One point that Chase specifically mentioned as important was “Keeping user profiles limited so that software cannot be installed and the continual monitoring of files and emails for inappropriate content.” There is, however, an unfortunate side effect to this monitoring. Legitimate and useful sites are also being blocked to both student and teachers of the Phoenix Elementary School District (PESD). In the United States, Kindergarten-12th grade schools are required by law to add filters to blocks sites obscene and harmful to minors. This requirement comes from a federal law enacted by congress called the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). This law is indeed important for the safety of children at school. However, it only requires that there is sufficient monitoring it does not specify what specific sites should be monitored. Therefore it is up to the school to decide.
An example of a possibly legitimate site that is currently being blocked by PESD and many other schools is YouTube. This is blocked for both teachers and students. YouTube contains helpful how-to videos, current events, and educational content that could prove a valuable asset. While it is true that offensive content can be found on YouTube, we submit that at least the teachers should have access to YouTube, web 2.0, and other legitimate sites. They should also be able to grant access to their students on a case-by-case basis.
If the technology department does not feel like the teachers are educated enough to be in charge of their students’ and their own online safety, it would be a good idea to provide online safety training for the teachers. Because online threats are always changing and growing, this traini...
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...ict it may take days for someone come on site to assist. A quick solution to this issue would be to hire more technology staff. They might even want to hire on-call technicians instead of fulltime staff, as long as there is somebody available to assist the faculty and staff when needed.
If they are truly limited in the amount of staff they can hire, they may want to lighten the load of the workers by investing in cloud computing. For example, the free Google Apps for Educators could lighten the load tremendously. This service, provided by Google, gives teachers and even students email, Google Docs, web site creation, and scheduling all for free. This could eliminate the need for expensive email and document servers and software. More importantly, it could take the focus off of server administration and more on teacher and staff technology development.
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