Students work around internet block

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Students work around internet block

Joanna Chait

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Whether you are sitting in class with a sub trying to watch YouTube, looking up a definition of a vocabulary word, turning in an assignment, or using your phone in the atrium, the internet determines much of what students at Wilson do during the school day.

At the beginning of this school year, DCPS blocked the use of Google on all devices provided by the District, and on their WiFi. This step was taken in order to limit student’s use of the internet during the school day.

“That’s stupid,” said freshman Nakaia Thomas, arguing that Google is a necessity for students. “Teachers use Google for their assignments, and we use Google Docs to turn in our papers.” Thomas feels that taking away Google is pointless because it hinders students’ use of  important online programs.

“Sometimes I can’t get on Aspen on the wifi.” says Junior Isa Clay. Aspen is the website DCPS students use to check their grades. Clay explains that it makes it more difficult to keep with academics without the use of a VPN, which he uses to access Aspen.

“It’s really stupid, but there are easy ways to get around it,” freshman Cole Bogdem said of the internet block. Bogdem, like many other Wilson students, uses a virtual private network (VPN) to get around the problem.

A VPN allows users to access data while using a public network, such as public WiFi. “You can go on blocked websites, social media, and YouTube,” said Freshman Njeri Booker, who also uses a VPN to access the internet while on school WiFi. VPNs allow students to use apps such as Instagram and Snapchat that normally would be blocked.

English teacher Natalie Zuravleff suggested students use the Canadian Google— Google.ca—instead of Google.com after the discovery that it was blocked when her students were writing a research paper. After Zuravleff informed Data Coordinator Joseph Bellino of a WiFi bypass, the Canadian Google icon now appears on Wilson devices.