Yet Another Reason Your Filter is Useless (or neat trick to post to jaiku, wordpress or twitter)


The first part of this post is actually useful. The second part is just me venting about the wrong application of time and energy that is, all too often, school filtering.

So I started using Jaiku (like Twitter but with the ability to aggregate all your feeds and a few other neat tricks).

Jaiku was blocked pretty quickly at school as a personal/dating site for some reason. I’ve stopped trying to guess the rationale behind certain things.

I’ve been using Jott. This free service that allows me to call a number, say who I want to send the message to, dictate and that person (mostly myself) gets a text email of what I said and a link to the audio file as well. I highly recommend it.)

Driving to work listening to net@night about egorcast which allows me to use Jott to post text to jaiku, twitter and wordpress– all with a simple phone call.

So now I can post to a blocked site without even typing. Now if I could touch text with my phone imagine the fun I could have.

<----philosophical/venting below---->

This is the kind of flexible communication that schools are trying to stop. It has always been a losing battle but more so as phones and free services take it to the next level.

I’ve heard way too many conversations lately that say something like “It allows unmoderated student communication and we’ve got to block it.” This thought process really scares and depresses me. It is both a waste of time and a great way to garner student contempt both for the rules and for those flailing around trying vainly to enforce them. This makes students far more likely to disregard relevant Internet safety advice and it pushes them towards using phones, home computers etc. where there is no filtering. On the teacher/parent side, heavy filtering tends to lead to a false sense of security, less training for students, less discussion and responsibility being shifted from students to software.

You can’t wall of the Internet, no matter the filter. You can’t stop kids from bringing and using cell phones in school. At some point it really has to be up to them. Have we prepared them to make those choices?

Photo credit – Peter Gasston

Comments on this post

  1. Ben said on June 1, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    A-men to putting a stop to dumbing down Internet safety and ettiquette education! I don’t think there’s even a fraction of what should be going on about proper use of the Internet and communication devices. It’s mostly just, “can we control it?”. Sadly enough, the answer is no, we can’t, but so many people want desparately to try. Perhaps a video-presentation for the k-12 Online Conference would make a nice presentation on this topic.

  2. Brett said on June 1, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    I run into this sort of thing a lot with my speech/debate team. The school has used Bess to wipe out vast swaths of the internet, including anything with the word “blog” in the address. This wipes out at least half of the political websites on the internet. They also block anything with a forum/message board, which means any of those sites where students go to hash out cases. It really disturbs me that student collaboration is now something to be feared and regulated. What happened to the theory that communicating ideas and exploring them together was a bedrock of learning? argh. ranty rant rant rant.

  3. Jim Coe said on June 4, 2007 at 8:39 am

    The other day I was mentioning to a class of mine how easy it was to get around the filter to IM and one of my students said, “Ha. No kidding.” You are right, Tom. This is a losing battle.

    I wonder if the schools will take the same approach with unfiltered, unmonitored conversations in the halls and lunchroom? Will we be adding “Thought Police Officer” to our list of duties next year?

  4. gyrhead said on June 5, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Before we started filtering (and this was with limited Internet access in a few rooms) it was a nightmare. We ended up with the FBI in the school freezing our computers due to bomb threats being issued from them via free email and parents in board meetings demanding that the school stop allowing their kids access to pornorgraphy at school. If you have a one size fits all filtering solution like Bess you will end up with a very restrictive enironment; if you go with your own locally managed and customizable solution you will have much better results.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks on this post

  1. AssortedStuff said on June 1, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    Blocked Communications…

    Speaking of student communications, Tom over at Bionic Teaching starts a post by marveling at the growing number of free services that make it easy for kids (or anyone else to connect).
    However, he then feels the need to vent about the approach taken b…