Access Denied: The Internet Filter In School Computers

April Bunn wrote a fabulous blog post on internet filters in school computers. As a college librarian, I am periodically shocked with the lack of information literacy skills (specifically searching the internet & evaluating it) that incoming freshman arrive with at my institution. I understand why the filters are in place, but to the extent that the filtering takes place is not acceptable. When the filters become a regular barrier to education and learning, they can begin to do more harm than good.

This is a future topic that I might have to explore some more, perhaps on the city or state level!

Most of us have no control over it.
It gets people really upset when they run up against it.

The Internet Filter

Hopefully you aren’t trying to read this at a school computer because you’d probably have your “access denied” with most of my links below.

As a School Library Media Specialist, I am all too familiar with a great teaching moment being ruined by a blocked website. Linda Underwood’s School Library Monthly article “21st-Century Learning Blocked: What is a School Librarian to Do?” (September’s issue-not available online yet) inspired me to think more about this topic. This past week one of my colleagues was blocked from using National Geographic and another was blocked from downloading her Promethean Board software, so I knew it was time to get this done. The technology teacher and I just convinced many of these teachers to branch out and use new technology and this filter is discouraging them rapidly. Just to give you an idea of what it’s like with these filters:

* We can’t use any image or video sites at all (so long to those Google Images on our web pages and for student projects and no-can-do on that great video you found on Abraham Lincoln on YouTube).
* Also, no access to sites that have a shopping cart feature, like Barnes and Noble, making it a serious challenge to place orders when we are registering for conferences, ordering books and supplies.
* No technical or business forums (see below).

Ironically, as I try to finalize this post, sitting at my desk after school dismisses, I am blocked from previewing the post on WordPress with the response screen below:

Read more…

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About repplinger

John has served as a Reference Librarian at Willamette University since 2002. He is the liaison to the Science Departments, and is responsible for maintaining the collections related to the life & physical sciences. His research interests range over the entire spectrum of libraries and information sciences, but includes: - Google and its influence on information & society - The Internet's influence on information seeking & sharing behaviors - Trends of scholarly communication - Electronic learning environments - Traditional pedagogy - GIS use in academic libraries

Posted on October 7, 2009, in Libraries, Privacy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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