Friday, July 1, 2011

I am Giving Up.

I am tired.  I am frustrated.  I (we) have failed.  I am giving up....... and I am ashamed of it.

I have made a difficult decision.  It goes against a lot of what I believe.  It goes against a lot of what I have been reading and what the big names in educational technology have been saying but I think I have to do it anyways.  With the support of my administration I am getting our internet content filter back.  We will be blocking YouTube and Facebook (as well as other similar sites).

I have failed because we have been unable to teach the students to use our internet responsibly.  When logging into a computer it was very common for students to start by firing up a YouTube video, logging into Facebook, and then finally getting down to their real work.  In the meantime they were not focused on their actual assignment.  It was not just a few bad apples.  It was a large percentage of the students.  I know because I have spent a lot of time using the monitoring software.  Many students would only bring up their work when the teacher was nearby.  I know how easy it is to hide.

Facebook was also becoming a larger social issue.  Students were bullying over it and using it to organize fights.  We were not getting through to them when it came to digital citizenship and their online presence.  Yes I know that the students will still have access to Facebook on their cellphones.  (And for the record our no cellphone policy just sort of petered out - no formal end to it.  That is another story.)

YouTube was primarily a bandwidth issue.  Listening to music online was not a real problem - in fact it cut down on other management problems.  It is a shame to block online video because many of us do use it to teach with.  Myself I have about 70 math videos posted up.  It did not seem to matter how many time I explained our bandwidth problems, how many times I gave warnings, or how many times I suspended accounts.  Students were usually using YouTube for non-educational purposes.  They were using it a lot.

So is it permanent?  I sure hope not.  If I have my way we quit cold turkey and after a little while we start to reintroduce the sites teaching responsibility as we go.

Needless to say I have given up.  I am tired of the daily fight and once again I am ashamed.  What a great way to end the year.