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Image Block-Try Again!

September 8, 2012

In my classroom I like to try and use technology as the teacher as much as I can.  But what’s more, is that I encourage my students to use it even more.  I want them to use different search engines to locate resources when writing about “change” in my class.  I want them to use images when they are working on a joint social studies/language arts assignment.  These are great thoughts.  My peers understand this…my administrators understand this…the parents of my students understand this.

So what’s the issue?  Frustration is the issue.

We are expected to prepare our students to be connected to the world in this global age…

Businessman Connect World

Image from:

I want to know why my school district has such stringent blocks on internet sites at school.  I get it…students have to be supervised while using the computers.  And I get it…before I allow students the freedom to search I need to tell them about appropriate search engines and procedures.  And yet still, if my students want to get images of the Panama Canal they are abruptly stopped when they try to cut/past or save an image.

Last week, using the Diigo assignment, I was able to find “ways around” the blocked images.  But I feel like I am doing something wrong (and I probably am).

If Bill Gates can give school districts millions and millions of dollars to find better ways of evaluating teachers (which is an entirely different conversation), why can’t he give a fraction of that to find a way where my students are not stonewalled when they are searching for images.  And I’m not just talking about clip art.

If you are a teacher, I would like to know what your thoughts are.  Does your school/district have strict policies?

A penny for your thoughts.

Image from


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  1. Wow, you would really enjoy reading a posting on Scott McLeod’s blog Dangerously Irrelevant entitled “Internet Safety Talking Points”
    (if you haven’t already!).
    Great issues you brought up: the often perceived unfairness in educational funding & obstacles in the way of learning…often made by people meaning to do good and help!
    I don’t have the answers though!!!!

  2. Hey Mike –

    I really enjoyed reading your blog and found it to be extremely relevant to your audience. 😛

    I agree that it can sometimes be frustrating, as a teacher or a student, to be blocked when trying to fully utilize the Internet and it’s unfathomable resources! One thing I find difficult is finding relevant videos to use in class. A lot of schools in Orange County block YouTube all together. Once again, I get it – there are definitely videos on the site that would not be appropriate for school. But, there are also so many amazing educational resources on YouTube that would be so beneficial in a classroom. TeacherTube is one resource to use, although there’s not as many videos on that site. There are also ways to download videos from YouTube and then be able to watch them in class.

    Even if you can access a photo or video, then we gotta worry about copyright laws and infringement! Teachers can get away with a lot via the Fair Use part of the law, but it’s still very complicated and difficult to navigate at times.

    I think overall, the Internet and its many websites and blogs and digital archives, have provided teachers with more, not less, tools and resources to use in the classroom. We may not have full access to everything the Internet has to offer, but it’s certainly a lot more than we would have had at our disposal 50 years ago.

  3. Hey Mike,

    I understand both your frustration and also feeling like you are doing something wrong while trying to be the most efficient and effective educator possible while also not infringing on copyright laws, etc.

    I used to teach high school art and I had a digital media section that met in the computer lab. Despite firewalls, one day I had a student that printed about 400 pages of “babysitter porn” from a site online to our lab printer (i remember the specif type of pornography because I am scarred for life). I’m pretty much positive that the student just did it to be funny, but our system was not set up to advise us which computer the files were sent from and a simple “delete browser history” removed any cookie crumb trail that could have provided me with an ID on the culprit. Imagine the ensuing fun when administration advised me that as we could not identify the student, all of my class would be banned from using the internet for the remainder of the year… in a digital media class.

    I definitely understand the need for protecting our students and I definitely understand the frustrations this creates. Here comes my if-only statement… if only we could treat our students like adults and they could treat school with respect, then perhaps these issues wouldn’t be as prevalent. In the meantime, stay away from the computers! Just kidding.

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