Podcast 44: Facebook, Filtering and all that

Digital Learning Project
The question of filtering and facebook continues to be a major discussion item for schools. In my division, we do not block social networking sites and have a very liberal filtering policy compared to most. However, teachers struggle with students traveling to spaces they shouldn’t and being off task.  Rather than coming at them with my own position, I decided to enlist a number of teachers to respond to the following question:

Is  “off task” behaviour relating to technology an issue with your students? If yes, how do you deal with it, if no, what have and your students done to alleviate the problem?’

The following represents a request I made to several teachers in our school division. You’ll see a few different viewpoints which is what I wanted.

I see it as an issue of off-task behaviour.  Every teacher deals with it differently, but for the most part, they are instructed to get off of Facebook immediately and risk losing Computer/Internet.  In my Information Processing class, I allow for them to check e-mail/Facebook in the first few minutes of class.  I usually need a few minutes to get myself logged in and get the projector up and running.  

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Beatrice, you’re way off!

Thanks to a tweet by Clarence, I just listened to a podcast of an angry parent upset with the Langley School District for not blocking social networking sites.

The mother, Beatrice, is conceded some authority by CBC since she has a computer science background. Unfortunately her knowledge of ports and key logging software is about all she has when it comes to her understanding of social networks. Admittedly her 12 year old daughter had been to some less than educational spaces and likely was pursuing content not fit for a 12 year old or anyone. Her reaction was to block all these sites, ban her daughter from the home computer and demand the school district to install content filtering that would prohibit any access to social networks. Craig Spence, a representative from the school division gives a very intelligent response in this interview to her complaints arguing the importance of teaching students about these spaces and recognizing these spaces will still exist outside the school. This article might indicate the school district is buckling somewhat under pressure.

This parent makes a number of comments that demonstrate a lack of understanding and fuels the fire of hysteria and in my … Read the rest