Posted by: crudbasher | May 14, 2013

The End Of School Internet Filtering

(cc) Will Montague

(cc) Will Montague

If you use a school network to access the Internet, chances are you are subject to filtering of the sites you visit. Some schools do this very lightly and only block explicit sites. Other schools are very heavyhanded and even block Facebook and Youtube. This may go back to our desire to overprotect our children I suppose. (see Are Schools Producing Fragile People?) No matter what the reason, those days of filtering are finite in number. Samsung has given a preview of 5G network technology. They claim speeds of up to 100 times faster than 4G when it comes out in 2020.

Having been around technology for a long time I doubt the speeds will actually roll out that fast but even so, it should be a substantial jump in performance. I find that 4G is fast enough for most of what I do today but of course applications will always emerge to take advantage of the increased performance. What matters is that even 4G is plenty fast enough to do web browsing from your phone or tablet in a classroom. This gets around school web filtering.

2020 is 7 years away, which is longer than smartphones have been around. Imagine what they will be capable of by then. They will have a direct, high speed connection onto the web and schools won’t have any say in where the student goes. Instead it will be up to whatever morals the parents have instilled, which is the way it should be.

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Responses

  1. Wait, what? Teachers are supposed to rely on the morals that the parent’s have instilled? Can I have a ticket to the Utopia that you teach in?

    I’m not in favor of filtering. It limits what we can do in classrooms. I also however am not of leaving everything in the hands of the parent’s morals. Middle school is a place where students are challenged to be themselves and discover who they are. Relying on paren’t morals would be great but even the best middle school parental morals will be challenged.

    I would argue that the real challenge is for teachers to help craft productive digital citizens while creating engaging and real world lessons. Will students be pulled off task? Sure. I get pulled off task (like responding to a blog post when I need to finish lesson plans).

    I love the possibility of unfiltered access. I love the possibility of every student bringing a device to class. I love the possibility of creating lessons that will inspire students to use the tool for good, even in the challenging middle school years.

    Thanks for reading my 2 cents.

    • Lol ok Ben, point made. Yes, giving an unfiltered Internet connection to a middle schooler is probably unwise. By 2020, I am sure there will be (if there aren’t already) filters that can be put on the phones themselves, however these would be set by the parents (assuming a BYOD situation). My point is, the schools won’t be the choke point anymore.

      I will meet you halfway on this. Since schools have the kids for so many hours a day, they inevitably will have some input into what kids can access. However, would you agree that parents have to be involved for the other hours they aren’t at school?

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I’m a System Administrator for a mid sized district. The main reason we filter beyond explicit material, especially youtube, is bandwidth management. We have 200mb of access and 8000 students. Even with youtube for education turned on youtube eats up 35%+ of our bandwidth. The less non education related things people are able to do the faster the education related things will work. As far as I’m concerned what kids do on their devices is a classroom management issue, while bandwidth management is an IT department issue.


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