Love my Zune

Coping with Website Blocking

A lot of school districts have implemented some form of website blocking. Unfortunately, valuable teaching sites are blocked.  I've found several ways to keep blocking from stopping me.

The first way is to have a phone that tethers.  Tethering is the term for attaching a mobile phone to a computer, thus allowing the computer internet access.  You can do it with either cabling (mine uses a USB cable), or Bluetooth.  Unfortunately it is often an extra charge, but at the same time, being able to tether protects YOU!.  I often want to do non-work related activities during lunch or my planning period, and tethering allows me to do it legally.  Frankly, having the ability to tether has kept me a little more sane in a lot of non-campus situations, so it's worth it to me.  Think about it, as long as you have mobile phone access, you can tether.

The second way is to use some form of web page capturing.  I usually use Adobe Acrobat reader.  Anytime I see a website I want to use later in class, I put it in a PDF and save it.  That protects you from a lot of things besides blocking.  You can save just the webpage without the advertising, especially if the advertising isn't exactly what your students to see.  You can also make notes on it or highlight sections.  It is also helpful is the internet itself is down, as you can retrieve it and display it with your projector.  Or even worse, kill a tree and print it out -- something I hate to do, but occasionally everything is failing -- for exapmle, we had a school day where we started without power, recently.

I don't like to use a proxy, as I believe you are teaching your students to do something dishonest.  In fact, a well written Acceptable Use Policy will specify that you and your students are NOT to use proxies.  I will admit to using one in an extreme emergency -- at the end of the six weeks and the district had blocked my personal website so students couldn't turn in work. 


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Bruce Vigneault

Wouldn't using your cell phone as a tether be analogous to using a proxie (as far as the aup is concerned)?


A proxy is a website that allows you to bypass the district blocking WHILE you are on the district internet.

When I tether, I am using my own computer (which they don't want on the school network), using my own internet service, during my own time -- both lunch and planning period is considered my own time. From the district standpoint, it should be no different then when I am using my cellphone.

Thus tethering is no different than working on curriculum, etc at home.

Alfred Thompson

Generally the AUP covers using the school's network and perhaps the computer and school owned software. Using a proxy violates the integrity of that network and *may* violate wording of the AUP. Using a tether bypasses the network completely. Of course a lot depends on how the AUP is worded, how picky the administration/IT department is and who owns the equipment in use. But in general I see using the tether as more analogous to using ones personal phone to call a parent about school related business when the school’s phone doesn’t give the teacher an outside line.

It’s a tricky question though and I can see people viewing it either way. But the real wrong thing here, in my opinion, is an IT department that makes it difficult for a teacher to access educational resources.

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