The new restrictions put on websites while on NDP WiFi have caused some students and staff to be blocked from accessing certain websites; the blocked websites can include educational websites because the blocked content is based upon website type.
For example, any website that is a discussion forum is automatically blocked, even if it is educational. Some classes such as English, Focus Seminar, Focus Research Journalism, and others all use discussion forums to learn at times, but this year, the students or teachers cannot access the websites. This begs the question for students, “Why is the school trying to fix something that was not necessarily broken?”
NDP senior Rachel Bateman said, “I think that technology has become more difficult to use. With the new server, certain websites that I need for my Focus class are blocked, and this makes it very difficult for me to complete assignments during class. Since the wifi is also very unstable, it is hard to turn in assignments or even complete them with no internet.”
Bateman is referencing the volatility of the Wifi, as it seems to be ineffective nearly once a week. The WiFi is also unreliable because when a person switches classrooms, they often have to re log in to the WiFi.
But the problem does not only affect students, it can also disrupt lesson plans for teachers. In nearly every class, the teacher has experienced a problem with the technology and has been unable to access a certain educational website. The problems typically occur when a teacher attempts to play a video, whether it be on Youtube, there is usually a problem.
Kandi “Woj” Wojtysiak said, “I do not think that it [new system] prevents students from learning, but I see it as sort of a roadblock. I can still teach, but it adds extra steps that do not need to be there.” Mrs. Woj teaches AP Environmental Science, as well as astronomy and physical science, classes that rely on hands on material to do labs, as well as videos for notes. The class often watches videos to help prepare for labs and understand concepts, but the websites are blocked at times.
It is understandable why certain websites are blocked, like Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Netflix, as well as inappropriate websites. But some students believe it is ineffectual to block other websites based on the website type. Students believe that the websites should be manually blocked, instead of the mass blocking that occurs, where all websites inside of a designated type of website are blocked.
This type of blocking causes problems because websites are often miscategorized. There have been times where a student searches an educational website, and it is blocked because of a miscategorization like “pornography.”
This is an obvious flaw in the system; a flaw that has caused more problems than it has solved. In the past, certain websites have not been blocked, but if a student searched up a website that was inappropriate, he or she would be called into the Dean’s Office and questioned. This was more effective because it discouraged students from going onto bad websites and it allowed for students to go onto all educational websites.
NDP senior Connor Markl said, “Countless websites that are crucial for students to gain knowledge are blocked because they are deemed inappropriate by the school. For example, History.org, which is a well known, credible website, is blocked. There is a better way to have safety, this way is not effective.”
NDP upperclassmen are upset with the new procedures, like logging in everyday, because they have experienced the effective ways that NDP has kept internet safety in the past. The tedious process of logging into the Wifi everyday seems unnecessary to the students, and the unreliability of the wifi is problematic.