Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why Do You Need The Whole Internet, Anyway?

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to work with about 400 teachers and instructional coaches from PA. I heard some wonderful tales of some excellent and exciting work that is going on around the state. It was SO inspiring to hear those stories. I saw a sample lesson where the teacher used the Classroom 2.0 ning to find other teachers who were interested in a joint project with their classes. They used Google docs to flesh out the project details. They used a wiki for their project. They blogged about their learning, And, they used a number of online tools to create their final projects.

And I heard the other side of the coin, as well. I heard from several who said that, while they loved that project idea, they wouldn't be able to do it, as ALL of those sites are blocked. Who is making that decision, anyway?

One coach even told me that she was asked by one of her board members who was concerned about their budget, "Why do you need the WHOLE Internet anyway?" Seriously! You can't make this stuff up! How do you respond to that? How confident can you possibly be in the sense that your school board is making intelligent decisions for the education of all the children in the district? How empowered does that make you feel?

I also talked to a number of coaches, including the 1:1 district coaches where Google Docs, wikispaces, blogs, and much more are blocked. I heard of their intense frustrations as they fight to get these tools opened up, only to be told no. Worse, the reasons given are completely WRONG. Total lack of understanding and an unwillingness to learn.

By their actions, those districts are saying, "We embrace technology - but only so far as it lets us do what we always did before."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to scream, now.

No comments: