How often do school filters prevent access to websites needed for classes?
According to the 1,100+ teachers that completed the Clarity surveys last spring, too often. In most of the participating districts, at least half of the teachers responded ‘Always‘ or ‘More than 50% of the time.‘
(n = 1,138 teachers)
A few things worth noting…
- Data from our students confirm that filtering, blocking, and other restrictive measures are issues of concern. The #1 obstacle cited by students regarding their educational use of technology is that ‘School rules get in the way‘ (cited by 61% of students; the range across districts is from 41% to 85%).
- It’s awfully difficult to prepare students to be empowered users of the Internet if we lock it down so tightly that neither they nor their teachers can get to what they need.
- Notice the vast spread across our districts, despite all of us operating within the same state and federal policy/legal environments. This shows that the restrictiveness of our networks is a choice, not a legal mandate. We must own our decision-making, not point fingers at mythical external constraints.
Please use these data to spark a conversation with your teachers, technology integrationists, technology coordinators, school board, parents, and community members:
- When is the last time you discussed what you are blocking and why? As the instructional leader, do you even know? What do students and teachers wish they had access to?
- Does your filtering software give you granular enough control to solve some of your issues with overblocking? Do you even know what the settings are?
- Are you letting fear and control issues override your opportunities to empower students and teachers?
- Are you penalizing the vast majority because of concerns about the behavior of a few?
- Do you have enough bandwidth?
- If you’re overly restrictive compared to others, how can you start thinking about this differently?
- Could you loosen up for a couple of weeks as a pilot and see how it goes? You might be surprised at how few problems occur…
- And so on… Here are some talking points that can help.
If these data apply to your particular school or district, get in touch. We can help!
Clarity surveys will be available twice this year: Oct/Nov and Apr/May. You can do either or both; whatever makes sense for you. Stay tuned for more info!