bluefluff's blue fluff

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Blogs under threat

I'n blogging this here, because it's far too important to be tucked away in the academic discussions on my H806 blog.
Thanks to my fellow student Lesley for finding this.

Will Richardson, self-styled "blogvangelist" & promoter of blogs & similar internet technology for enriching classroom learning*, reports a very disturbing development in some USA school districts. School networks been blocked from accessing any material on blogs - where pupils were publishing their projects, interacting with fellow pupils around the world, having fun while they learned together in a way that prepared them for the 21st century world.

Not only that, but it seems the ban extends to any site that's 'within three clicks of a porn site'. As Richardson comments, all this does is demonstrate the ignorance of those issuing the rules, since Google gets you there in two...

Have a look at the unfolding story & see if it makes you gape in disbelief the way it did me.

I've been shut down
The "3 click rule" challenge
It gets worse

So here we are, on the verge of a revolution in communication & learning, & the next generation is being shut out of it? In the land of the free? Yeah, right.

*Here's a UK-based project of his:
Back from Britain


  • At 05 March, 2006 18:44, Blogger kat said…

    Bluebuff, I have been faced with quite a bit of opposition to blogs ( for adults never mind children ) , based on the fact that someone may click on an outside link and come across something to do with sex. I have a standard reply to it which includes a discussion on whether we should ban email and cut ourselves of from it, based on the fact that people may be sent spam containing adverts for Viagra, body extensions and the like. We don't want to be associated with that sort of thing now do we? Perhaps we shouldn't be using the Internet at all let alone introducing it to others.!!
    It is obvious to me that people, including children, should be taught how to use things safely and responsibly rather than protected from it all by ignorant fools. I am constantly amazed by the number of people who are still opposed to the Internet and yet know so little about it. They need to be educated re its benefits. They don't understand the educational benefits of blogs or the pedagogy. Also I think they have difficulty in adapting to the times and they are too worried about their corporate image. :-)

  • At 06 March, 2006 21:13, Blogger Bluefluff said…

    Good to be back, after my little attack of paranoia! The Error 403s people were getting for my blog were a glitch - scary, though, to be "forbidden" straight after blogging on this topic.

    It gave me a little taste of how distressed those kids & teachers must have felt on finding their access to their work (their own intellectual property, in fact) arbitrarily blocked overnight.

    I recommend a read of the comments on Nog's coverage of this story, especially Methel's.

  • At 06 March, 2006 21:47, Blogger methel said…

    bluefluff - you made a link to my post on Nog's blog before I could!! I wanted to say here what Kat has just said so eloquently. Why aren't people finding out first and then doing something about teaching others how not to end up at the sex sites or the religious rantings sites or whatever it is that upsets them so? Cars are dangerous and can kill kids but we don't ban them we teach kids road safety and, eventually, how to drive them safely!! Where did we lose the plot on this?? If we isolate kids form the 'dangerous'internet in school how will they know how to use it when they meet it outside school. Would be nice to see some people in town halls across the globe expending some energy taking responsibility for teaching our kids not taking time to do nothing but cover their own backs for things that need never happen.

    Oh, and yes, before anyone tells me I don't understand the pressures teachers are under, I am a qualified primary school teacher albeit no longer in active service.

    Not muttering today but MAD!

  • At 06 March, 2006 23:14, Blogger kat said…

    I don't think you can convince anyone about the benefits of blogging or any form of online learning for that matter, until you have convinced them that learning isn't about total control - at least not the teacher's or establishment's total control.

    Pleased you've got your blog back, Bluefluff.

  • At 07 March, 2006 14:00, Blogger Nogbad said…


  • At 07 March, 2006 14:32, Blogger kat said…

    Oh! Is it your birthday?

    Happy Birthday to you.

    Happy Birthday to you..........

  • At 07 March, 2006 14:48, Blogger Hazeofpink said…

    Happy Birthday!!! Hope it's a good one :-)

  • At 07 March, 2006 17:09, Blogger Bluefluff said…

    Thank you for the birthday wishes :-)

  • At 07 March, 2006 21:07, Blogger methel said…

    when I was a kid we used to sing 'squashed tomatoes and stew and bread and butter in the gutter'!! Maybe I should bring the song up to date and get some more of that lovely octopus salad specially for you today ;-) Hope you had a great day!

  • At 12 March, 2006 21:12, Blogger Arthur Dent said…

    I encourage the use of Blogs by my students as both a medium for self-expression, and a means to sharpen general communication skills. My high-school level bloggers are doing quite well, but it's a lot of work convincing the younger ones that there is more to blogging that posting screen-shots from Halo 2 and pictures of tuner cars.
    I communicate with them, they communicate with each other, it's all good, but they have all been clearly warned that any inappropriate conduct on their blogs (bullying, threats, porn, glorification of drugs and alcohol, etc.) will be met with: a) a request from me to the site hoster to pull it down (has happened twice) b) suspension of their account from my network for a period of time determined on a case by case basis. They understand that if they can't log on to the LAN at school, it's going to pretty tough to get their work done.

    We just need to teach them the rules of responsible use first, then let 'em go. It works pretty well. The larger problem I'm having in regards to content, is with Piczo sites, where kids in other schools are copy/pasting content from all over the place and it's being accessed on my network. has been VERY helpful in this matter, and has pulled down numerous sites I have found links to in caches and history files. We can manage to stay on top of things by monitoring several individuals, and reporting content as necessary to the service providers who usually have a clearly stated erms of Service agreement. When a user violates it, WHAMMO, all it takes is one e-mail explaining my position at the school, and a link to the objectionable content.


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