I have started blogging with my students on Blogger, however last week an unknown event now makes access from our school lab impossible. I am trying to figure out what has happened and who would best be able to help get our login screens back. I was wondering if anyone else has encountered this problem and if they had found a workaround
From what Iittle I understand the filtering programs search out certain things to block--and they run all the time. It just seems tome your blog got blocked some how in a search. But what the heck do I know!!
Speaking as an IT person working in a school, why not go to IT and explain that your blogs are now blocked where they weren't before, that it seems obvious that whatever they are using to filter has made an error and ask them to fix it?
The job of IT is not only to keep the network running but to support teachers in teaching. If our school had the same situation happen we would be only too happy to investigate and correct the problem.
The workaround is to collaborate with your IT department.
Yesterday, a class of high schoolers were building gmail accounts so they could work on a class Blogger. Everyone successfully opened an account except for three. These students came to me, the teacher-librarian, for help. I discovered that I must pull away from the proxy server in order to let these three register.
I am thinking your proxy server has something to do with the shut-down of this. Why it works for a limited time and then stops allowing, I am not sure.
Unfortunately, many districts block Blogger. If you aren't able to get your IT administrator to unblock it, you might try WordPress. (WordPress.com if you want them to host it; WordPress.org if you want to host it.) I have found very few places that block WordPress, and you can transfer your Blogger blogs to it if you want.
If they are blocked, it is not our place as teachers to find workarounds. You should talk to the IT people and check into policies. If what they are doing is consistent with policy, then lobby for change.
Filters are continuously changing and updated to include new sites on a periodic basis.
Of course, if you can get the IT folks to install WordPressMU, you wouldn't have to worry about filters.
It also has the advantage of the school owning the data and access. Telling students to use Blogger is instructing them to give over their data and browsing patterns to a third party.
Our limited experience with installing wordpress on our internal network is that when accessed internally on the local network it's fine but when accessed from outside the network (in the case of students at home for instance) the reference to the css is lost so that there isn't any formatting.
I'd love to get a workaround for that!
But I do think that talking to IT is where to start. If there's a policy against allowing teachers and students to use blogs in general, then talking to the administration that sets the policy is where to start. However, since you could, and now you can't, it seems more logical to think that it's a glitch with whatever filter is being used.
Unfortunately, if your school gets federal money, filtering is required.
The only thing I know of that would explain this css problem, is the web server refusing to serve the css file outside of the intranet.
To test this, I would try to load the css file in a browser (it will display as text). To do this, you would enter something like this www.blogaddress.edu/wp-content/themes/default-theme/style.css in your browser (edit as appropriate). Try this within the intranet to confirm you have the url correct and then try it from outside.
If you can confirm this is the problem, look at the web server log files for the error. (search for the url you entered) It should help you identify how to fix the problem.