Censorship in Education

This project was created for the EPS 415 class, Technology and Educational Reform, at the University of Illinois. Urbana-Champaign. Professor Nicholas C. Burbules. Instructor: Jane Blanken-Webb.

Created by:
Rachel Hurst, Bryce Hartranft, Matthew Sheets, Tricia Rodriguez, Elizabeth Anderson and Andrea Zweifel


Welcome to Censorship in Education! Please enjoy this video introduction created by our team. Featured in order: Hurst, Hartranft, Sheets, Rodriguez, Anderson and Zweifel.

The rise in the Internet and Web 2.0 as a participatory culture has meant the forming of a new society that crosses boundaries with info-share and mass communication at the click of a button. Where there is profanity or subversion, as through political commentary, the resulting unrest breeds censorship of who has access, and to what; this censorship impedes on society’s ability to share and self-teach. The impact of censoring on education is a lack of the materials needed to help students learn about the world around them in an objective way, so that they can make their own judgments.

The term, “Splinternet,” refers to the blocking of content, preventing people from viewing certain sites and images in otherwise standard browsers (Miller, 2009). This is not a function that can be done by government filters alone, and they frequently rely on corporations to block sites such as social media and news streams. The controls are not ironclad and can be navigated around – but are a cause for significant social unrest and, occasionally, political instability where it involves public content that counters the current government. For educational purposes, the Splinternet impedes learning by not giving students and faculty access to all of the information and media that might help enrich lessons or shed light on difficult subjects, allowing students to make their own conclusions about their lives and how to shape the future.

Lost in translation? Today, it's lost in overblock. (Beeler, 2011)
Concepts presented in this wiki will include an analysis of United States censorship – both federal law and local practice, as well as subscription services. A case study focuses on European censorship, particularly Turkey. In addition, we discuss censorship in public and private education and online learning.

A final section addresses the ways in which internet censorship and filters impact adult learners as they conduct research online; as they are adults, the laws against pornography and obscene content for minors do not cover them - but still impede on their free access to the Internet and use of educational technology.

Breaking out - and into open access

Recognizing the issues behind censorship and its impact on people and education will enable society and communities of practice to identify the key deficiencies in existing definitions of censorship and modify them so that groups and minors may be protected – but in a minimally invasive way where it impedes privacy and free speech.

Miller, J. (2009). Soft Power and State–Firm Diplomacy: Congress and IT Corporate Activity in China. International Studies Perspectives, 10(3), 285-302.