Internet Security Limits Students

Since the school’s introduction of tablet PCs, students have tested the borders of the district’s Internet security and found themselves complaining about blocked words and websites while researching.

However, by national requirements, the district is required to block certain content

“All school districts are required by federal law to put a “technology protection measure” in place on any computers in the district that have Internet access,” Ann McMullan said. “The content filter used in Klein ISD is provided by a national company called Lightspeed Systems.”

While the filter does block certain websites and directly offensive or distracting words, students often find non-offensive words being blocked.

“Some words taken in different context may be deemed inappropriate,” Matheson said. “If a student wanted to do research on breast cancer and typed in the word ‘breast’, they might not be able to get to a site to learn more about breast cancer.”

For safe researching the district provides online research tools, available to all students at any time.

“A few research resources provided to Klein ISD students include netTrekker Search, EBSCO and Encyclopedia Britannica,” McMullan said. “Additional research tools are listed on Klein ISD’s StudentNet website”

However, students using these research resources were not satisfied.

“I  used EBSCO and netTrekker  once and it was not really helpful,” junior Kristina Trinh said. “I use Google. It is helpful for me because it has got everything.”

Despite small issues, many Klein ISD students find great success in using online search resources like EBSCO, leading the district to receive the 2011-2012 Digital Learning Award in October.

“The award honors school districts that are effectively using digital resources to impact the teaching and learning environments,” McMullan said. “This award is given to school districts based on their usage numbers for netTrekker Search, which provides educator-vetted, standards-aligned digital resources to every student and teacher in the district”.

In addition to the Digital Learning Award, Klein ISD was chosen to participle in the Texas High Performing Schools Consortium (THPSC), focusing on further integrating digital learning into curriculum.