Do YOU know how to get a website unblocked?

ED: 19th March, 2012 – the information contained in this post may no longer be relevant. See visitor comments at the end relating to changes under the new ‘DEC’.

A recent post by Will Richardson, Filter Fun, got me thinking again about the situation with the (highly sensitive) web filter in my DET school.

I wonder – if only more teachers were proactive about applying for blocked websites to be UNBLOCKED, would the filter crew start to get a sense of how much they have (unnecessarily) blocked?  If they were hit with as many UNBLOCK requests as we are hit by ‘Blocked Site’ pages, would they be a little more careful about blocking potentially useful sites?

This term has been a constant struggle for me – teaching video games as a text in the English classroom required students to use internet searches for information and images relating to video games, game characters and game consoles.

At every turn we were blocked by the web filter.  Reason?  The sites we wanted to look at fell under the “Games” category.

Well…yeah.  Of course they did!  We were researching ‘games’!

I have to admit that, for my part, I did not apply at any stage this term to have a website UNBLOCKED.  Doing this is a pretty easy process if you are in a NSW DET school:

  1. Log on to the Portal
  2. Choose the ‘My applications’ tab
  3. Click on ‘Account Administration’ from the list below
  4. Choose ‘Web Filter Check’ and fill in the forms as instructed.

In my defense, however, I musy explain that the research work that we were doing required the students to search the web independently, which meant the focus was not on websites that I had found and unblocked for them.  As the unblocking process is not instant, it is of little help for teachers and students in the middle of a pre-booked lesson on the library computers!

If you are working within the NSW DET filter, here are some instructions for applying for a website to be unblocked that I made for my faculty.  Let me know if I got anything wrong – otherwise, spread the word that sites CAN BE UNBLOCKED!

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  1. #1 by darcymoore on September 30, 2008 - 3:38 pm

    A ‘must read post’ – I’ll send the link out, Kelli!

  2. #2 by darcymoore on September 30, 2008 - 3:53 pm

  3. #3 by Emma Le M on September 30, 2008 - 4:58 pm

    writing competition sites blocked, 3arts stage make up blocked for porn, a theatre company blocked for gambling!

    at least now they have the form linked to blocked sites.

  4. #4 by Lee on September 30, 2008 - 5:31 pm

    I feel your pain, Kelli. I cannot believe Google apps are blocked for staff and students!!! Who is in the DET who makes these decisions?????
    The thing I find most frustrating is that the district level IT gurus (well, at least the one I spoke to) didn’t even know it was blocked … chances are they don’t even know the educational value anyway. Arrrggghhhh!!!
    I will pass your excellent steps to unblock to some colleagues and hopefully …. 🙂

  5. #5 by Sierra on November 20, 2008 - 1:31 pm

    It’s not annoying to be trapped inside a love crazed teenage girl when YOU are a teenage girl! It’s actually pretty amusing

  6. #6 by Charleston on December 29, 2009 - 5:47 am

  7. #7 by Alex Tilston on March 15, 2012 - 1:26 pm

    This doesn’t work due to the update on the DET portal now. Due to the government change over from Department of Education and Training across to Department of Education and Communities.

  8. #8 by kmcg2375 on March 19, 2012 - 12:54 pm

    Thanks for this Alex – do you know where teachers can find information nowadays about this?

  9. #9 by Howart Smith on January 28, 2013 - 5:00 pm

    Web filters block access to specific websites. I use Hotspot Shield ( http://www.hotspotshield.com ) free VPN to bypass these web filters.

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