website monitoring (not blocking) promotes high-level teaching and learning

“The aim of education is to provide children with a sense of purpose and a sense of possibility and with skills and habits of thinking that will help them live in the world.” – Alice Waters

In a recent study by Impero’s researchers, 96% of students polled said that their schools use website blocking to impose internet safety. Of those, 35% of students admitted to going around online blocks to access prohibited sites. These statistics suggest that merely blocking online access in schools just isn’t working.

Instead of blocking websites, why not monitor student internet usage? Monitoring goes along with many core teaching principles that promote both higher level thinking in students and successful classroom management for teachers. Here are several of the advantages of monitoring, as related to insights from teaching experts and authors:

Monitoring reinforces teaching procedures

In his book, The First Days of School, teaching great Harry Wong said that classroom management overarches everything in the curriculum. He teaches that educators should have classroom routines. They should invest time in practicing classroom procedures with students until they become ingrained into daily activities.

Wong’s technique for teaching procedures includes a three-step process:


Explain, Rehearse, Reinforce, Remind, Experience

When students are being monitored on the internet, procedures can be laid out by the teacher from the first day of school. Teachers can explain what students should do if they come across something inappropriate on the web. They can tell kids what to do if someone is bullying them online. They can also explain how to communicate these things in private without causing disturbances or being embarrassed. Teachers can then rehearse these procedures until students feel comfortable. Reinforcing the internet procedures, the teacher can continuously by reminding them and giving them experiences in which to practice. Creating procedures and following them allow the student to be empowered to make good choices. Procedures also allow the teacher to manage the classroom in a positive way that is not policing.

Monitoring builds cognitive strategies

In the best seller, A Framework to Understanding Poverty, Ruby Payne explains the benefits of mediation for students. Mediation is the intervention of an adult during a child’s response to mental stimulus. Mediation builds cognitive strategies, or those strategies that give individuals the ability to plan and systematically go through data. When a child doesn’t learn cognitive strategies, she lacks significant skills to navigate the world. Here are if/then statements that describe what happens when a child lacks cognitive strategies:

  • If a student cannot plan, he/she cannot predict.
  • If a student cannot predict, he/she cannot identify cause and effect
  • If a student cannot identify cause and effect, he/she cannot identify consequence
  • If a student cannot identify consequence, he/she cannot control impulsivity
  • If an individual cannot control impulsivity, he/she has an inclination toward bad behavior

How does this connect to monitoring internet usage instead of blocking it? Monitoring gives teachers and administrators the ability to mediate the decision-making processes of the student. By monitoring usage and teaching how to navigate the web in safe ways, teachers are able to build cognitive strategies in students, which in turn builds higher-level thinking and problem solving skills.

Monitoring promotes Bloom’s highest level thinking

According to Bloom’s Taxonomy Cognitive Domain, there are six levels of thinking. The highest level of thinking is Evaluation. Student behaviors that show the Evaluation level of thinking are assessing effectiveness of whole concepts, in relation to values, outputs, efficacy, viability, critical thinking, strategic comparison and review, judgment related to external criteria.

When internet sites are blocked, the student is not given the opportunity to evaluate and create strategy, other than how to strategically hack through to sites that are banned. By monitoring the web, combined with providing procedures and communicating about problems, the teacher is providing opportunities for the highest level of Bloom’s thinking: Evaluation.

Monitoring is proactive and reactive

Impero software believes that monitoring online usage is the best way to help students learn to use the internet safely. Research has shown that blocking measures have little impact when students are determined to access content. Now is the time to adopt a different approach and monitor online behavior instead. This will allow schools to act proactively and react appropriately in the event of protocol breaches.

Impero Education Pro software provides schools with the ability to proactively monitor the online activities of digital devices while they are being used in classrooms. To find out more about this solution go to the product features page here. Impero offers free trial product downloads, webinars, and consultations. Call us at 877.883.4370 or email us today for more information.


A Framework for Understanding Poverty – Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D 1995

The First Days of School – Harry Wong and Rosemary Wong 2009

A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing – Anderson, Lorin W. (Editor)/ Krathwohl, David R. (Editor)/ Bloom, Benjamin Samuel (Editor) 2001