I took the summer off from blogging and then school got started. No time to blog for the first 2 weeks of the annual craziness. I am beginning to get into a pattern again. But I have to say – I really resent letting those lazy days of summer go…. Actually – there really were no lazy days except when we went to the Adirondacks to camp. We HAVE to go there to maintain our sanity. We’ve been doing a lot of work on the house and that really sucked up our “lazy” time at home.
Anyway….What made me really know that summer is over? Well – I printed out this article:
Tags Help Make Libraries Del.icio.us [Library Journal]
As always I am quite intigued by Library 2.0 concepts and how we can use them to make our students’ library experiences better. As I read, my brain is making a list of ways that I can use social bookmarking. For one thing – it would be a terrific addition to our upcoming 10th grade research project on Globalization. My list has 4 or 5 uses on it and I am only half way through page 1 of the article. And then it hits me. There is no way I can do anything on the list. Why? Not enough time? Prefer my static web page? Think my students won’t be interested? Nooooo….
The #%^$ content filter raises it’s ugly head. It’s a case of “we just can’t get there from here” – at least not at school. Here we are again. A wonderfully adaptable (and free!) tool shot down by our overzealous need to protect our children and our networks.
I DO understand our need to protect. Really I do. I’ve seen the Dateline episodes too (And aren’t they just a voyeur’s dream?)
Could there be an answer to my dilemma? Blogging used to be impossible in school – but eventually the filters recognized that there are some student-friendly blog providers (edublogs, classroom blogmeister etc.).
Are there any social bookmarking sites designed specifically for students? I hope to find out about some. PLEASE SHARE WHAT YOU KNOW. Thanks!!
A few days ago I was ranting about our filter blocking Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog. In the immortal words of Emily Litella - “NEVER mind.” My brain must have been on vacation. Our lovable filter does NOT block The Blue Skunk after all. It was blocked back when it was hosted by EduBlogs. Now it is open. Or – in the words of one of our Tech directors – “At least it is open for now”. Hmmmm…. That sounds ominous.
However – I stand by the rest of my rant regarding the undue influence of filters.
Now – for more thoughts about filters….. Hopefully I will not have to retract this one.
There have been a number of postings on LM_NET recently regarding Myspace.com, Facebook et al. I used to be completely in favor of blocking those sites. I am beginning to modify that stance. (Oh My God – I really AM channeling Emily Litella!) Anyway – as usual, Doug has 2 excellent posts on filtering.
The Case for Social Networks
I think Doug (and others) definitely have a point. I love the quote/paraphrase from Carol Simpson “teaching kids Internet safety in an over-filtered environment is like teaching kids to cross the street by never letting them out of the basement.” Schools need to teach students about on-line safety. When sites such as Myspace are blocked, we think we are keeping the students safe. But – is it a false sense of security? The kids go home to unfiltered environments and often do what they please without regard for privacy or safety. Meanwhile – have we prepared them for an unfiltered environment? Again – I am rethinking my stance about all of this.
Taking a more conservative viewpoint ….. Perhaps these sites really are too dangerous to be freely available in schools. BUT – I am afraid that we are painting a lot of sites with the same brush and banning many “social” web technologies (such as blogs and wikis) that have great value for classroom learning. In our haste to filter the dangerous – we are tossing out access to valuable learning tools. Where does the blocking stop? Which site will be next? Freedom is a messy thing. So much to think about….So little time!….So few surviving brain cells…..