A simple fix for Internet censorship in schools and Ultranet Queries

Schools and libraries are hurting students by setting up heavy-handed Web filtering software that block access to potentially educational sites. Instead, educators should trust teachers and librarians to oversee schools Internet access, says Craig Cunningham, a professor at National-Louis University.

Web filtering software should be configured so that, when a student stumbles across a site that’s blocked, the teacher or librarian can make a judgment whether the content is appropriate for study, and if it is, the teacher or librarian can let the site through.

Via @cbartow comes this link to an article from Computerworld re Internet censorship. As always, the commentary that follows which encompasses a range of opinion is arguably the most interesting read.

On the score of filtering it was quite annoying to read a tweet from @ mrrobbo which stated that;

“Arrive at school today to find out gmail, twitter and dropbox have been blocked by our schools Internet provider”

Now Jarrod is one of the most innovative and inciteful users of tech in the curriculum I know. Hi work is made made even more impressive because he is young teacher working in a smaller country school teaching predominantly Physical Education, an unlikely combination for any tech leader. To have the capability to use even these basic tools on the whim of an internet service provider is at best an annoyance and at worst a blatant denial of a teacher’s rights to use the best tools available.

In Victoria the rollout of the Ultranet,

“…. an online learning environment which will support high quality learning and teaching, and connect students, parents, teachers and school administrators, anywhere, anytime.”

is imminent. It will be interesting to see how this state-wide system will impact on individual schools and teachers and whether we will see more teachers of the ilk of @mrrobbo’s innovation stifled.

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