It’s our job to step in to help, guide,
and even protect our students. So
let’s spend some time thinking about,
planning for, and teaching them how
to use the internet effectively. Let’s be
educational institutions and teachers
who teach. Let’s help our students
make good choices. Let’s put the
tools in their hands and send them
out into the hallway to practice using them the right way so they are
prepared when they go out into the
—Jason Bretzmann teaches at Muskego High
School in Wisconsin. He also presents and consults
nationally, created the Bretzmann Group, and
co-authored Flipping 2.0—Practical Strategies for
Flipping Your Class. Connect with him on Twitter
@jbretzmann or at www.bretzmanngroup.com.
site that teachers feel is appropriate and
useful in the classroom.
Internet filters protect minors from
inappropriate content, allow schools to
become or remain eligible for much-needed E-Rate funding, and provide a
sense of security to parents and community stakeholders. Schools that comply
with CIPA as part of their E-Rate eligibility should already be teaching digital
citizenship and allowing their students
to access social media and gaming sites
that have viable educational uses.
—Michele Garabedian Stork, EdD, is an assistant professor of educational technology in
the College of Education at Florida Gulf Coast
University in Fort Myers, Florida. She previously
spent 10 years as a K– 12 administrator focusing
Here’s what other ISTE members
had to say about this topic.
Participate in our reader poll
Protect Them from Themselves
Responsibility for children too young to
foresee the repercussions of their actions
lies with us. Teachers, principals, parents, and school friends should not be
powerless, threatened, or demoralised
by the inability to retract, prevent, or
curtail inappropriate behaviour that enters the world via classroom technology.
West Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
One reason for filtering is bandwidth
control due to the lack of unlimited
funding for large pipes to internet resources that can overwhelm a district.
Until we have unlimited funds, we probably won’t have unlimited access.
Technology Integration Specialist/IT Director
Look at the Research
I have been anti-filtering for most of
my 10-year career. However, a 2012
article by Wood et al. ( goo.gl/OnwqkN)
changed my mind on this topic, as their
research showed that even under research conditions, students were unable
to exercise social media self-control.
Upper Division Science and Health Teacher
End the Prohibition
It’s like the prohibition era. They still
found a way to drink. For some students,
the only place they can get access to the
internet is at school, and we are doing
them an injustice by blocking everything
that would be helpful to their education.
Technology Facilitator/Basketball Coach
Salisbury, North Carolina
Don’t Hand Over the Keys Just Yet
Technological entities as powerful and
as dangerous as the internet must be
regulated. Think about the automobile.
You wouldn’t hand a 13-year-old the
keys to your car because they might hurt
someone. Yet many students use social
media sites in ways that hurt themselves
and others academically or emotionally.
Eighth Grade English and History Teacher
New York, New York
Don’t Block What You Don’t Have To
Schools are not required to block sites
for social networking, literature and arts,
or controversial issues like genocide, gun
laws, or lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgen-der (LGBT) advocacy. But many worthwhile resources are blocked without any
clear or compelling rationale.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Give Up Control
This is a great example of the potential
tragedy when we fear the unknown and
fruitlessly worry about being in absolute
control. We are sacrificing access to the
most powerful teaching and learning
tools of all time because we’re worried
about students being distracted or seeing inappropriate content.
Curriculum and Operations Supervision
False Sense of Security
When filters are in place, teachers and
parents are less likely to teach internet
safety because they rely too heavily on
Third Grade Teacher
To participate in the next Point/Counterpoint discussion, look for the Manager’s Choice
discussion question on ISTE’s LinkedIn group at iste.org/counterpoint.