Thursday, May 22, 2014

iBoss - New Web Filter this Summer

A modern, reliable web filter is a necessity for all school districts, especially as more learning is done online. As technology changes, we continue to enhance our tools to ensure a safe computing environment for our students. To that end, over the summer we are installing a new web filter called iBoss that will replace and improve upon our existing web filter. iBoss is widely used in school districts across our state.

When you return in August, you will notice a few differences in your web filter experience:

  • You will see a different block page, similar to the example below.

iBoss block page
  • There will be a simpler way for staff to override the filter. Instead of entering a district-wide username and password, you will enter your BVSD username and password.
    • Students will never have the option to override a blocked page.
    • Staff will not have the ability to override certain categories, like Pornography and Malware.
  • Web sites categorization is a vendor-specific process, which means that sites may be placed in a different category in the iBoss filter than they were in the previous solution. This may result in some pages being blocked that currently aren’t, and vice-versa. Through our testing this summer we hope to identify and resolve many of those issues before you return.

The process for requesting that a site be blocked or unblocked will remain the same. Submit an IT Service Request and include the URL (web address) and the reason why you want the site blocked or unblocked. The Ed Tech team will review your request and notify you of a resolution. Remember that during the first few months the iBoss web filter is in place, you may notice a difference in which sites are blocked/unblocked. Please submit an IT Service Request when you notice these discrepancies.

It’s important to remember that any web filter, no matter how sophisticated, is only one part of keeping kids safe online. Digital citizenship skills are more effective than any web filter, but they require education, evaluation, and effort. I encourage everyone—teachers, students, staff, and parents—to learn how to be good digital citizens. You can learn more by visiting Ed Tech’s Digital Citizenship website, as well as the Digital Citizenship resources from Common Sense Media.

Please chime in below with your thoughts on web filters and digital citizenship.