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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Sharene L. Smoot

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify the effects of Internet filtering and restricted Internet access in a school system and its effect on teaching and learning. A total of 120 middle and high school teachers, support and administrative staff completed a questionnaire with 14 Likerttype items and one open-ended response question about their perceptions of Internet filtering in their school. A chi -square test between middle and high school respondents revealed no significant differences. The majority (N=87) reported they accessed the Internet on a daily basis. Nearly all agreed that technology support was available (N=118), but 117 respon dents felt legitimate sites had been blocked. Although user agreement~ were in place, results indicated that some felt students were not always punished for downloading offensive material. Some admitted they used techniques to get around the filter or block to complete their tasks. A majority of the respondents reported e-mail as a critical function . Most felt the restrictions imposed in this county school system were more of a ban to Internet access. Teachers who use the Internet to develop lesson plans must show how the Web sites will be used to support the lessons and get approval to access the Internet. Sites must be bookmarked for the students' use, and teachers are responsible for them accessing only those sites. Frequent comments regarded the "filtering" system as essentially a block that hampered their duties, created an inconvenience, reduced student autonomy, lowered morale, and decreased the likelihood they would create lessons that would integrate technology.

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