Every year at about this time I have to submit to my district IT department the list of websites that I need "white-listed" or unblocked so that I can go about teaching my lessons. This year before sending in my list I looked over it one last time and realized that all of my websites were Web 2.0 sites. Websites like...
It drives me crazy that the websites that are fresh and current and use today's technology are the ones that are blocked in my district. And don't get me going on social media websites. I have spent enough years in the district IT department to know that it is not some evil plot on their part. In reality, they are just trying to keep a handle on bandwidth and costs.
Do you know who I blame for all this website blockage?
That's right high school students. Last year, after much complaining from the high school students, the IT department opened up YouTube for a trial run. Our district bandwidth shot through the roof, YouTube was our number one culprit. And do you think they were watching great and educational videos about climate change? No, they were watching stupid videos like cats that can flush the toilet. So YouTube was again put on the blocked list.
Here in my elementary school we pay the price. A student at this age is never allowed on a computer without adult supervision, so really at our school we could have the web wide open, with just a few basic filters, and we wouldn't really have any problems. But instead, we inherit all the blocked sites that high schoolers would abuse.
So my petition to my IT department is to open things up for us at the elementary level and let our student use these new school technologies like cloud computing and Web 2.0. All students are not equal. Let us have our Web 2.0 and let us show our students how to use it responsibly, and in the meantime prepare for the higher demands of bandwidth that the future is surely going to need, because my students are growing up and they want all the bandwidth you can give them.