As Students Return to Campus, the Need for Effective Online Filtering Isn’t Going Away

Governments, school leaders, and health authorities continue to make inroads in dealing with the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, and even as more and more students begin to return to the in-person classroom, one thing has become crystal clear: Schools will need to have effective physical disease safety protocols in place — including clear guidelines for possible future shutdowns and procedures for remote learning. It’s wishful thinking to believe that large-scale remote and online learning capability won’t play an increasingly significant role in virtually every school’s instructional framework and every student’s educational experience, even after the pandemic ceases to be an everyday threat.

Schooling in the post-COVID era

Lessons learned by teachers, students, and administrators in the past year will help educators develop continually improving approaches to effective online instruction in the future. And even as most students return to the physical classroom, large-scale online learning, having proven to be too valuable a tool to be discounted or ignored, will become more and more fundamentally integrated in day-to-day learning. Just as students’ and their families’ health has to be safeguarded as they begin to gather again physically, ensuring their online safety will continue to be critical.

What have we learned? Web filtering in schools is as important as ever

K12 content filtering became a growing priority for schools as they closed and switched to remote learning last spring, but there were issues. Many schools had no remote filtering capability at all and therefore failed to protect students when working away from school. Those that had firewall-based Internet filters for school supported only certain operating systems and couldn’t keep the entire range of devices safe.

Content filtering software for elementary, middle, and high schools had become a must-have component for school and district IT departments. But as more and more devices were sent home to facilitate remote learning, school web filtering solutions that didn’t reside on every device, work with every operating system, or protect students from inappropriate or harmful content everywhere while they worked online were proving to be inadequate to say the least.

Web filtering software for online learning

Enter Lightspeed Systems® and their Lightspeed Filter™ solution.

Lightspeed Filter is the only content filtering software for schools that incorporates each of the four recognized components for maximum student online safety: 1) a comprehensive, vetted content database; 2) vigilant, always-on web crawling; 3) segment-leading machine-learning; and 4) an exclusive team of in-house data scientists — real people — to analyze, interpret, and adapt the solution to new developments and threats. Lightspeed Filter supports Windows-based PCs, Chromebooks, Android mobile devices including tablets, Macs, and iOS mobile devices including iPads.

In a recent study assessing CIPA compliance, Lightspeed Filter was the only online school content filtering solution to successfully block 100% of pornographic content. Competing systems allowed as much as 60% of such content to be accessed. Lightspeed Filter, part of a suite of integrated online safety solutions including Lightspeed Analytics™, Lightspeed Alert™, Lightspeed Mobile Device management™, and Lightspeed Classroom Management™, protects every student device everywhere it goes, and as more devices land in more children’s hands, true online learning safety and effectiveness — delivered by the team at Lightspeed Systems — should be at their fingertips as well.

Further Reading