Well, I think this is it! The educational question I would like to pose as my first posting to this new wiki is:
Problem: Though they support technology education, my district has issues with online collaboration. Almost everything is blocked at school, even from the teachers. Trying to do research is about impossible and many online collaboration sites (including those used for these courses) are blocked. A lot of time is wasted in the efforts. Any justifications posed by the teachers about 21st century skills are met with reluctance.
Question: Can you offer some arguments I could approach my district with to help them understand the importance of releasing some of the control on our technology access?
Hopefully I am using the correct wiki etiquette by putting my response at the top. I did so because I wanted to be able to refer to you question as I typed my answer so I hope I didn't cut anyone else off. I definitely feel your pain — our school locks down EVERYTHING too. Maybe you can make a deal with your network support team by asking them for access to a specific site for a specific time period as a trial period. I got soooo tired of this very problem that I made my case to the principal and pointed out how our students were being left behind and outlined my plan of action. With her support, I BEGGED anyone and everyone at our board office and have recently been able to access some sites. I plan on using a few different Web 2.0 tools first with the teachers (wikidot of course) and try to gain their support. I am also going to provide our staff with professional development on some of the tools at the beginning of the year so I'm hoping there is strength in numbers. Good luck!
Believe me, I am the last one to be able to speculate about wiki-etti-quette. This plan of action seems to run with what most people feel may help best. Thank you for the input!
You are not alone! From what I have heard along the way of the many Wilkes courses is very similar. I think that those who design the web 2.0 tools are beginning to realize our issues with school policies and it seems every day there are new places designed for classroom use that offer privacy to the teacher and student. Short of using those though I would hope that you could make a plea to your administration about globalization. Unfortunately I think safety is such an issue that no one wants to take any chances. Communication is key between teachers, administrators, parents and students to make any online experience work.**
You are absolutely right. And I do know that though my district is very restricting, it is because they are majorly concerned for our students' safety and their own protection. I guess you can't really blame them in our "sue-happy" world! - D
My district sounds very similar to yours. When I would try to get some work done for these classes or explore sites I had been exposed to I couldn't do it from school because everything was blocked! The first person I always go to it the technology coordinator in our building. I plead my case and he checks it out usually telling me it is too "open" and the kids can get themselves into trouble by viewing inappropriate material. I them try to convince him, with my lesson plan, that they will be too busy to go off course and if they do, there will be consequences. He is a tough nut and I don't usually make it past him, but I am determined to keep on trying even if it means I demonstrate something on MY computer and have my students try it at home. I think the best weapon is positive examples of what the students can accomplish by accessing certain websites instead of always focusing on the negative. At some point we have to give the students our trust and if they choose to misuse it, they lose out.
Pam Oliveira (pamoliveira)
I admire your persistence! It does sound like the best options have to do with displaying positive examples and arguments for what can be accomplished. We also need to figure out some great, deterring consequences for misuse so it does hurt everyone and the common good. Thanks! - D
Wow, what a hard place in which to be! :-(
I have some reluctance to technology, but nothing like what you have documented. One argument I use over and over again is that we have to educate the students for their futures, not our presents'. I have also talked about the brain studies that have been done and are on going showing that the brain of the youth today actually synopsis differently than ours does, requiring a different outlook as to how we need to educate our future.
Hope these help. It will be interesting to see what other posts you get! :-)
Brain Synapse - I love it! - D
My question is somewhat similar to yours although it sounds as if you're in a much more difficult place :-( I feel your pain about trying to implement new resources and tools within your own instruction, let alone just trying to research the new tools to determine what might be best for your students! Even Teachertube is blocked at my school! Luckily I have found a few people within the district who are at least willing to listen and attempt to help me find answers. Is there anyone else that you may work with (or even an administrator) who might be able to lend a listening ear? In general, maybe it might be beneficial to explain what 21st Century Teaching and Learning is all about and that may be a nice segway into the technology aspect. Technology (when used correctly) can only enhance a student's learning experience as we prepare them for succcess beyond school. Many of the Youtube and Teachertube videos that we watch for the grad courses are great resources and can have a large impact on even the administrators. Show them student examples and realistic examples of how such technology is beneficial and can be used in the classrooms. Give them an overall picture but maybe break it down into an "action plan". Good luck and I hope I could be of some help!
Providing some well-planned examples is a good idea. I'll have to start researching now - thanks! - D
Wow! Your district sounds strict! In my own, I too had to get some sites to be unblocked as well. I first started with Google Earth. Why that one was blocked, I have no idea! I had to basically invite the tech guy to my room and show him my lesson plan. Once I showed him how important the website was to my lesson, not to mention how totally COOL it was, he unblocked it. Now I will tell you this took a number of phone calls and a bit of harrassment on my part. Once he knew I ment buisness and was not just letting my kids fool around with the tech, it became easier to get sites unblocked. By the end of the year, it just took an email that included the site and what we were going to do with it. I guess it just depends on who holds the power in your district! Good luck!
Believe it or not, the tech coordinator is my best option. I think the restrictions are coming from above. I am certainly not "above" a little harrassment myself. I love the notion! Thanks! - D
We have a huge school district that is very strict about what Internet content filtering. Games, social networking sites are obvious ones that get blocked. You can request that good ones be unblocked. There re ways around all of this, of course! Principals get a password to unblock any site. I don't know any Principals who would want to, or know how to use this feature!
Our head of curriculum, who retires in a month, walked into our team meeting last week and was ruminating about how we should open up all Web 2.0 sites. Everyone on the team had to pick up their jaw off the floor.
On another note- Gina- where did you learn about the signature code you added to your post?
I like your sense of humor! - D
I watched all the how-to's that were posted…I know…nerd alert! I just can't help myself! ~Gina
My kind of person!!! ; ) - D
Sounds like you have a very strict district. We have many sites that are blocked but sometimes if you can justify their use, they allow you to use them. They however stand their ground on sites that allow social networking. In my district, technology is really supported. My district is actually piloting/experimenting with some Web 2.0 tools this coming school year (voicethread & deilicious) so I am hoping that this is the beginning of many new things to come in my district. Right now I'm just being patient!!!
That's an idea: maybe the trick is that I sneak it in with the small, easy stuff first and move on from there. Thanks! - D