July 25, 2011

USA Today reports on web restrictions, social media in education

Posted by Dr. Laura Guertin

Two interesting articles appeared in the July 25, 2011, edition of USA Today:

Web restrictions draw ire of some educators

Social media find place in classroom

I work with K-12 in-service teachers, helping them with their Earth Science content knowledge and finding them excellent online resources containing images and videos to authentic data sets.  As voiced in these articles, I, too, am frustrated that sites such as flickr and YouTube are blocked from classrooms.  The EPA and Smithsonian have their photos in flickr, and the Discovery Channel has videos in YouTube – all significant sources that can be effective contributors to classroom learning.  I was appalled to learn that National Geographic is banned in some schools.  National Geographic – really???

I appreciate the comments in the articles that state banning websites that can serve an educational purpose is really no different than banning books.  I encourage everyone to read these articles, think about Banned Books Week by the American Library Association, and stay tuned for what libraries and other school teachers/staff are organizing for this fall, a Banned Sites Day/Week.  Decide for yourself how banning websites in schools relates to intellectual freedoms, the First Amendment, and the power of information (delivered via technology).