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Jan Hylen asks simple and sensible questions about the management of the
Net in The Resources Centre while Carole Carpenter fulminates about "the
which can be accessed" and says "We do not have e-mail and have no
plans to offer it to students..."

This is serious! Carole seems to have had a bad time and Jan is worrying
about the possibilities.
This is what I did:
I discussed the issues with people whose view I value such as the Head of
IT and a sensible deputy. I talked formally and informally with my
headmaster (Principal)  and proposed the following:
1. Unsuitable material is a problem on The Net but it has been overstated
by the Press (esp Time magazine)
2. Ultimately although we can filter out inappropriate sites we can't get
rid of the problem entirely.
3. The Internet is the best communications system of our age and we have a
duty to teach our students how to use it sensibly and responsibly.
4. We have an existing peronal and social education course and existing
information retrieval strategies (Big Six etc)
So we take several steps:
1. We load software on the terminals which records sites visited (Netscape
Global History) and connections made (PPP Report).
2. We make it clear that every Net user must a) log on with the librarian
before visiting the terminal, using the usual library card bar code with
Internet as the resource on loan     b) Complete an Internet Search Form
which includes name data and time, subject to be searched for, key words to
be used and a suggestion that the Net may not be the best resource. the
form also  contains advice on searching including "if you find something
which you would not be willing to show you teacher or parent them move on
quickly to another site."
3. We place the terminal in full view of the librarian and the loans desk.
4. We allow e-mail use by all students but      a) the signature includes a
line saying this is from pupils and anything inappropriate should be
forwarded to myself for action - "we care"     b) at the moment all e-mail
replies from the open access terminal are downloaded by me, later probably
by a trusty student.
5. I held a parents eveninng to discuss the issues, demonstrate not the
gee-whizz element of the Web but the practical down-to-earth curriculum use
of it. I emphasised the need for responsibility from pupils and showed how
this was an important feature of the hidden curriculum in our school.
6.  Finally I signalled that we would use "Surfwatch" if it proved
necessary but not until then. I trusted the students but if they betrayed
that trust hat's how I would deal with it - plus banning individuals from
the Resources Centre if necessary.

Currently we have one student (out of 1875) banned until Christmas - for
accessing the Pamela Anderson Home Page! He wasn't banned for that (though
he was egged on by fellow students who vanished when I popped up) but for
hogging the machine and looking at material which was at odds with his
intentions as stated in the Internet Search Form.

Personally I feel we have done enough to encourage responsible use. More
than many would think necessary, but enough to placate parents and about
right for my own piece of mind. In the end I have sold it as just another
resource - better in some ways, poorer in others. It's a mistake to
oversell it for it brings with it expectations which may not be fulfilled
(eg finding out simple answers to simple questions) and expectations which
may try to be fulfilled (like seearching for porn that they've heard exists
even though they wouldn't dream of looking for it elsewhere.)

Jan Hylen is welcome to consider this strategy but it sounds as if, for
Carole H. Carpenter it has come too late....

Let me quote the wise and experienced Stephen E Collins of Web66:
"Contrary to the trash printed in Time magzine and commonly rumored
in the general public, the Internet is not saturated with "bad stuff".
In fact, compared to everyday life, it is relatively quite difficult to
find violence, racism, hatred, and pornography on the net." and his signature:
The biggest danger to children on the Internet is FEAR MONGERS.

Too right!

For more good advice read Stephen Heppell's faq at

Sorry this is so long but there was a lot to say!

_/ Duncan Grey, Head of Resources | Hinchingb-pess@ bbcnc.org.uk      _/
_/ Hinchingbrooke School          | http://www.worldserver.pipex.com/ _/
_/ Huntingdon  UK  PE18 6BN       |          nc/Hinch/hinchhome.html  _/

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