If you’ve been following my blog or know me personally, you probably have figured out that I am an advocate of the use of ICTs, especially in schools. I believe that schools should have NO blocks to the Internet. Here are a few advantages of unblocking the Internet at school:
- teachable moments – unblocking will allow for educating our young citizens on digital citizenry and online ethics – let’s face it, a good majority of them are online outside of school anyway. Shouldn’t we be authenticating that experience at school? YES! Shouldn’t we be taking the opportunity to show them great ways to use ICTs for education, social networking etc? YES!
- authenticity – a school with lots of blocked sites shows students that there is a lack of trust and a very narrow minded view of Internet use at the school. Imagine the average (high school) student who has access to the Internet outside of school and then feels Internet-isolated at school…..what would you think? where would you prefer to work/play? Not at school, obviously!
- enhanced learning – this links to the authenticity point. There is a lot of content at school that could be enhanced and made more interesting, authentic and “real” by the inclusion of web2.0 tools.
- alternatives – “all they want to do is play games”. A common complaint heard by teachers regarding student’s use of computers. If teachers used fun, interesting and new ways to embed ICTs within the curriculum, then students can see the advantages of using these types of web2.0 tools outside of school. Personally, I don’t have a problem with gaming; I believe it teaches a lot of good skills; however, there should be a balance and I believe that balance could start at school.
- teacher learning – teachers lean ways to embed ICTs in relevant, authentic and interesting ways for students. It’s a win-win situation!
- for management ease – far easier to teach Netiquette and digital citizenry then to have to manage blocking new sites all the time and monitoring whether students have out-smarted the block!