Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blogging Frustrations: Step One

As a beginning blogger one of my on-going frustrations has been the school board internet filter which blocks access to any site that is blog or forum related.
December 2010 -Google's Blogger platform was initially unblocked so that is where I began my blogging path. I created a school library blog with pages for reviews, a wishlist, pathfinder links, and library news posts. I added GirlZONE (girls' reading) and BBAT (boys' reading) blogs. I thought I was off to a great start.
THEN "this site is blacklisted" started to appear when I attempted to access the sites at school in order to create posts or show students the resources I had linked to the blog. Needless to say my blogging slowed down and eventually stopped at fewer than 50 posts. I requested unblocking and was told Blogger allows adult content so it would not be unblocked and to use instead. The only other possibility was to borrow the principal's override code (changed monthly) to access the site or continue school related blogging from my home computer. Unfortunately, this was an additional step I wasn't prepared to add to my attempts to blog.
September 2011-Blogger and my blogs are no longer blocked and I created a new Awesome blog to chronicle the good things that happen at our school. I was excited to continue my school library blog posts, updating and adding content upon request or need.
October 2011-A new internet filter is up and running and everything is blocked again (slight exaggeration but this time even Glogster EDU -a favourite online poster making site is blocked). Our new filter does allow use of an existing teacher username and password override and I can now easily access the blog although students do not have this ability.

As an aside, I agree with Davis (2011) who wrote in Cool Cat Teacher Blog: The Case for Digital Citizenship in Schools:
We have driver's education because we want to protect kids from themselves. A car is a powerful machine and can kill.Sex education cannot stop sex among teenagers but it can prevent STD's and have students take it more seriously.  
Digital citizenship education cannot STOP the headlines of people who do scarring things through improper use of their technology but I believe it can reduce them.
Digital Citizenship Education can and should take the place of internet filters.
What is happening in your schools?
Today-As you will note I am using Blogger for my Steps to Web 2.0 blog. I thought I would try as recommended by our board`s technology department but was immediately frustrated during a long evening of attempting to embed my Voicethread, Autobiography of a Technology User on my Edublogs page.
I felt I knew Blogger and experienced success immediately when I embedded my Voicethread in a newly created Blogger blog.

A few additional frustrations:
  1. Using two different Google accounts to access Google Reader and Google Blogger doesn't allow cross posting of sites I find through Google Reader to my blog.
  2. My University of Alberta account does not support following Blogger blogs stating `this service is not available.`
  3. AND the odd time I just can`t get a post to update, load, save or publish. 

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