A while back I wrote about the problem of schools blocking student access to the internet. The types of filters that are widely used by schools impede access to a lot of important information. For instance, at the school where I work, here is what happens when I look for an ebook:
It is easy enough to write this off as an exception, but even for some educational sites that I have intentionally had removed from the blocked list, the utility of the sites is badly marred by the remnants of the filter. For instance, I use the site Poetry Genius, a channel of Rap Genius, as an annotation platform for one of my classes. Although students have access to the site, large swaths of what is to appear on a given page is blocked from view.
In case you cannot read the text of my assignment above, the YouTube embed that is blocked by “AutoExec” is a video of an Aeolian harp being played by the wind. It is part of the student’s assignment to watch the video and reflect on the harp’s value as a metaphor for poetic inspiration. Questionable, hmm?
Obviously these videos related to Robert Hass and W.H. Auden are obscene… Below you see “Auto Exec” infiltrating the page to block the social media panel, because there is nothing worse than a student tweeting her love for Countee Cullen at countless other teenagers.