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Banned Websites in Schools

ALA runs the Banned Books Week and Freedom to Read talks about this as well. I’ve suggested before that American Libraries, Library Journal or ALA should start a banned website list or contest for the silliest or most damaging banning. I think that it would make an amazing cover story and be picked up my the mainstream media too. In this day and age is banning a website any more censorship or destructive to democracy or learning than banning a book? I wonder.

Eight Surprising Websites That Schools Can’t Access

Here are a few submited by teachers:
1. SKYPE
2. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
3. GLOGSTER
4. DROPBOX AND OTHER FILE-SHARING SITES
5. BLOGSPOT AND OTHER PERSONAL BLOGGING PLATFORMS
6. KHAN ACADEMY
7. FLICKR
8. FREEDOM TO TINKER

Of course, we’re not surprised that the sites that contain much educational content and connections are blocked as well so they’re not on this surprise oriented list (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Club Penguin, Vimeo, etc.)

We’re trying to teach learners information literacy. Some educrats and technocrats would have us teach road safety in the world where roads weere banned too.

Banned Websites Compared to Banned Books in Schools

With reference to MindShift’s “Surprising Websites that Schools Can’t Access.”

“Book banning has long been a controversial issue in the nation’s schools. Now some educators say banned websites pose as great a threat to kids’ education and intellectual freedom. Filtering software and school rules designed to keep out violence and pornography are also blocking key educational and otherwise useful sites, teachers say, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – not to mention Google and National Geographic.” — www.usatoday.com

“Here’s Karen Cator, the director of Education Technology at the D.O.E. in a recent MindShift interview:

“The bottom line is that we do need to figure out how kids can be safe and out of harm’s way and not exposed to inappropriate materials online. But the filtering programs we have are fairly rudimentary. We need more intelligent filtering programs, safer search environments, smarter technologies so that people aren’t just shutting down large swaths of the Internet. There’s a lot on YouTube, for example, that could be safe and really instructive, but since it’s just in one bucket, a lot of schools just shut down YouTube.””

Of course, my favourites will remains a certain Middlesex County that once banned its own website(s) across the county. I also recall when any database that covered current affairs, business affairs, etc. as blocked as well.

There’s humour here and its a serious issue.

Stephen

Posted on: July 31, 2011, 6:33 am Category: Uncategorized