Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bring Down That Wall

Some of you know my day job is teaching.  Schools have lots of issues with technology.  They don't have the money to keep up with the latest and greatest for starters.  It's also difficult to hire good people in fill their needs in technology areas because people really knowledgeable in that stuff can make so much more money elsewhere.  Sometimes the old guard teachers embrace new things with fear and reluctance though as a whole, the faculty at my school are begging for more training, more programs and continually sharing ways to use some of the wonderful things available to bring education out of the nineteenth century.

Another problem all schools face is the line between allowing students access to online resources and preventing undesirable use of the same.  Every school, even if you haven't heard about from your local school, has had issues with students finding their way to porn sites, texting inappropriate messages and pictures, and visiting places on the web the school and their parents don't want them to go.  Schools try to prevent this with firewalls able to stop nuclear attacks.  I'd like the burn down that wall but it does have a reason for existence.

Seriously, if I visit any website that allows shopping, I receive a warning the visit may violate my user agreement.  I'm not allowed, even as a teacher, to visit blogs or social network sites.  I'm not permitted to check my google mail.  As a teacher, I have a lunch break and one other break sometime during the day.  If I could use those breaks to visit some blogs I enjoy, I could expand my network of friends.  The only way I keep up with even half of my friends is by spending two to three hours per evening visiting and commenting.  On weekends when I can be online on and off through out the day, I can take small breaks from writing and check to see who has a new blog post.  It's so easy.

I've decided I have one or two solutions.  The first would be to quit my day job.  My children and I need to eat so that isn't likely to happen for a few years.  The second possibility is to spend the money to get a 3G or 4G phone or iPad(salivating) so I can get online at work without using the work network.  Less expensive than quiting the job but still a few dollars I hate to spend with two kids in college and another due to start in about eighteen months.  I have to price it out.

So how about you? Can you jump online during the day and go where you wish? Is your school embracing technology?


  1. Recently, I've become day jobless. (I'm not torn up about this). At work, I could usually visit sites but there we were always having meetings about how we weren't supposed to use state computers for our personal use(even on lunch breaks), so I was afraid to.

    I love your blog by the way and am your newest follower.

  2. At the school where I used to teach, there were no restrictions as far as where you could go. It wasn't a big deal because the students (who were there because they were working on a variety of issues) had no access to the internet whatsoever. And, if for some reason they did need to get online, they had a staff member hovering over them every moment.

    At my current day job, there's no way for employees to get online unless they have a smart phone or iPad or a similar device.

  3. Most workplaces unfortunately have this rule. My sister works for a law firm where they go so far as to block YouTube and Facebook. It's sad that abuse by a few leads to such rigid rules.
    What about a netbook with wireless Internet? They're fairly cheap, and you might be able to do more with it than a phone.
    Hope it works out!
    I'm jobless at this moment, and except for the fact we have no money, I love the writing time!

  4. I used to be a teacher, and I worked in a school that had a lot of great technology. I was lucky enough to have an interactive whiteboard, which made things so much easier!

    Now that I'm a full-time writer, the problem is really NOT going online all the time! I need to set myself limits to stay away from the internet!

  5. I'm fortunate that I can blog from work. But if you get an iPhone or iPad, you'll have the Internet again. IPad comes both 3G and WiFi, so depends on what you can access.

  6. Luckily, here at Uni I can use the network to go online anywhere on campus. Only some networks are restricted, which still is annoying.
    In the UK and especially in the USA, these ways or forbidding things really annoys me. We're not even aloud to use more than one exit (out of 5) in our faculty.
    It's still different in Germany, much more freedom, but it's coming down on us too, now.
    Nahno ∗ McLein

  7. I'm looking forward to the summer months when I can be online whenever I want. I guess the super firewalls are common at work places.
    The amusing thing about schools is that so many of those clever teenagers figure out ways to get around it.

  8. I can't read blogs or do any other personal internet stuff at work. I have a smartphone and I love it! I don't use it to comment, blog or write emails very often, but at least I can read things throughout the day and star the blogs I want to come back to when I get home.

  9. I can see how very difficult it is for you to keep up with all that you want to do. You might take a cue from author Elizabeth Spann Craig. If I remember right, she has a long list of blogs she visits, but she divides them up so that she hits each one at least once during the week. Don't worry, that will be fine with all of your friends!

  10. In my last job I was frequently able to do things online since the work was mostly seasonal and there were many times during the year when things were slow. I wasn't blogging then so there were other things I did including on going back to school and finishing my degree.

    Problems with schools, teachers, and unions have certainly been in the news a lot lately. The technology deficiencies and lack of funding are big problems. I think it's going to be up to future generations of teachers to bring greater tech know-how into the field, but as you say the real tech wizzes are going where the money is and not into teaching.
    It's a sad dilemma.

    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

  11. I'm self employed, so if I'm home, I'm online. And now that I have an iPhone, I'm online when I'm traveling, too!

  12. No computers at my job but that's okay with me. My writing desk as no Internet, either. Also fine by me. That said, hope you get your new online toy. Sounds like a fun way for you to enjoy your lunch break. Happy Blogging.

  13. I don't have a computer at work, either, and am not allowed to have my cell phone with me, so even a smartphone wouldn't help. So I feel your pain! LOL