than ever, thanks to a new non-school internet blocker that blocked everything by category, so we had no access to news, media, music, radio, etc.

we finally had a meeting at the end of week 3, with our headmaster and all the people concerned about the problems with access at school, which totaled about 12(on a side note, i have spent 2 days now helping a senior master get his laptop working at home!)

our headmaster is so good; he is serious about our needing to be part of the 21st century and not the end of the 19th. he asked everyone what we cannot get to that we need (HUGE list!), and what we thought we should do about our current lack of access (at least go back to last year's settings). he also asked if students could be hurt by unlimited internet access, which, of course, is yes. the internet, like everything else in life, needs to be taken with moderation and a grain of salt, and exposure to porn, whether wittingly or not, is abusive.

the net result is that we have our access back, mostly. there are selected sites blocked, such as trademe and facebook and bebo. while i would prefer total access (trademe's message board is a great way to reach a wide variety of people to fill in student surveys on surveymonkey; students' own facebook or bebo blogs would be convenient for blogging, as well as teaching them that their online profiles affect their lives in more ways than the obvious), i can live with it. we are also installing a programme (forget name) on teachers' computers so we can see what are students are working on; essential when you can't be everywhere at once.

my question at the end of the day is: if watchdog, the school internet blocking tool provided by the ministry of education, is doing *its* job, why is it our individual school's responsibility to do more than the ministry by using a second blocker that blocks everything else via tags/categories? and why does the it tech have say about what teachers teach? what do you think?

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