How will we firefight when there's no water left?
Gordon has some Thoughts on Filtering which sets out why filtering 'unacceptable' websites is so difficult. I can't help feel, though, that he's mistitled his post, and that the attitude which is prevalent in school systems around the world still aims to the lowest common denominator of what's possible. Just ask the kids how high their expectations of us actually are, and you see how low we tend to aim.
It's not a criticism of Gordon, far from it, but is yet another post that sparks my desire to see Local Authorities in general up their game. We need to be writing posts entitled Thoughts on Media Literacy. It's not about shutting things down, firefighting technology as it sprouts, but rather it's about finding a meaningful long-term understanding of media literacy that stands up to whatever technological innovations happen in the next 'n' years.
Don't get me wrong, Local Authorities: please do block and filter any site you feel harbours inappropriate material, but, in the meantime, please work out what you're going to do to work towards opening those sites with some robust media literacy skills being taught across the curriculum, and find some robust punitive measures for those students and staff who choose to abuse their responsibilities.
If you're doing the former, and not doing the latter, then, as a parent (I've always wanted to say that :-) I think I might hold you accountable for not providing my child with the education she will require when she leaves school in 2025.
Confession: when I was in primary school I vandalised a cupboard with a rude word. Well, with a red pen, and I was only five years old. I didn't own up, and the teacher, Mrs O'Hare, didn't ban pens. But, in addressing the whole class, she made me feel that I never wanted to do it again.
Can we not have more Mrs O'Hares in our schools? I don't know what I would have done if she had banned me from using a pen, or asked me to tell her which words I wanted to write before applying myself. Yet, every day, that's what teachers and students are being asked to do while some managers fail to think about how they'll resolve this issue.