Mane (CRIN 604)

         Digital tools in education

February 15, 2010

Second Life: VSTE, Presentation on Internet Filters

Filed under: Internet filters,Second Life,VSTE — mepada @ 9:47 pm
Tonight I (well, Mane Sideways) attended this presentation, which proved to be an eye-opening experience.

Here are my notes:

Presenter: Craig Cunningham (First Life) “Dewey Jung” (Second Life). He is an educational philosopher and technologist.

Most schools favor some form of filtering.


  • Which words can we type in and which words are “inappropriate”
  • Cuba: Government controlled systems
  • Chicago Public School: A Siren goes off when an “inappropriate ” site is accessed (applies to students and teachers)
  • Schools filter due to CIPA (Children Internet Protection Act, which passed in 2001) I only requires blocking: Child pornography and adult sites.
  • US: Local control – dependent, however the presenter has not seen a School Board making filtering decisions.

Major filtering methods:

  • All words, phrases with the exception of those on the “white list”.
  • All words, phrases on the “black list”.
  • Certain words, phrases, images typed by the user.
  • Ports used for services such as games, email, voice-over, etc.

Great Britain and Australia: Federal Government makes filter decisions.

 Russia: State level makes filter decisions.

Presenter “Dewey Jung” would like to see everything un-blocked! Purpose of education is to educate not restrict. Students should be provided freedom to inquire.

Huge problem with filters:

  • Software determines what content is harmful.
  • They overblock.
  • Only some people may find content unacceptable.
  • School curriculum subjects and valuable information gets blocked.
  • Schools end abdicating their educational responsibilities to corporations.
  • Equity issue: wealthier students go home and access much of the info blocked at their schools (poorer students do not have this choice)
  • If a site is unrecognized the software/tech person bans it.
  • Schools can be open to lawsuits by parents (teachers and admmin can be sued)

What can be done: Teachers’ unions should be pro-active about this issue.

Getting around filters:

  • Some kids are becoming more tech savy and know how to bypass filters.
  • Use
  • Use (YouTube)
  • Right click on an image and copy/paste url intothe browser
  • Use mobile versions of Fb or MySpace
  • etc.
  1. There is a disconnect between principals and students.
    Our schools are not preparing our students for the 21st Century.
  2. Presenter agrees we should block pornography but not social networking sites.
     “In a playful context kids seem to have and almost infinite capacity for learning”
    “Better theories of learning are embedded in the the video games…than in the classroom”
  3. The National Research Council makes an analogy between swimming and the internet (and its apps): Swimming pools are dangerous to children. We can put up fences and locks and these help but by far the most important thing we can do is teaching them to swim 🙂
  4. We should aim to:
    Create a climate of trust
    Accept that students will make mistakes
    Build a “Walled Garden” (social media) with teacher supervision

Pics of the event:

February 1, 2010

Second Life: VSTE, Book discussion

Filed under: Second Life,VSTE — mepada @ 10:43 pm

It is 8:00PM on 2/1 and I am sitting at a meeting in Second Life tonight (VSTE island).Very interesting!  The conversations are being conducted via mic (voice) and text messaging.
The moderator just sent us a link to a Google Docs  document that we all had to open. All the participants are writing something down …synchronously (within Second Life)!  She also asked us to click on a page of the novel being discussed (Blood on the River) – displayed in our SL site. A quote from this page appeared on my local chat window.
Next the moderator asked us to telport ourselves to a different part of the island (to the Sandbox) where she described a tool called: conceptualizer 0.7 (a 3-D graphic tool) which we learned to use to write text and create nodes.

Great experience!

Hope to go back!

Here are some pics:

Discussing the novel Discussing the novel

Learning to use the conceptualizer Creating nodes and writing text

Putting it all together Putting it all together!