Observance or Oppression: Should School District’s Ban Web 2.0 Tools like Social Media?


Battle of the Day: Monday, 16 August 2010

I ran across this article last night regarding the filtering of Web 2.0 tools that exist in most American public school districts. The article suggests that filtering is akin to content filtering used in China. While, I can see someone drawing that conclusion, the restrictions are rooted in different agendas. However, the result of both restrictions is the same.

The rise of Web 2.0 tools has changed the way people work, interact and publish content.  Having a Facebook, Twitter, Blog or E-mail account is just as important as having a phone number in the 21st Century. It shouldn’t be far-fetched that some of the more techno-savvy teachers would like to harness these tools to use in their classroom.


Especially when tools like Facebook and Twitter has made it cheap and easy to communicate with a large group of people. The filtering of these sites has major negative implications on student learning and development.

Many schools offer basic computer classes that include desktop publishing, browsing the web, and research techniques. While these skills were adequate in the years leading up to the 21st Century, the continued focus on these skills are setting up students to be far behind. Web 2.0 gives students a variety of TOOLS using technology. These tools cross a variety of different platforms like social media, collaboration, and digital media. Students should be trained to properly use these tools in the classroom. When I was in school the use of computers was relegated to practice, to supplement, or to remediate the skills learned in the classroom. Most teachers/administrators had the idea that the use of computers was “something nice to have.” However, in the 21st Century the use of technology (including computers) offers a use of tools that students/teachers should be using to enhance learning. The use of these tools isn’t “something nice,” but is the same tools that are used by academics, business people, etc. The use of these tools in the classroom will give their students the opportunity to pair their learning with technology.

Students are using Web 2.0 as a means for communication and collaboration. Should teachers harness this trend?

There are a variety of reasons why districts choose to filter Web 2.0 sites including the fear of “inappropriate activity” to it being a distraction. While the fears of administrators are valid, it is a reflection of the lack of training not the ability for teachers/students to participate appropriately using Web 2.0.

What do you think? Should public school districts limit or restrict the use of Web 2.0 tools like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook?


About mpal219
Educator, Student, Reader, Reformer, & Activist

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