16 Sep 2011
Watching Your Students—from 2007
Like many school districts that have computers with Internet access, there
are firewalls built into the system. These firewalls block students from accessing
porn, chat rooms, music lyrics that contain profanity, and many other sites that
are inappropriate for children and teens. Of course, no system is safe. In many
cases, students can override the firewall, and the firewall can also be over ridden
by the site the students attempt to access. There is no foolproof system in place
to protect kids (and teachers, who are charged with making certain kids are not
subjected to inappropriate web content), so teachers should put into place their
own classroom safeguards to prevent at the very least an embarrassing
situation, and at the most, censure by their employers.
Here are a few suggestions that can be effective:
Set up the computer center in the classroom so that it can be seen by the
teacher from all directions. Make certain you can see the monitors, and the
students cannot see you.
Set time limits on the computers to get assignments finished. Students will
be less likely to wander onto forbidden sites if they know their assignment is due
in twenty minutes, with no extension.
Have rules posted, such as No E-mailing Allowed and No Filling Out
Internet Forms. Give consequences, such as removal from the computer for a
certain time period.
Monitor students who are on the computers—be savvy; when you are not
looking, students will minimize the site you want them to use, and will quickly
maximize it over the one they want to go to. If you make it known to them that
you know what they are doing, they will think twice.
Computers are a wonderful tool to use to enhance learning and students
should be able to use them in an appropriate way. A few simple adjustments can
help make the experience pleasant for all.
Hercules Editing and Consulting
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