Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Blogs are Blocked-Life is Not Filtered


Posted on Blogger Help forums:

Could Blogger re-consider allowing nudity & sexual content? My school library blog is now blocked in my district.


I am a librarian, I believe in free speech, & I am against censorship. However,
My school district just blocked Blogger for EVERYone because Blogger allows Nudity & Sexual content.

I've had my Daring School Library blog for 5+ years - It's a conversation between my students, community, and the world about our library program & practice. We highlight student achievements, new books, web 2.0 tools, QR codes, and the cool things we do in our awesome school. This blog you're reading...I didn't start this until I got inspired after NECC09 - my MHMS school library blog is my first love my oldest child!
YouTube blocks nudity & sexual content, why not Blogger? If Blogger just took the same tact "YouTube is not for pornography or sexually explicit content. If this describes your video, even if it's a video of yourself, don't post it on YouTube." Then all the educational blogs out there - including mine - would not be blocked. Also taking off the "next blog" button would be very helpful since some of the next blogs are NOT appropriate. I've been a Google educator since 2004 I love me my Google! I've been championing my district to have a Google Server & use the Educational apps! Now this.

The Blogger Content Warning does not say anything about age... just "I understand and wish to continue" or "I do not wish to continue" - This is just not good enough if a student stumbles across pornographic material WHILST researching in SCHOOL. If they at least had a warning about being over 18 then we could say the student - if they chose the content - was breaking the Acceptable Use Policy but as it's worded - no such luck. I can't even defend that. And my students deserve more.


If you can't change your business strategy in this matter - can you give me any advice on how to ask my District to consider unblocking our Library Blog? When a blogger designates their blog as having "adult content" can filters just block THOSE sites & leave other sites clear? I don't know much about that kind of higher level of coding or filtering (html sure but I'm really a software girl) but I can pass along any suggestions you might have.

UPDATE: From the Technology Security Analyst - Technology Department
Howard County Public School System

"Take a look at the server name that hosts your screen shot of youtube's policy (1.bp.blogspot.com). If you were to look at the server name of "questionable" content you would notice that the server name is the same. This is why we can not allow one without the other. The server name used to call adult content is the same as your non-adult content."
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So apparently can't block the bad without blocking the good.

I ardently believe in teaching without a filter. Life is not filtered. We need to teach digital citizenship so that students can evaluate web content with knowledge, discernment, & ethics. We also need to teach with effective classroom management. BUT websites have to meet us halfway and not make it REALLY easy to see pornographic content. Also, some districts are not there yet. I need ammunition or a change of heart on this issue.

'Cause really, isn't there just enough porn on the Interwebs as it is?

Thank you!
~Gwyneth Jones
The Daring Librarian

Will I post this on my school blog? I don't know. What do you think? I think I'm gonna sleep on it and talk to my principal. Who, IRONICALLY just this week wanted me to work with him to get his first Blogger blog going! I really try and keep political stuff out of my school blog cause that blog has a different mission...it's all for the kids. Hmmm Well, if I do...post it... I guess I won't be doing so from school! Will I be moving THIS blog? Nahh I already bought the domain name and this is for my peers not my kids.

Photo By stephend9 Stephen Durham

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed here are my own - not my employer. I might not always be eloquent, I am often immature and snarky but I am passionate about serving my students, school, & community and trying to do the best job I can.

4 comments:

  1. It's ALL political. Teachers need to stop denying this and tell these stories as PART of their pecha kuchas and pretty presentations they do for professional development. It IS about the kids but you want to do something meaningful for them then addressing these issues is kind of the main part. These are not separate issues. And school boards aren't there to advance authentic learning of any kind, they are there to "school" people and give credits for social conditioning and adherence to board mandated curriculum, policy and regulations. That is not learning. And that is why most of the meaningful stuff that's going on - online and elsewhere - engages our learners more than what's happening in spaces where teachers and students alike cannot speak freely in their own words and relate to one another as human beings - rather than power holders and "students" ... keep making noise. You have allies.

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  2. Boy, I am really sorry to hear this. Blanketly "blocking the bad with the good" is exactly what's happening and that is always a shame. I would think that with a little creativity and thinking outside the box, the powers-that-be could come up with a reasonable alternative to this "all-or-nothing" edict; and you have certainly given them several good places to start. Please keep us posted.

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  3. Hello from Orlando!

    As a remedial reading teacher for many years, librarians have always been my school buddies; I'm glad to find your blog today. :-)

    I'm struggling with blogs and school districts, too, as my Blogger blog is blocked from most who would benefit from its content:

    (1)Teachers for whom it's geared as I share edu content for professional development and collegial conversation, and

    (2) Prospective clients as I transition into freelance & consulting work after 17 yrs in teaching/peer professional development.

    Neither group can access the blog from work, and who's taking time to read blogs at home, outside their work day/planning/lunch times? Apparently, not the majority of teachers, administrators, school personnel(yet).

    Building a separate website is certainly a (costly) option for promoting a growing business, but that doesn't address my primary PD wish: to engage fellow educators in ongoing professional conversations via the blogosphere.

    How can I promote blogs as a worthwhile social media tool (b/c those of us who use them know they are!) if most users can't access them?? Dilemma....

    I'm subscribing and look forward to hearing how your situation turns out. In turn, I'll continue to be a squeaky wheel, working toward positive resolution and access that meets everyone's expectations/needs.

    Would love to chat more via our blogs. :-)

    ReplyDelete

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