Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Kentucky Department of Education Makes Internet Access More Accessible through Proxy Server

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Kentucky Department of Education Makes Internet Access More Accessible through Proxy Server

Article excerpt

Recently, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) committed to providing its students and teachers with the quickest access possible to the Internet materials relevant to their educational level and interests. To that end, Kentucky Education Technology System (KETS) is funding the installation of Microsoft Proxy Server software in every school and district office in the state.

This move will enable the department to create local, regional and state electronic Web site libraries and to use the tracking, reporting, firewall and filtering capabilities in Proxy Server to help manage the sites' student access. In addition, Proxy Server will help schools comply with a recently passed Kentucky state law that requires every school to use the latest available technology to make it more difficult for students and adults to access noninstructional Internet sites.

According to David Couch, Kentucky Associate Commissioner for Education, Proxy Server was chosen to do much more than simply filter out unwanted sites. Its Active Intelligent Caching feature enables Proxy Server to automatically determine the most frequently used sites and preload that content into the cache, where it's instantly available for class lessons at the time the teachers and students need it. It will also enable teachers to download other content from the Internet to the local school ahead of time, so they don't have to worry about whether the Internet connection is up or the site is available when they start their lessons. As a result, each school will be able to create its own reliable electronic library of approved materials that are instantly available for class use and instruction.

When school customers request materials, Proxy Server first looks on the local school proxy workstation or file server. If the materials are not available at that location, it looks to the district office. If the district proxy server doesn't have the materials, MS Proxy Server searches the proxy servers at the state level. Only if that final search comes up empty will the user be routed to the Internet. This entire process is quick and transparent to end-users.

Supporting Acceptable Use and School-Level Decision-making

Choosing Proxy Server as part of its Internet strategy supports KDE's two primary goals. First, it makes it as easy as possible for teachers to access information reliably, while preventing teachers and students from accessing non-instructional sites. Second, it supports KDE's strong commitment to keeping decisions about which materials users have access to at the school level.

KDE has established a clear acceptable use policy, which every staff member and every student must sign before gaining access to computer resources. This policy governs the use of all school computer resources in the state and clearly specifies the types of Internet sites and electronic communications that are acceptable and the consequences for violating the policy.

In Kentucky, as in most states, each school makes decisions about library books and textbooks. …

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