I am so tired of reading messages in my email (from one of the lists I subscribe to) that something can’t be opened at school or a link is blocked. This is one reason I don’t use my school account to subscribe to lists and other subscriptions services (nings, newsgroups, etc.) While these are directly related to my job as a professional, and therefore perfectly within the expected normal usage of an email school account, I don’t use my school account this way.
Why? A lot has to do with wanting school email to be strictly “school” content. Getting tons of email not related to school can distract me and make me less focused on getting “school” tasks done. But this has little to do with my, um, “rant” for lack of a better word. I cringe with a wee bit of disgust when I read that someone can’t open an attachment or can’t see a website because of the use of a filter in their district. WHAT?
Come on people–this is a mere conversation with the right people in your district office. If a site is worthwhile in sharing, then by-golly it is worthwhile to take a stand for it–to learn its merits and represent it in an educational context to the powers that be. Don’t just assume because it is blocked you need to whine back to all the subscribers about it being blocked. Instead, visit the policies in place to see how to request a site be unblocked.
“This should be blocked!”
We’ve all said this. I’m sure MANY of us have submitted sites that were NOT blocked to be locked up tight by our technology folks at the big office. What is so scary about asking for something to be unblocked? All that might happen is you fail to get a site available. Just as most districts require a lesson plan and identified standards with a request to view videos in the classroom, you must take the same approach to requesting material be unblocked, be it a website or an attachment in your email.
Ask. You just night receive.
Present the concept formally (either in a face to face meeting) or informally, like in an email. But ground the need in standards based education and focus on the benefits to students and teachers alike. Stop taking filtered content as a brick wall that can’t be gotten around (like most of the kids do despite the best filters.) Instead educate the powers that be of the educational benefits and see what happens. In all likelihood, you will get the requested material opened (though I wouldn’t dare venture a guess how long that will take.) The worst that can happen is the request is refused. But until educators begin making higher level members of the educational food-chain aware, nothing will change. You just might be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
Can’t never could
Finally, QUIT filling my inbox with silly messages that read as whining because something is blocked due to the policies in your district. Too bad–so sad. Do something about it instead…