Today at school for some reason our web filters are having problems and things are getting blocked which in the past haven’t been an issue. One of those items is my class blog. It is an “evil” Blogspot blog and today it can no longer be viewed from school. Ironically the blockage started occurring during a quick 2 minute lesson on Creative Commons and student work. When my class and I realized we weren’t going to be able to use the blog anymore until the filter was fixed, here were the two unsolicited solutions I got from my class.
1. “Mr. Wood don’t you have a proxy port open at home? I do, so that I can get on MySpace from the (public) library.”
2. “The church (next door to school) has an open wireless access point, just log into it. I’ve used it before. It works.”
These two comments from two 13 year-olds in suburban California highlight the fact that even our kids know how to get around filters. While filters certainly serve there purpose, their comments underscore the necessity to talk to our kids about the Internet and why things are filtered. Simply blocking websites without any discussion as to why they are filtered does little good in helping our students make wise choices about using the Internet.