This is one of those non-instructional resources that can be really helpful in the classroom…and elsewhere.
One of the great things about the Internet is all the free resources. However, many of the sites that offer their services for free support themselves through the use of ads on their pages. I’m not opposed to these web publishers making a living – and I definitely appreciate being able to access their sites without having to pay for them – but many of the ads are not the kind of thing I want to appear on the screen in front of a classroom full of students. Until we can convince advertisers to use only school-friendly ads, I highly recommend the use of an ad blocker.
There have been quite a few articles in the press lately about the use of ad blockers, such as Should ad blockers be legal?, With Ad Blocking Use on the Rise, What Happens to Online Publishers?, and Why Ad Blockers Won’t Destroy Online Advertising…Yet. They cite the pros of ad blocking as getting rid of annoying pop-ups and autoplay videos, as well as avoiding the numerous unseen scripts that work behind those ads to collect information. The negative side of ad blocking seems to focus mostly on the fact that if online publishers can’t make money through advertising, they might have to start charging for their services. I’ll let you read the articles and make your own decisions. None of these articles addressed my reason for using an ad blocker however, and that is the ability to screen out ads that might not be suitable for viewing in school.
Chrome is my “go-to” browser and for over a year now I’ve used the Ad Block Chrome extension. It takes seconds to install Ad Block and then it silently works in the background as you go about your online business. I’ve been using it for so long, I didn’t even realize how much it was helping until the other day. A colleague was getting ready to use Answer Garden (the word cloud app we used during the opening session of our digital learning session on August 5th) and asked me how to get rid of the annoying, not very school-friendly ads at the bottom of the page. I didn’t know what he was talking about. I had never seen ads on Answer Garden – because Ad Block had always caught them first.
As it’s working, the Ad Block icon shows me how many ads it has blocked on a particular page.
There are some sites that use software to detect ad blockers and occasionally I’ll get a message telling me I can’t proceed until I disable Ad Block. Depending on the situation, I can click on the Ad Block icon on my toolbar and allow the ads to come through or I can choose to use a different site.
If you regularly project online content for students to see, I highly recommend checking into an ad blocker. If you need help finding or installing one, please let me know.