Image via WikipediaThe conversation on content filtering has been a hot topic in our region and my district. This post is not going to focus specifically on any piece of hardware or software, but more the philosophical view of content filtering. I encourage you to read my opinions (which are my personal opinions) and leave yours below.
I believe it is the role of the school CIO to provide CIPA compliant filtering; blocking pornography and other hard core non-educational items. It is NOT our role to block every site that is non-educational. Currently our system is setup to block content by keywords (sex, bomb, etc.) and this can sometimes cause educational related sites to be blocked.
The question becomes...why should we limit the content our students are able to view? Shouldn't we allow them to learn, explore and share information without being hindered by filtering appliances? (Again...obviously blocking the hardcore and extremely inappropriate / non-educational content.) If students were allowed to freely, safely and securely browse the web - finding the content they needed, imagine the improved productivity both of the student and the teacher.
I do believe part of the teachers responsibility is classroom management. As a former classroom teacher who taught in a lab environment, I made it a priority of mine to always be aware of what my students were doing on their computers. I did this not only by observation and movement throughout the classroom, but also utilizing software such as Syncroneyes. If the classroom teacher makes classroom management a priority, then those sites that can slip through the cracks are quickly remedied by communication from the teacher to the district.
Our district will continue to refine our process of content filtering, ensuring that any and all appropriate and educational related sites are available to our students. We will also continue to take the necessary steps to ensure all inappropriate content is blocked.
What are your thoughts on content filtering? What should we or shouldn't we allow our students to see?
JDS | CIO