The Ottumwa Courier


May 16, 2012

Ottumwa schools toughen Internet policy

OTTUMWA — Even though “good” and “bad” places exist, we allow our children to experience the world. But we do want to guide and protect them. The same, say educators, is true inside the world of the Internet.

This week, the Ottumwa school board adopted a new policy for Internet use in the district.

“We’re just updating our policy to be a little more specific with the expansion of the Internet [and its] use,” said Ottumwa Superintendent Davis Eidahl.

The new policy fits with The Children’s Internet Protection Act, a federal regulation that must be followed for districts that, like Ottumwa, receive certain government funding.

The policy says the district will monitor the online activities of students, put filters up that keep them out of sites deemed harmful to minors and will educate students about proper online behavior.

“These are things we’re already doing, but [this vote] will put it in board policy,” Eidahl told board members.

Board member Jeff Strunk voted in favor of adding the provisions, but first wanted to know if students are aware of consequences for breaking online rules.

Yes, Eidahl said, both students and parents are informed in writing of how the school district expects online computer users to behave.


Technology's expansion

Computers today touch many parts of the curriculum. Students can read books or do homework, while parents can see how students are doing in class.

“It gives us access to the world in real time,” said Jody Williams, principal of Wilson Elementary School.

In 2012, students at all Ottumwa schools use computers to enhance learning. Being able to communicate “in real time” can mean the difference between just reading about a culture and actually getting to “meet” other students using an online conference system.

“For example, a class may have pen pals in Japan; we could use the Internet to communicate how our worlds are alike and different,” Williams said.

But there are other, less scholastic aspects of teen life spilling over onto the Internet.

“There are some places in the world that are safer than others,” said Williams. “Those filters and policies help keep our Internet travelers safe; we don’t want anybody making a wrong turn.”

Text Only
  • Where to play OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference. Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join the

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416 OTT Ron Oswalt mug -T School board member resigns

    OTTUMWA — As this week's school board meeting came to a close, the president read a letter from one of the members. Board President Carol Mitchell read that fellow board member Ron Oswalt was announcing his resignation from the Ottumwa Board of Educa

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0410 OTT picture Bracelets -M -T Caring Kids

    OTTUMWA — Five fourth-graders didn't need grownups to show them it feels good to help others. They found out firsthand. "I wanted to do a project with the bracelets I make. And it's better to help people than to just do a random project," Kennedy Hug

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0410 OTT Fairfield business students photo color Fairfield students proving to be future leaders

    FAIRFIELD — At Fairfield High School, students interested in making a career in a business-related field have the chance to join the Fairfield chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), a nonprofit organization that helps prepare them for

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Construction could be halted on building class OTTUMWA — An Ottumwa High School program admired by the community may have to be temporarily suspended. The board and administration has nothing against the Building Trades program, said Superintendent Davis Eidahl. But they would be hard pressed to

    April 1, 2014

  • 0321 OTT IHCC Dental color photo -L -T -M Bringing textbook learning to the real world

    OTTUMWA — A new partnership between Indian Hills Community College and River Hills Dental Clinic is giving area students the most well-rounded education possible. Indian Hills began its dental assisting program in August, so this is the first group o

    March 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Donations sought for IHCC scholarship auction Donations are now being accepted for the 37th annual Indian Hills Community College Foundation Scholarship Auction. Individuals and businesses may donate new and gently-used items and qualify for a tax deduction. Items may include vehicles, gift cert

    March 13, 2014

  • 0311 OTT School Douma Tour photo The new Douma OTTUMWA — When educators first implied that computers were essential in schools, the best elementary buildings found space for one or two computer labs. Douma Elementary School is now so modernized, it has zero computer labs. "It's all wireless," sai

    March 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0312 OTT STEM color photo iExplore STEM gets kids excited about highly skilled fields

    OTTUMWA -- These kids will tell you: science, technology, engineering, math? They really can be fun. Booth after booth engaged the children in various experiments and demonstrations that h

    March 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0312 OTT Show choir 1 color photo -L -T -M Confidence on stage, humility off stage OTTUMWA — The seniors in Sudden Impact! are just beginning to realize that they only have two show choir competitions left in their high school career. If the last two are as successful as the first two have been, it's going to be an exciting journey

    March 11, 2014 2 Photos

AP National