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Sunday - May 14, 2017 10:46 pm

Holmen schools have opposite approach to Madison's social media blockade Featured

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Madison schools blocking apps like Facebook over wifi.

Four schools in Madison  are taking an unusual step to make sure students are focused on their studies during class.

A pilot program has blocked all social media sites from the school's wifi. The district says it's to test whether student behavior, school safety and/or grades improve with fewer online distractions.

It began May 1 and runs through the end of the school year.

Sites like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and 30 others would be blocked.

Holmen's school district is taking quite a different approach.

"If blocking is the answer, it doesn't really teach them the real-life access they have, once they leave our walls," Holmen instructional technology coordinator Lisa Risch said. "Making sure that we're managing that data and the way that students are using that information and that technology is our ultimate goal."

Risch also noted that blocking wifi access to students, doesn't necessarily stop them from using the apps. Students, nearly all of which have have access to a smartphone, can simply access any of these apps through data plans.

Holmen has no plans for a wifi ban and already has several classes for parents and students throughout the year about using social media responsibly.

"We don't at all prohibit teachers from saying, there's times in this class where devices are going to be closed or be put away," Director of Technology Services Greg Krueger said. "There are certainly many ways that a teacher has to go about limiting use when it's needed."


Drew Kelly

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