Internet Filtering Topic of Twitter Chat

August 12, 2009 1 min read

With just 140 characters per exchange, it’s hard for many to think of Twitter as a venue for vibrant discussion, particularly about a complicated subject. That didn’t stop dozens of educators and others from taking part in a Twitter chat yesterday, this one a lively debate about Internet filtering. I was following earnestly, since I am working on a story now about this topic.

You can follow some of it here.

Participants asked whether Internet filtering is too restrictive, why it often means students and teachers can’t access Web 2.0 tools—especially social networking sites—what kinds of useful, even vital, resources can’t be accessed because of blocking devices on school computers, and whether schools are doing students a disservice by not, instead, teaching them how to navigate the vast archive of good and bad materials online.

One tweet, for example, made this point:

I agree no filtering would be wrong. But so is over-filtering. There must be a happy medium that allows supervised access

The chat is a really good example of how educators are talking the problem out. I’m finding some districts already have had a pretty extensive discussion with all the interested parties—from students and parents to teachers and administrators—to come up with reasonable solutions. Several have decided to ease back on Internet restrictions or to set up procedures for getting useful sites and resources unblocked.

Is this discussion happening in your school or district? Is filtering working for teachers and students, or hindering the learning process?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.