We have a school system county-wide web filtering system. It blocks most useful sites, anything to do with social networking or collaboration, good sites for professional development, great sources of copyright free photos, and some of the porn.
Hitler burned books in large open piles with the media watching. Web filtering is more like Argentina under Pinochet when people were “disappeared.” One day a resource is available on the web, and under the dictatorship of web filtering, the next day that resource just doesn’t show up for work. An error shows up which ominously makes you feel shameful and dirty — like you’ve been caught with cigarettes or a girlie magazine. “Don’t ask questions, they might notice.”
Of course this is happening more and more to websites like http://www.catchingreaders.com written by a 30+-year veteran reading teacher. What do you do then? Advocate, damn it, advocate. Protest and appeal. Work through the red tape and get those resources freed up.
I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time unblocking sites one by one that we find useful.
The guys over in IT trust me, so they gave me web access to the filtering system (to look, not touch) and I found a gold mine.
I found the best use of a school-system wide Internet Filtering System.
I found the complete list of websites folks like me from around the county had taken the time to go through the arduous process, to get unblocked.
I can’t think of higher praise for a website. To first be arbitrarily blocked. Then be missed enough to have complaints lodged so that someone like me fills out forms in triplicate and has their boss sign off on it. To then have some guy in a small sunless room code for it to be unblocked. Now that’s what I call pushing the “like” button.
Such a list of “unburnt books,” retrieved from the funeral pyre of editorial openness, is a list of wonder. Real crowd sourcing.
And THAT, is the best use of a Web Filtering System.
I do wonder though,
about good resources on the web
which are blocked before we get to know them,
enough to miss them …