I’m normally not one to quote such a significant chunk of an article, but these are direct quotes from the Department of Education’s Director of Education Technology, Karen Cator. They bear repeating and reblogging:
Accessing YouTube is not violating CIPA rules. “Absolutely it’s not circumventing the rules,” Cator says. “The rule is to block inappropriate sites. All sorts of YouTube videos are helpful in explaining complex concepts or telling a story, or for hearing an expert or an authentic voice — they present learning opportunities that are really helpful.”
Websites don’t have to be blocked for teachers. “Some of the comments I saw online had to do with teachers wondering why they can’t access these sites,” she says. “They absolutely can. There’s nothing that says that sites have to be blocked for adults.”
Broad filters are not helpful. “What we have had is what I consider brute force technologies that shut down wide swaths of the Internet, like all of YouTube, for example. Or they may shut down anything that has anything to do with social media, or anything that is a game,” she said. “These broad filters aren’t actually very helpful, because we need much more nuanced filtering.”
Schools will not lose E-rate funding by unblocking appropriate sites. Cator said she’s never heard of a school losing E-rate funding due to allowing appropriate sites blocked by filters. See the excerpt below from the National Education Technology Plan, approved by officials who dictate E-rate rules.
Kids need to be taught how to be responsible digital citizens. “[We need to] address the topic at school or home in the form of education,” Cator says. “How do we educate this generation of young people to be safe online, to be secure online, to protect their personal information, to understand privacy, and how that all plays out when they’re in an online space?”
Teachers should be trusted. “If the technology fails us and filters something appropriate and useful, and if teachers in their professional judgment think it’s appropriate, they should be able to show it,” she said. “Teachers need to impose their professional judgment on materials that are available to their students.”
A new Missouri law prohibiting teachers from having private online conversations with students suffered a double setback Aug. 26. First, a judge blocked it from taking effect because of free speech concerns. Then, the governor called for its repeal.
The law limiting teacher-student conversations through social networking sites such as Facebook had been scheduled to take effect Aug. 28. But Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem issued a preliminary injunction blocking it until at least February, saying the restrictions “would have a chilling effect” on free speech rights.
Good. This is a topic that should be addressed, but this all-out blanket approach doesn’t work.
Our state put this into place this year, too, and my first thought was, “Really? Isn’t that ILLEGAL?” I have never added current students as FB friends by personal choice because I do not want them to have access to that side of my private life, but I do not think that the government should have the right to meddle in teachers’ private, non-school-time, non-school-affiliated internet usage. That has struck me as an infringement of Constitutional freedoms. I am glad to see this issue being brought up for examination in the courts. Not everything that gets done to teachers is okay, contrary to popular opinion.
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