At our school, there is a constant struggle over our internet filter filtering out potential resources for teachers. Do any of your schools differentiate access to the internet? Are teachers able to gain more access than students? How does this take shape? We are a middle school and this has become a big issue in our building. Any insight into how your school deals with this issue would be very helpful.

Thanks in advance,

Brian Mannix

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Our school does not allow teachers to have any additional administrative access to sites, but I'm happy to say that the filter in general is very liberal and allows us to access some social networking sites like LiveJournal and Ning. Many students use a proxy to access Facebook.
Hi Brian,
I think it depends on the school district. I've seen policies where login profile through Active Directory dictates the level of access. Usually this means teachers have less filtered sites than students. Some schools have the same internet access across the board except for their administrative and business staff; for others it's the same. I'm not sure if eRate policies come into play as well. The larger issue is how students always seem to find a way around the filters when they have a desire to. Does your technology department have a system in place that allows teachers to easily request sites to be unblocked for learning purposes? Also, does your district subscribe to any of the media on demand services that might have the content they are looking for in the first place? A subscription to Discovery Education, for example, is sometimes underutilized because teachers don't realize the amount of content that is available (and instead spend a lot of time looking for resources that might be flitered).

One last thought, sometimes TeacherTube is not unblocked but YouTube is, so try and look on TeacherTube or SchoolTube for videos that might be useful.

There's a new add-on to Firefox that someone from WSB shared a few weeks ago. It allows you to download most videos on the Web into a format you can play on your computer. If you use Firefox, check out VideoDownloadHelper - it'll install a tri-colored object to the left of your favicon on the toolbar. While the video is playing click on the icon and it'll show you the different options to download the video. Very useful for teachers and student who want to show or remix media.

Just some thoughts...
Hi Brian,

Our school just instated a differentiated filter for teachers and students. Teachers logged on their accounts may use Internet Explorer for unfiltered access to YouTube, Blogspot, and other Web 2.0 sites and services.

To piggyback on Blanca's suggestion to download videos, there are a handful of other programs and services for downloading videos from YouTube and other sites...check these out:

GetTube (Mac) - http://web.mac.com/simonvrel/en/gettube/gettube.html
YouTube Downloader (Windows) - http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/
YouTube Downloader HD (Windows) - http://www.youtubedownloaderhd.com/
Zamzar (Online) - http://www.zamzar.com/

The four programs/services above will allow you to download videos for offline use, in a familiar format that should easily play within Windows Media Player or QuickTime. Before our differentiated filter went up, this was the "fan favorite" for incorporating media into lessons among my colleagues. Check out the attached screenshot for general instructions for use.

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