Tuesday, November 4, 2014

iPad Filter 101

The 8th Grade iPads are equipped with a content filter.  This filter is from a company called Securly (www.securly.com) and is set up to block inappropriate materials from getting on the iPads.  Anytime an RMS iPad  goes online, it has to go through our Securly filter, whether the iPad is at school or elsewhere.

We have experienced some technical difficulties with the filter this year due to conflicts and incompatibilities between Securly and how the iPads implement certain Google-related apps. The filter is working, but sometimes users have to do some workarounds.  One example is  eliminating the letter “s” in “https://”when trying to access a website. Unfortunately, Safari on the iPads is automatically configured to try to force the use of https:// even for just a regular Google search. One solution is to go directly to “www.google.com” first, and then type the search query into that page’s search box. The Chrome app on the iPads does not have this problem.

Because websites come and go all the time, it’s difficult to have a “perfect filter” that blocks out everything.  As time goes by, we continue to modify our filter’s settings.  If a teacher or parent finds an inappropriate website is passing through our filter, we add the site to a “black list” which prevents the site from getting through the filter in the future.  Also, if the filter is blocking a website teachers and students need, we put it on our “white list” and the site is then allowed through our filter. 

Thanks to SAU 70 Technology Supervisor Marion Bates for contributing to this post. 

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