Here are the results of the 30-second survey on the efficacy of our Internet filtering. Comments following are interesting. I was pleased with the results - seemed we have things tuned pretty well.
Survey results of October 3-7, 2011:
Comments: (My comments in parentheses. - Doug)
student academic research options are limited for advanced placement courses (no further clarification)
Facebook ???? not much education use that I have observed.
How do I change the settings on the Spam filter to allow some regular newsmagazines such as Star Tribune and Christian Science Monitor to come into my regular mailbox? (Send me the email addresses that are being blocked and we can add them to our spam filter white list. - Doug)
I used to often use you tube clips in my class to show science demo's, clips of documentaries and other chem related clips. It was a fantastic easy to use resource. I can no longer use them due to them not loading. (Have you tried again this year? We've increased our bandwidth. YouTube is NOT blocked.)
You can still see obscene images through a Facebook. (Can you provide an example of this?)
I would like to see Facebook as a blocked website. It is always a continued struggle trying to keep students off Facebook during class!
Facebook NEEDS to be blocked by our district. It is a social network site NOT an educational site. Teachers are not encouraged to use facebook due to potential problems that could arise so why would it be educational for our students? Our students will be the first to tell you Facebook is a place to waste time when they are bored. Let them Facebook at home. If they dont have a computer at home then allow Facebook in the morning and after school ONLY. (The filter is not meant to be a classroom management tool. Any site on the Internet could be potentially distracting. I would be asking myself why your students are bored in the first place.)
I think we should be banning Youtube and Facebook as a searchable application. (Why?)
I have not been able to supplement social studies from the inter net
While helping a student find a picture of a peanut butter sandwich, we Googled images for peanut butter sandwiches. There were many to choose from, but I had to quickly scroll back through the photos before the student noticed an inappropriate picture. Also, while I was preparing a presentation about Sweden on my school computer, Googling images of Sweden included bare-breasted blondes! If a student were to do the same independently for a report, etc. from a school computer, the possibility exists for these images to appear. Should I be expecting that the school filter would eliminate the possibility. I thought it would. (My understanding is that the latest upgrade to our filter enforces the "safe search" in GoogleImages.)
Sometimes need You tube for short Art demonstration videos. Would like to be able to show those. (YouTube is not blocked.)
I am very pleased with our filter. I have been to other schools that were so limited that I couldn't even access Sesame Street clips on youtube. I am happy to not have problems of that sort here.
After releasing the results of the survey to the staff, I received these follow-up comments:
While I completely understand the comments made regarding blocking Facebook, I have a concern in regards to my position if Facebook were blocked. On bad weather days, KEYC's Weather Page, Mitch Keegan, and Mark Tarello post any and all weather information, including watches, warnings, schools that are beginning to close, undated forecasts and weather conditions, etc to their Facebook pages before the information is posted anywhere else. I use those pages, along with 10+ other weather websites, to put together the most comprehensive information regarding weather.
A response to the "Facebook" comment...check out Mankato West Art Department on FB...I think if you dig through the almost 70 photo albums I have created of student work you will even find something of Brady's online :>) I use this page and photobook reference ALL THE TIME in my classes.
The Facebook controversy will not be resolved for a time, but if I were a betting man, I would say that the site will continue to grow and be viewed as educationally valuable. Specific Facebook apps that help improve collaboration among students will keep coming out. An increasing number of teachers and administrators will use and become more comfortable with Facebook.
I am hearing the same arguments for blocking Facebook that I had for not giving kids ANY Internet access in the mid-90s. We'll get beyond it.