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Hi everyone,

I've just posted a blog entry in response to recent posts by Wesley 
Fryer and Miguel Guhlin regarding online censorship in schools. Some 
school districts in Texas and elsewhere have started blocking all Web 
content that uses the word (replace the @ with an "a" and 
you'll know the word I mean - I don't want this message blocked by 
filters either.) This website has become a magnet of controversy as of 
late, and it's reached the point where mere mention of it is taboo. This 
filtering is preventing educational bloggers and teachers from 
discussing MySp@ce in any context, whether it relates to child safety, 
media literacy or another topic. Miguel has even started to organize an 
online protest campaign.

A bit from my blog:

As Miguel notes on his blog, important educational blogs like Wesley's 
site and the techLEARNING blog are getting censored arbitrarily because 
they are trying to raise awareness about sites like MySp@ce, encouraging 
critical examinations by educators and a greater emphasis on media 
literacy. To engage in a constructive debate about sites like this, you 
have to mention them. And preferably link to them. And these acts are 
getting bloggers banned by schools.

While I strongly am against any form of censorship, I am thoroughly 
disgusted by school districts that allow their filters to prevent 
educators from engaging in professional discourse. I have lost track of 
the number of times that I've posted a message to my WWWEDU discussion 
list and received a bunch of autoreplies from school districts saying 
that teachers there won't be reading my post because they contain 
"inappropriate content." Usually, these posts have to do with cases of 
school filtering censorship, controversial sites like MySp@ce or other 
media literacy-related challenges faced by the modern educator. The 
filtering software used to supposedly protect children is preventing 
educators from taking an active role in understanding and discussing the 
complexities of Internet use in the classroom. Schools may claim "in 
loco parentis" when describing filters used to protect children. But 
what are they trying to protect teachers from? Being better users of 
technology? Being responsible, informed educators?

...The whole thing reminds me of Those We Don't Speak Of, the mysterious 
creatures in M. Night Shyamalan's film, The Village. The parents of the 
village were so paranoid about their children coming to harm's way that 
they wouldn't even say the name of the creatures that were supposedly 
lurking in the local forest. We seem to have reached that point in 
education - where politicians and administrators are so paranoid that 
educators can't even speak the names of things that may lurk in the 
virtual forest, lest their students be corrupted by mere mention of them....

The Internet is indeed our civic space - my space, your space. *Our 
space.* How can educators educate our children to use the Internet as 
responsible 21st century citizens when we can't even speak about the 
things that might affect them?

Read the full blog entry:


digg link:

Andy Carvin
acarvin (at) edc . org
andycarvin (at) yahoo . com

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