Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lookie Ma! They're Nekkid!

I am a truly conflicted individual.

On one hand, as a refugee from the corporate wars, I'm a total techno-geek as a teacher and firmly believe that my students needs as much time as possible on the computer so they can get out there, get jobs, and pay taxes.

On the other hand, I know that turning a bunch of seventh graders loose on laptops with an internet connection is the sort of activity that makes teachers think that scotch is one of the major food groups and a perfectly adequate thing to have for supper.

With some soda water, of course.

Mrs. Language and I are doing a cross-curriculum Science/Language Arts research and writing project. It's a fantastic idea, really, and the kids seem to be getting into it. The first week they get to spend their time researching, using books, the computers, etc., to find out information on their selected topic which happens to be severe weather. Face it, kids love disasters and the chance to write about tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and other violent weather events is right up their alley. However, this also means that we're combining our two classes into one reference room and trying to keep them quiet and on task.

This is proving to be more of a challenge than I thought it would be. Usually my kids are pretty quiet and focused when they're on a computer, but apparently the end of testing, and with summer just a few short weeks away, warm weather and hormones, it's hard to get their attention focused anywhere it should be. Which is on things like tornadoes.

Case in point.

This morning during our first class, one of our girls, Goth Girl to be specific, let out a whoop that caught our attention. It wasn't the sort of whoop one hears when a kid has stumbled on a website listing the various levels of the Fujita scale. It's the kind of whoop a kid lets out when they've discovered something they problably shouldn't have.

Like the fact that you can go to Google, search for images by typing in the word "playgirl" and you'll get pictures of lots of naked men.

Which get by the district "banned" list because, after all, you're not on the Playgirl site, you're still on Google.

Amazing, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Ov...there's some software that filters by keywords typed in and on screen.

Perhaps that would help?

I discovered your blog quite by accident and think it's amazing. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Amazing! In our school we can't use Google Image search at all. "Bess", our Internet filter, doesn't allow any image searches (which creates difficulty when we need a photo of anything useful!) Arrrgghh.

Good luck and hang in there. Just a few more weeks.

Robin in Ohio

Mrs. Bluebird said...

Hum, interesting filter. That may be something we'll have to look into. Actually, the best thing about the whole event is we have convinced them that someone at Central Office was recording their every keystroke and NOTHING they did was hidden from view. That freaked them out completely. They all think the Internet Police are coming to get them.

Anonymous said...

our system uses a content filter rather than a site filter.. so theoretically, only sites with disturbing contextual content are blocked. i'm actually pretty surprised they were able to get to those pictures without using "secret tricks" a la port forwarding or server side includes..

The Mad Teacher said...

FWIW, this little problem only gets worse in high school! But I did have to laugh about scotch as a food group--oh, man, do I know what you mean! Some projects are so stressful, I don't know how we survive them...

I'm going to take up the idea of blocking image searches with our techies. This is the #1 way kids get through our filters, and it's so easy that it really gets tempting for some kids. What's more, not only does it mean I have to waste my time being the Laptop Police, it means that lots of kids skip visiting the carefully selected content sites I link to for a web-based lesson, and simply google up the same tired pictures over and over again. (Lots of kids rely on google for ease of use, rather than learning to use it well.)

Thanks for the laugh.