Tuesday, November 13, 2007

[TIPS] Meet Vicki's students

Why can’t WE do this? http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2007/11/meet-my-students-live-on-wednesday.html

Vicki has some of her students at a conference in Atlanta and they’re going to work on their Flat Classroom Project LIVE! Nice, eh? But the NICER part is that she’s going to stream them live on UStream.tv. She’s going to broadcast her students live to the world as they work on their flat classroom wiki.

Compare that to the fact that I tried to show my own little wiki (on Wikispaces) tonight to some teachers in a local district (who don’t get internet from MY IU) and it was BLOCKED. So was my blog. That IU is VERY heavy handed with its filter, but to block Wikispaces? What the @!#$%^ kind of educational philosophy is THAT?

Now, we’re all following the same CIPA law, but we’ve got VASTLY different opinions about what it means. I’m reading a listserv where folks are talking about how they block skype and itunes. Another group talks about how they don’t allow Google Earth on their network. (Can’t be having those hi-res images clogging the lines and preventing REAL education, y’ know) Another group proudly announces that they won’t tell the teachers that they can have a different filtering policy than the students. Others block wikis of any kind as being a risk for kids to say things that will embarrass the school. Another one wants us to stop letting kids use photo story (watered down PowerPoint) as it’s not a real tool that they will see in the business world. I’m not kidding here. All this is for real. Sad but true.

Once again, let’s take note of this. Many districts in PA cannot read blogs (where I read of Vicki’s presentation), and they can’t see wikis (where her kids are building what will inevitably be another award winning wiki), and they can’t see ustream.tv, where her kids will be making an historic – or at least a very cool – presentation.

Pennsylvania is pumping half a billion dollars into infrastructure (Act 183) and Keystones programs, and now the Classrooms for the Future program. Those programs combine for about half a billion dollars. Yet, it may all be for naught if we don’t soon bring some sanity to this out of control situation.


Terry & Theresa said...

I am reading this during a meeting at the Montgomery County IU and we were lamenting your exact comments....that we cannot do blogs, that our own teachers union (PSEA) is strongly recommending that we never participate in or create a blog.

Lee said...

Jim I hear you, but my district is of a different mind set so it is not all bad. Terry and Theresa as an local association president in PSEA, in the IU you were reading this post in, I do not ever recall PSEA taking the stance of not blogging. In fact in the past at state wide meetings topic such as internet safety have been discussed that is about as far as they go to my knowledge. (PS sorry I missed the meeting but I had other commitments).

Ken Pruitt said...

True PSEA against is against blogging Schmoes, but I think they are against stupidity like "I hate my principal" or "School Board Schmoes Don't Know Diddly."

Edublogs are a reflection of learning and a forum for to extend class discussion. They are not supposed to be a forum for personal attacks or rants about students.

I hope that PSEA (of which I am a member) re-evaluates its stance on blogging and offers a more sensible policy like, "BE SMART" rather than its current stance.

Andy said...

PSEA's "Blogging 101" notice is posted here:


It seems to me that they are just recommending the use of common sense in not posting anything that could jeopardize your job or certification.

H. B. Wenger said...

You are absolutely right! Having the equipment and money and everything else, is well and good, but if they are not with us, then they are against us! This goes for school boards, administrators (principals, district, etc.) and the and the administrators in the technology department. These days, it seems that it is much easier to block and restrict from a tech department standpoint. In my PA district, the technology and network folks are part of the problem, not the solution. They have viewed these tools and resources (Skype, uStream) as problems for the networks as opposed to recognizing that they are valuable resources for our students and teachers. Change can happen in many ways, but in this case, we need to keep pushing the technology envelope in our own classes and force those walls to come tumbling down!