Thursday, April 17, 2008

Prove Yourself Boy!


The latest attempt to regulate online content has reared its ugly head in the form of a false pretense. Of course, it's all about freeing up bandwidth, so that everyones computer will operate a little faster. Can someone tell me how accessing a blog will slow things up.

Yes, I have been waiting for the day, my own blog has been blocked by our school system. I knew this day was coming. While I was at a training one Friday at a Highschool in another County in Maryland, all blogs were blocked. Waiting to start the training, I tried to access my aggregator to read my blogs. What? Pageflakes is blocked? I laughed, thinking that my own district would never do this.

The difference seems to lie in whether your blogging site is deemed a "social networking site" or a "learning networking site". My district has blocked all "social networking" sites. I guess Blogger is considered social. Oh well. We all know how schools think of being social. 90% of the day, students aren't allowed to talk.

I contacted our tech. guy and told him that I sometime use my professional blog in my class to show students the methods in which I learn on a daily basis. I know he is just the messenger, so I am not upset with him. I also know that this was not a personal attack on me. The tech decision makers didn't get together and say "We have to get rid of this guys blog, he's spending too much work time on it". However this may have went down, I am somewhat disappointed in our school system. When they want to block sites from use for the employees and students of the district, they need to think of what they are actually blocking. When they block whole categories, they need to think of the message they are sending to the teachers and the students. Blocking is saying "WE DON'T TRUST YOU". Not only do they have trust issues, but blocking some of these sites are doing our students a disservice in the classroom. Especially in a classroom like mine. I tend to use many sites to engage students on a daily basis. My options are beginning to be limited. I hope they don't block our WIKI. This would make many students revolt. I don't think the district wants 200 3-5 graders knocking on their door with questions :)

Any way, enough with a rant. Now it is down to me proving that my Blog is educational. What exactly does that mean? How do I prove this? Do I need to invite some Board Members into my classroom on a day that I share an aspect of my Personal Learning Network? Should I invite each of you to a Board Meeting to show them how many people I learn from on a daily basis by being "social"? I don't know the answer. But I need to find one quick.

6 comments:

Bryan McDonald said...

I know that this isn't the point but when my blog was blocked our tcch guy pointed me to edublogs...I really like it, there are ways to add student blogs, set up some privacy options for your students, etc. You can even import your blogger account.

Nancy A. McKeand said...

I think that one thing to do is to document everything you do. Unfortunately, you would probably have to do it both on the blog and in some other hard copy manner since people at school can't access the blog.

You have to show them how you use the blog to learn and how you use the wiki and Pageflakes with the kids. They may not get it even then, but maybe they will.

I really think that very few people understand what these tools are, so it is easy to block them. We have to educate them so they can move beyond the fear to a true understanding of the benefits and risks involved.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

Scott said...

How about asking if they can differentiate the filter? Our school district has a different set of filters for teachers and admins than they do for students. It works quite well...if I teacher wants to show a YouTube video that relates to their content, no problem, but the students aren't eating up all the bandwidth watching a dog on a skateboard.

A. Woody DeLauder said...

@Bryan
Thanks for the idea. I've been thinking of switching for a while now. I'll see how my protest goes before I make any decisions.
@Nancy,
Thank you for the kind words. To some, the internet is just informational toy. It's a shame.
@Scott,
I will mention this to my District. It seems easy enough. Thanks for the idea.

EDin08 said...

Dear edumorphing blogger,

I just wanted to make sure that you were invited to our education "Blogger Summit". We hope you can make it and feel free to share this invitation with any other bloggers in the area that might be interested. The invitation is attached below.

Alex
ED In '08 Blogger Summit

--------------------------------

Strong American Schools is excited to announce the ED in '08 Blogger Summit. Conference details are as follows:

May 14th - 15th
Palomar Hotel, Washington DC
Registration is Free!

An opening reception is scheduled on the evening of Wednesday, May 14th. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served before the screening of a new documentary film on education, Two Million Minutes. A Q&A session with the filmmakers is set to follow.

Then join us for an all-day conference on May 15th. Nowhere else will you have an opportunity to meet and network with fellow education bloggers, participate in panels, attend workshops, and help tackle some tough questions on the state of education in America. Highlights include a speech from keynote speaker Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House.

Space is limited, so be sure to RSVP today!

Register at http://edin08.com/bloggersummit/

Summer camps Switzerland said...

Thanks for the idea.Looks like a really interesting session you have planned there. Thanks for posting about ShareTabs AND for sharing your collection of blogs with us.