Don't Filter out Responsibility: The Use of Web Filters Runs Counter to 21st-Century Learning

By Weinstock, Jeff | T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), June 2008 | Go to article overview

Don't Filter out Responsibility: The Use of Web Filters Runs Counter to 21st-Century Learning


Weinstock, Jeff, T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)


"Over there, thanks to solid teaching, the filters are in the students' heads."

THE PROBLEM WITH WRITING A COLUMN is that you're led to say in 500 prim and overly manicured words what someone can lay bare in a single sparse, extemporaneous sentence, full of truth and nothing but.

Even there I did it. I should have just said, well, at least someone agrees with me about not blaming the tools for the sins of the users (www.thejournal. com/articles/22169)--because someone does: the Finns.

Last month, in our story on the use of web filters to keep students away from unsafe online content, Julie Walker, executive director of the American Association of School Librarians (www.ala.org/aasl/), noted that she had recently traveled to Finland, where she found that educators have a different approach to ensuring responsible internet use: They don't enforce it, they teach it--and because they teach it, they don't have to enforce it. According to Walker, most computers in Finnish schools don't have web filters. As she said, "Over there, thanks to solid teaching, the filters are in the students' heads."

Teaching kids to govern themselves is what we ought to be doing, not having their visits to the school library or computer lab chaperoned by web filters. Would that not be the truer expression of the cornerstone of 21st-century education: student-directed experiences? …

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