Another lesson failed by the filter …

Most schools have them, most teachers and students hate them. Internet filters.

This morning I spent two hours creating what I think is a pretty great mini-project for my Year 8 students. It’s based on the online game ‘Machinarium’ … using it as a stimulus for creative writing. Here is the outline of the project: steam-punk

I set the task as an edmodo assignment for my Year 8 class this morning. And guess what I saw when I logged-in to see how they went with it? A message telling me the game was BLOCKED by the filter. I can’t tell you how frustrating this is as an educator trying to use new media and digital/mulitmedia in her classroom. I’m not even in the classroom today and I’m still working hard to give the kids an engaging and effective project to complete … argghhh!! I know I should check these things before hand, I know there are processes to follow in order to have the site unblocked … but these things just add another layer of work for teachers. No wonder so many teachers just think ‘screw that, I’m sticking with my text book and worksheets‘.

OK, rant over. Of course the students can play the game at home and still complete the task on Monday, but that’s not the point. I know we’ve all got to live in a filtered world, I just had to share my frustration (and sympathies) with you all.


19 thoughts on “Another lesson failed by the filter …

  1. Reblogged this on Tommy found a real book. and commented:
    Bianca Hewes on the frustrations of being too creative for your school’s internet filter. FYI I tried her lesson plan and followed the link to find the same result! It does raise interesting points about filtering, but also, as Bianca acknowledges in her post, about us preparing fully for lessons that are outside of the general scheme of things.
    It is a fantastic lesson idea, I hope she gets the site unblocked at manages to teach it!

  2. I completely understand your frustration. I was using a site which had documentary clips classed as being suitable for classrooms. I thought it was brilliant. Uploaded onto edmodo. Kids were blocked from the site. I almost wept…..

    • Doesn’t it just make you NOT want to try something like this again? I can totally empathise with teacher who can’t be bothered anymore. There’s only so many slammed doors one face can take.

      • I know!! I’m just trying to work out the best way to copy and share video clips. I saved some in my edmodo library for a film shots test, but our school internet moved at its snail-pace and a 4 minute clip was going to take each student 55mins to download! Arggghhhhhh!!! Still trying to figure out best way around that! I’m thinking of saving each file to a couple of USBs and passing them around to the students to copy to their desktops. Any advice? Anything to avoid the stupid internet blocking!

      • Have you tried SchoolTube? I don’t think that is blocked by the DEC filter. Fingers crossed that works for you! 🙂

  3. I totally identify with this! I found a site at home to use with my top class, linked to Edmodo, developed my lesson around it today – only to find it blocked when I went to class. Grrrrr. This happens TOO often.. hours of my life I won’t get back. Makes me wonder why I perservere – and yet I do. Monday’s another day…

    • You’re right – it is another day. And tomorrow (which is Monday) the teacher replacing me will be teaching at the front of the class with a whiteboard and marker. Boring. Like she said, ‘Maybe I should bring the quills with me too.’

  4. I feel your pain! Many of times this has happened to me. Coolest lesson, funnest project organised and then at school in your lesson the dreaded: miss the website is blocked…. Followed by a freak out, then an anger response, then the quickly coming up (within a minute) with a solution or just a totally different lesson (yes us teachers are clever and can think on their feet)
    Damn you filter. Me no like you.

  5. And then there are some school districts that allow everything-including Facebook. My stance on Facebook is that it is NOT appropriate for student/teacher interaction-that’s what Edmodo is for!!!

    • Yeah, you’re right – edmodo definitely is the place for teacher-student interaction. I do think that life would continue if we had no filter at all. The world wouldn’t end.

      • The annoying thing is that there appears to be no rhyme or reason to the blocking! Some dodgey sites are wide open, and specifically educational sites are blocked!

  6. I recall when I was in high school, we spent more time figuring out ways around the filters than we did on the sites. Being a media student sucked when they had blocked YouTube and a plethora of sites that were really useful to us. About to be a media teacher and dreading the filters once again!

    • I know that most of the students at my school doing media studies use the teacher’s log-in (if student is trustworthy) or TAFE accounts to access the necessary sites online. Not ideal, but an obvious work-around.

  7. Hi there,
    I’ve had that happen too many times in the past to be caught out by it these days. Always have to check before putting the sites up on moodle, just to make sure the kids can access them at school if they want to catch up on work in the library, or something like that.
    But yes! You are very right: it is extremely frustrating to find things blocked. What is more frustrating is finding things blocked when they were previously UNblocked. That is a real problem…or was a couple of years ago for me.
    Hope you’ve put in for the unblocking.
    Good luck with everything!

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