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Comment: Re:I am the author of the spreadsheet in question (Score 1) 386

by nccstech (#37235354) Attached to: A Custom Objectionable Word List Ate My Homework
Thanks for the question. A couple of comments... First, personally I believe it is better to teach proper use of technology than to ban words/technology/etc. For example, our schools currently ban student use of personal technology devices such as personal cell phones, laptops, iPads, and such. However, we have been running Bring Your Own Technology pilots since last year to change this so that students can use the technology they already have and are familiar with. We would rather teach responsible use of technology than simply ban it. Banning the technology passes up a teachable opportunity for us to help students grow into informed digital citizens. The same is true for email. We just launched student email in January so this is brand new. We are starting out cautious and will continue to develop the appropriate policies. As mentioned in an earlier comment, we have integrated technology ethics/safety/responsibility into our curriculum, and will continue to develop that. Secondly though, we may end up with different policies depending on age. As a school we provide email accounts to all our students from elementary through high school. Appropriate guidelines may end up being different for a 6 year old than an 18 year old.

Comment: Re:I am the author of the spreadsheet in question (Score 1) 386

by nccstech (#37234966) Attached to: A Custom Objectionable Word List Ate My Homework
Thanks for your feedback. Like I said, public education is a big ship with a little rudder. It takes time and cooperation to makes changes, which can be a good thing to prevent rash decisions, but can also be a challenge. This is a work in progress and I appreciate the input.

Comment: Re:Far scarier is the "concern" list... (Score 1) 386

by nccstech (#37234218) Attached to: A Custom Objectionable Word List Ate My Homework
If someone is harassing a student because of their sexual orientation, that is not acceptable and we would like to know that. Our guidance office strives to defend and assist any student being discriminated against. Please note, we are not blocking any messages with any word on the concern list.

Comment: Re:I am the author of the spreadsheet in question (Score 2) 386

by nccstech (#37234206) Attached to: A Custom Objectionable Word List Ate My Homework
Not an excuse, but a reason. If someone is harassing a student because of their sexual orientation, that is not acceptable and we would like to know that. Our guidance office strives to defend and assist any student being discriminated against. Please note, we are not blocking any messages with any word on the concern list.

Comment: Re:I am the author of the spreadsheet in question (Score 1) 386

by nccstech (#37234170) Attached to: A Custom Objectionable Word List Ate My Homework
Again, this list is a work in progress. We have and will continue to edit it. As for censorship, please understand that filtering is something Ohio schools are required to do. For example Ohio law requires some sort of filter on all Internet traffic in a school, see: http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=13491

Comment: Re:I am the author of the spreadsheet in question (Score 1) 386

by nccstech (#37234058) Attached to: A Custom Objectionable Word List Ate My Homework
Please refer to my post to see that we involved the parents in the creation of the email guidelines. This came from our community (parents, staff, students, etc.). Additionally we clearly communicated this information with all the parents and students through a handout and a video. Parents received the information through a mass email and an "all call" phone message. Students were shown the video in school. We have been completely transparent with our students and parents concerning the email guidelines. You can see the hand out here: http://www.northcantonschools.org/tech/forms.html?task=viewcategory&catid=60 and you can see the videos here: http://www.northcantonschools.org/tech/help-videos/73-gmail.html To date we have not received any comments from students or parents asking us to change the guidelines, but we welcome their input. Again, I appreciate the feedback the slashdot users have provided and will certainly consider everything that has been shared here. Eric

Comment: Re:I am the author of the spreadsheet in question (Score 1) 386

by nccstech (#37233944) Attached to: A Custom Objectionable Word List Ate My Homework
The filter is provided through a service called Postini. In this case, the filter searches for the words as distinct words, not as parts of other words. If it find such a word, it bounces the email back to the sender with a canned message indicating that the message was not delivered due to content. There was a school I spoke with that just blackholed such emails, but then no one would ever know if their email got delivered or not. We want to make sure it bounces back to the sender so they are aware of the non-delivery, and so they can inform us if it should not have been blocked. Eric

Comment: I am the author of the spreadsheet in question (Score 3, Informative) 386

by nccstech (#37233814) Attached to: A Custom Objectionable Word List Ate My Homework
Hey everyone, I am the author of the "bad word" spreadsheet being discussed. I got an email from a slashdot users letting me know about the discussion, so I wanted to share what I can from my perspective on this topic. As usual, there is always a lot more to the story than you will get from just looking at one piece of information (the spreadsheet) and hopefully I can help explain that. You certainly may not agree with what our school is doing (that is fine) but I at least want to make sure you have the full story. Note: In posting this I am not speaking officially for my school district, but am simply trying to explain the situation from my personal perspective. First, it is important to realize that the spreadsheet you see is a work in progress. Up until January 2011 our students did not have school-issued email accounts. This is still a brand new venture for us, and we have been and will continue to modify our policies. I really appreciate the feedback many of you have provided. You have lots of good points that I believe will help us as we continue to develop this. So, first question... how did we come up with this list? We wanted to give students email accounts to help increase communication and collaboration. However, this was something new for our district so we had to be careful when rolling it out. We developed the student email guidelines through meeting, surveys, and discussions with teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, students, parents, community members, and our board of education. The list of what resulted. For the launch of our email system the consensus was to have some sort of word filter, and to keep email sending with out district. Over time I hope we can open up email so students can send outside of our domain as there are obvious benefits for them to be able to communicate with people in businesses and other schools around the world. However, we felt it was best to start out more restrictive, and the work toward more openness over time. Change in a public school system is like steering a large ship with a little rudder. It takes time. There are a lot of people involved and we need to help people along with these changes. Anyway, we made the actual list of "bad words" by working off several other lists provided to us from other schools and organizations that have been doing this themselves for years. We combined their lists and edited it down to what you see. We removed loads of words that did not seem reasonable to filter (you would be amazed at what was on the original lists). We continue to revise the list (again we have only had this for about 8 months) and will certainly run through the suggestion many of the posts here have brought up. Yes, we realize that a filter list is not going to stop inappropriate words. Students can use all sorts of variations. However as a school providing email to children, the consensus of our community to to provide some level of filtering. More than that though, we have added the topic of responsible use of technology to our curriculum so we can help our children work through this topic. Again, thanks for your feedback, and feel free to ask me additional questions. Eric

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie

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