Friday November 16, 2012
At the last school board meeting in October, the challenges of the One to One laptop filtering system were discussed as well as potential solutions. The primary issue with the filtering system that was implemented this year, (while the school network has always been filtered, the District did not install home filtering software on the 8th and 9th grade computers last school year) is that it has substantially slowed down the computer’s ability to connect to the school’s network from home, creating a host of issues for students trying to complete assignments in a timely fashion.
To that end, at the November 7th school board meeting assistant superintendent Winton Goodrich presented a draft letter and accompanying form to send to parents regarding actions being taken to remedy this problem and the choices available regarding filtering at home.
According to Goodrich, the District has taken the following measures to address student safety and computer speed: “On October 24th, we upgraded all grade 7-10 laptops with the newest version of filtering software. Our pilot test demonstrated improved computing speed, but filtering remains at the same level.”
Additionally, in the letter sent home to parents, it is noted that the District will be providing “all grade 9 and 10 parents with links to two different videos that will provide guidance on how to install a free home filter solution (OpenDNS) and, using a “no tech” option, creating other parent oversight strategies. This tutorial will enable parents to set filtering standards consistent with your family values.” Tech savvy 12th grader and CEO of the non-profit organization, Tech 4 Tomorrow, Neel Desai created both videos.
Between November 8th and the 21st all SBHS parents will be asked to complete an online form or to print and submit a paper copy of the form which allows parents/guardians to choose one or more of several suggested options for helping ensure that students use the internet responsibly and safely, including continuing the use of the District’s internet filter at home. However, Goodrich noted that the home filter may degrade internet performance in households.
Further actions include: removing the District’s home filtering software for all 9th and 10th grade students on November 21st except for those who have either requested that the filter be maintained or those who have not yet informed the District regarding their preference. The District home filter will remain in place for all grades 7 and 8 laptops though.
“The two-week November time frame should provide families with adequate time to install the free OpenDNS home filtering software if desired, or to implement other strategies for ensuring responsible student use of the Internet. Please bear in mind that if you use the OpenDNS software, it will be applied to your entire home network, including smart phones that access the Internet via a home Wi-Fi system” Goodrich said.
“Deciding not to use filtering software at home is also an option, instead choosing to provide other “no-tech” solutions (e.g., requiring computer use in a common place or establishing a contract with your child).”
SOURCE: COREY BURDICK