Monday, December 17, 2007

Hey, Blocking's Not So Bad!

Google Images has become a minefield for technology teachers in elementary schools. We use Internet images for so many different projects, and honestly, most projects just are not as compelling without graphic components. So of course, we have been using the most simple way to find images--Google images. However, I've noticed that in the past few years there are more and more inappropriate pictures popping up on even the most innocuous searches. This week, the inevitable occurred. Some boys figured out that if you search for girls' names and click down a few pages, you're going to find something "cool!" They were doing this at indoor recess at their classroom computers, gaggled together so that teachers on duty could not necessarily see what they were doing. I checked the history and sure enough, they had seen some scantily clad women.

My instinct was NOT to block. My instinct is never to block. I like to try to explain, to discuss. My friend Barry is dating a teacher at another school and she explained her school's philosophy to me this weekend. She said that the kids are actually MORE thoughtful about their image searches when they use Google Web search, then visit the page itself, rather than having Google aggregate for them. I realized she was right. So, I'm going to be blocking Google Images out of our school computers this winter break. But honestly, I think it's going to mean our children do a better job of finding images.

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