Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Want that list!!

I just talked to a district administrator who had just gone through a tech audit. They passed, but one site "on their list" wasn't blocked. The tech person blocked it and life went on. I said, "What else was on that list?""Oh, she wouldn't let us see it."

THAT'S when you heard me scream!

I've asked this before, but seriously, WHY IS THAT LIST A SECRET??? Think about how many sites are blocked now that might not have to be if we only knew what was on that list!

Businesses, I've read, will create an offshoot company whose sole purpose is to, as it was described, "Sink the mother ship." Tell us where our weaknesses are. Where are we vulnerable? What are we doing that is keeping us from being the best we can be? If we did that in education they would have NO shortage of areas to point to as things we're doing wrong. Not necessarily in the classroom, but in our policies.

They're going to hold us accountable to match a list that we've never seen? NOBODY can say that this makes ANY sense whatsoever!



Tim said...

I'm on the internet filtering advisory group in our district and at every meeting, we discuss the category changes provided by the vendor and at what level they should be blocked. What sites are listed in each category? That information would certainly make our job easier. However, the vendor won't tell us since they claim their classification scheme is "proprietary information".

Makes no sense but my response is very much like yours: AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!

Priscilla Stratton said...

I agree with what you are saying. If we are not aware what the sites are, how can we teach students how to avoid, filter, and/or properly use those sites? Even if the choice is to keep it "blocked" (which I still don't really agree wtih), it should still be know to all teachers exactly what they are being kept from.
We cannot make digital citizens that are aware of the dangers and benefits of internet sites unless we teach them how to behave on the web when faced with whether or not to go on or near those sites! Since most parents do not teach internet safety and responsibility at home, we need the chance to at least give students a "heads up" on the world they enter after they leave the "safe" confines of a "blocked" internet!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the school should just check the Internet logs to see what sites the evaluators tried to access? That would reveal the secret list.

@Tim - It would seem simple just to get the list of sites in a category. One category can contain millions of sites. So even if a list was available it would not likely be useful to guide decisions. In addition, the categories are constantly growing and changing.

Almost every content filter vendor has a site where you may look up a domain and determine the category.

If only it were that easy to open the web and teach responsible use. There's a lawyer somewhere lickin' their chops!