Thursday, December 6, 2012

One-On-One Learning

I have no idea how much we've talked about this in school, but I'm going to talk about it again. Why do we have computers if we're not allowed to go on half the sites because they're in the "general", "forum", or "teacher-safe" categories. When we go to college, we're going to be thrown into an totally different environment where we have the freedom to roam the internet whenever we please. We're not going to have the practice or know how to control ourselves from going to other sites. We're going to be little guppies thrown into a tank full of sharks.

First off, being blocked from sites because they're categorized as general? This should not be allowed. Our high school students are between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. We are being treated like adolescent children by blocking us from those sites. If you're a student on your school computer, go to Google and type in squid. Click enter. Look at that. A blue page pops up saying, "Sorry, squid is an unacceptable search." What.

Second. Referring back to Google, you know what drives me nuts? How if you search something in Google images, half the pictures are blocked. How are we supposed to find good pictures for presentations? And this goes back to just regular Google Search. Half of these sites are blocked, so how are we supposed to research if these sites are blocked? Less than half the student body has passwords to college sites or sites like Gale and Ebsco to use for research.

Lastly, and I know I've stated this plenty of times in my past and especially this year, but how are we expected to act like adults if we're still treated like children? I am a senior in high school, and sophomores and freshmen have the same privileges as me. I don't know about you, but I think there's a serious problem with this issue. We've talked about this numerous times in our college comp class, but I just want to restate this in hope that things might somewhat change for the future juniors and seniors at Okoboji High School. Juniors and seniors should have more privileges than freshmen and sophomores. I would suggest opening up more sites for juniors and seniors. Teach us how to control ourselves by allowing us to go to other sites on our own but not actually doing so. Then with this practice, we would be more ready for college.

I could probably go on and on about this issue, but I know that many of you who are reading this have already talked about this a ridiculous amount. But if one of our school board members or even one of tech guys are reading this, take this into consideration. I'm not one who normally complains about our school, but I think this is a large problem that we have, and that if we truly want to ready students for college then we need to give them more opportunities to control our "needs" to go to other sites.


  1. I'll be sure to share it with the proper readers, Maddie. :)

  2. Maddie,
    I appreciate your comments and concerns. You raise some excellent points here. Let me start with what I agree with.
    1. High schoolers should be treated more and more like adults and we should pull back the reigns as students get older. We are preparing you for the next step in which you have to be able to self regulate, manage time, etc. This is the reason we have instituted things like open campus for seniors.

    2. Our computer network should be as open as we can legally, ethically, and responsibly allow it to be. Several of the search limitations you mentioned do seem out of whack. Unfortunately most students don't take the opportunity to let us know about the problems they are having. Complaining to each other without ever addressing concerns constructively with those who have the ability to change things never gets anywhere. Unfortunately it is a tactic adults too often take as well and then complain that no one ever listens. I would love to sit down with students and hear their ideas and work together to make the system work better for everyone.

    Now to clarify a couple of things:
    1. Most results on Google image search that do not come up are coming from sites that are blocked. We have a filter (as we by law have to and by standards should) to protect students from inappropriate web content (which is all too abundant) and protect our equipment from harm. As the filter improves to block out the bad stuff but let through the legitimate stuff, google image searches will improve as well. One caveat though, we need to do a better job of educating students on copyright and fair use laws as most of the images coming up on Google image searches are copyright protected.

    2. I don't want to lose sight of what we are doing right. There are a lot of 1:1 schools in Iowa. That being said, the majority still are not. In the entire state of Minnesota there are less than 10 public schools that provide an Internet connected device to their students. Many states have zero. Even before we went 1:1 we had more computers for student use than some 4A schools. We have been ahead of the curve on taking computers out of the lab and putting them in the hands of every student. Most students in America have far less access to technologically integrated education than we do here. Sometimes we lose sight of just how far ahead Okoboji High School is than the vast majority of the rest of the nation and world. Yes, we have a long way to go but we do need to recognize what a monumental shift we have asked teachers and students to make in the past few years.

    Thank you again for your post. I encourage you and others to be a part of the solution rather than just critics on the sidelines. You have the most progressive tech director I have ever worked with and he and I would both love to have regular discussions with representatives of the student body in order to work together to continuously improve all aspects of the educational experience we offer.

    Now, about the squid thing, that is nonnegotiable. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to search for information on squid.

    (Yes that was a joke)

    I apologize for spelling or grammar errors, I am writing this at 11pm on my iPad. 11pm to me is like 3am in teenage time

  3. I completely agree with you. I think that our school isn't the best with treating like us like adults in general. They expect to act like adults yet they refuse to recognize us in the same light? I think that if they truly want us to be adults they need to respect us like one.