In lieu of the confusion with the web filter inconsistently blocking Google Docs, the staff of the Knight Errant has come to the conclusion that enough is enough. The administration should employ an open Internet policy.
Not only would a new filter policy stop the current confusion, but it would also allow for easier access to content that many students would find both educational and necessary to completing assignments.
Sites such as MPR and Blogspot, sites that have value for the purposes of education, are blocked entirely. And the layout of other sites, such as BBC and Prezi, are transformed to an unreadable jumble of links.
These examples only serve to show how bulky and limiting the filter is. Without easy access to sites like these, the educational purposes that the laptops are intended to serve within the classroom are disrupted.
Teachers are unable to easily host online discussion boards. Research on current events becomes impossible for students when the websites don’t function properly. Creativity is stunted as students are forced to think inside the filter.
Yes, the filter does serve to prevent students from playing online games and accessing Facebook when they should be learning, and the school does have a responsibility to prevent minors within their walls from accessing inappropriate content.
Teachers are already monitoring the Internet activity of students. This safety net is already in place to prevent students from irresponsibly using their computer and Internet privileges.
We agree that indecent content should not be allowed to be accessed from within the school, and a spared down version of the filter should remain to perform this task. We are not asking the school to trust the student body so much that they don’t set any limits.
Bandwidth is another issue to consider. However, “Sink the Ship Day” proved that even when all the stops were pulled, and nearly every student accessed bandwidth-hogging websites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Pandora, the server could withstand everything that the student body could throw at it.
It just makes very little sense to continue blocking the websites that students want, and sometimes need, to access on a daily basis. The school gave us these tools; now it’s time for them to let us use our laptops to their full potential.