In April 2011, a tornado hit Walker County School District in Walker, Ga. The seventy-mile an hour not only left damage in the area but also wiped out the data in the district’s technology center.
The recent rebuilding of the technology center now includes a new firewall system, Watchguard Technologies. Watchguard Technologies is a firewall system that encourages the usage of mobile devices in the classroom, but helps block certain social media sites for students.
With twenty sites available to the 9,300 students and 1,500 staff, Watchguard Technologies can monitor sites such as Google, Yahoo, and social media sites.
Teachers still have full access to these sites, but students will see increased blockage of social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Many teachers all over the country use websites such as YouTube specifically in science classes such as Physics. English teachers also use these sites to have certain passages such as “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare to help with the pronunciation of older texts.
With the increase of blocked sites, test scores have increased in the Georgia school district. Because all the focus is steered away from popular sites, students can focus on the subject at hand.
This is very common with other school districts across the country, such as Spring Branch Independent School District in Houston, Texas. Popular web sites such as YouTube and Facebook are blocked on the campuses.
School districts should follow on this pathway because this current generation is too dependent on the need of social media that the importance of good grades is lost. Teenagers spend an average of seven and a half hours a week on social media, compared to the average five hours a week studying for exams.
If school districts implemented this firewall to their internet, there test scores would increase significantly.