2 Replies Latest reply on Mar 10, 2010 8:38 AM by Bonnie Feather

    Security and blocked sites quandary

    Bonnie Feather

      In the discussion thread on "What other digital tools have you added to your toolbox lately?" Glen asked a question I've really been thinking about a lot! 

      He says:

      "I've been unable to log into this community recently at the district. I find that almost a week or two after I share some great site with others, the site becomes blocked. I've wondered if perhaps teachers learn about good tools for use in the classroom and the district blocks the sites due to an abundance of traffic. Who besides David and me has a problem with blocked blogs, wikis, and other web 2.0 websites? Who has successfully changed their school or district blocking policies and how did you do it? Inquiring minds want to know."

      I know it's the job of the IT folks to keep us and our children safe and secure online.  However, it seems there is a wide discrepancy in the security levels from one district to another.  I travel a lot in my job and can find this very frustrating!

       

      In the primary district where I work, IT has created a way for each "teacher" level login to be almost completely unblocked.  Student level logins are quite secure and heavily blocked.

       

      This allows teachers to surf during their prep times and find lots of useful resources.  If they find a site which is blocked for the student login, but they would like for their students to use it, there are procedures defined for them to submit the site to the IT department for review.

       

      This has been a real boon to the teachers!

       

      I ask you along with Glen and David about other ways you have seen this solved!

        • Re: Security and blocked sites quandary
          glen_w

          I don't have a true "success story" to share about unblocking sites. I've been able to "work around" blocking in the district in a rather unique way. I have a very good relationship with our district technology director. I often volunteer to do a "Pilot Program." Each of these volunteer efforts has required me to do something that typically is "blocked" by district policy. Each time I volunteer, I've been given permission to do the project. I am required to submit data about how the project goes and details on how this is positive or negative for student learning. I, however, am disappointed that as of today none of the district policies have been changed as a result of my pilot projects. I, therefore volunteered to help craft a new policy for the district. (If you can't beat them - join them! ) Our draft policy is now at the District Office ... I've not heard when it comes up on any agenda .

           

          I'm interested in what blocking programs are used in districts where teachers are able to modify the blocked sites on their own - or get changes done in less than "forever!" I would enjoy sharing this information with our district people.

            • Pilot sites!
              Bonnie Feather

              What a GREAT idea Glen has about asking to "pilot" sites which have been blocked!  That way the IT folks can see if there is any harmful outcome of unblocking the site.  Of course, as teachers we are more interested in the positive learning outcomes!

               

              He also asks about filtering software which allows teachers to unblock sites on their own- I don't know about this and also hope someone else will chime in...

               

              I also don't know the technical aspects of how our IT department allows teacher logins to access almost everything, but the student login is quite secure.  It surely is nice, though!