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Stephanie Sandifer


I can certainly feel your pain in this post. I agree with you -- using these "safe" versions of the tools as a work-around to avoid the filters really just creates a watered-down version of the tool that strips it of its essence as a connective and collaborative tool. They might as well be using MS Word -- as you stated above.



I loathe filters also. It saddens me to think of all of the educators I have met who have given up on an innovative project and returned to drill-and-kill textbook instruction just because they couldn't get around a filter or figure out who to ask to get them around the filter. I always advocate for what seems obvious to me, but apparently completely ground breaking to the tech folks - filter access for students, but give teachers the ability to bypass filters when necessary with a username and password. Its very logical to me, but quite often I find myself "off on an island" with this simple suggestion.


My district doesn't block all blogs, wikis, etc., but the only ones we are supposed to use with the students are the ones in blackboard. It drives me nuts. I use these various tools that way with my students, but I know how much they are missing because of it.

Charlie A. Roy

I believe the state of Illinois has legislated the actual ban of specific websites for social networking. It's been explained to me that in Illinois a school is legally required to block myspace. Imagine that. Maybe they will block youtube next.

All the fear mongering is really atrocious. I worry every time I walk by the office fax machine that some nasty person might fax me something obnoxious.

Our school tends in general to flaunt the conventional wisdom on such things. We even joke that if the state arrests us at least in prison we will have actual access to web 2.0 technologies.

fun fun

Gilbert Halcrow

Filter it all I say and burn those Elvis records as well!

M. Scott Peck in ‘The Road Less Travelled’ puts forward the idea that insanity starts with one lie and is followed by a series of lies that supplement the first; this evolves into a personal map of our experience that becomes increasingly removed from reality. It is made worse when the lie is shared by a collective who reinforce each other with their agreement.

The little lie in all of this is ‘We can control it’, from that all the other insanity evolves.

If we want our students to make wise choices then we must provide them with good and bad options to choose from. Blanketing does not protect our students (they’ll find it the bad stuff somewhere) and it does not educate them, because we have given them no real responsibility.

Perhaps we should let the filtering fanatics continue, as banning something is often the impetuous that send young people towards it in their droves – Lady Chatterley’s Lover sales trebled in the month it was banned by the Vatican.

We can argue the benefits of Web 2.0 technology, but it is just the fingernail picking away at the scab of censorship, control and neglecting to fostering personal responsibility.

As a father of 2 pre-school daughters I am deeply concerned about the proliferation of pornography and the disempowering representation of women and girls across the Internet. I will not however blanket their access; their engagement will be staged appropriately for their age and when (not if) they make bad choices they will be discussed and responded too.

Schools need to do this in concert with families and wider communities. Then perhaps we will have fewer young women appearing on ‘Girls Gone Wild 234’ and fewer men expecting that is how females should act. Most importantly their education will include a diversity of opinions and perspectives through greater collaboration with global peers.

I wonder how many of those Filter fanatics still listen to Elvis?

Bea Cantor


Sometimes, the technology department IS staffed by educators.

I commented on a previous post regarding community relations. We are here to help our students learn, but maybe we should educate their parents (the taxpayers and legislators), too. When all of us bring up this topic, we are blogging, commenting, or commiserating with our own crew. How do we get it out there, beyond school walls, that online tools are only as evil as we let them be?

Cathy Nelson

WOw Bravo--well said. I just really want the IT to realize that CIPA should be a catalyst for conversations with stakeholders--all of them, from the IT and admin all the way down to the lowly teacher, student, and parent. All voices of the stakeholders deserve to have input into what is filtered to protect students. Most schools' IT departments, though, have turned it into a dictatorship. Don't we live in a democratic society? Wish schools would realize it.

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