My principal forwarded me a great link to a student-produced video contest at CharacterCounts. I like the way this looks and the character traits the students will have to explore in order to complete the assignment. It should give students food for thought. The only downside is that two of the resources suggested, YouTube and JumpCut, are blocked at my school. TeacherTube is still available, so I am encouraged. I am still concerned, however, that these reasonable, free tools are unavailable to our students.
Tonight I ran across an article in Edutopia, "Stumbling Blocks: Playing It Too Safe Will Make You Sorry." While there are valid reasons for blocking inappropriate sites, the article asks us again if blocking these sites to 'protect' our students is more important than teaching them to be good Digital Citizens. As the section of the article on Digital Citizenship points out, students really see the blocks as a challenge; in my own classes more than one student has offered to 'help' me get around district filters.
As educators we need to start having these difficult conversations around filtering certain kinds of sites. Many educators don't use web resources in their classrooms, so part of the job is starting the conversation about the wealth of great material that is out there. Perhaps once all teachers know of the great stuff that is just waiting for them, we can get more teachers behind the idea of teaching good Digital Citizens.