George Couros says:
If we got rid of a library in a school, people would be outraged that [we were] taking away information away from students, yet kids often hold the biggest library in the world in their pocket[s] and schools ban them from using it in the classroom.
They can use it at home but, hey, let’s just ignore that. Blocking is always better than educating, right?
Check out this video regarding “today’s biggest risk online.” ["Scary, like terrifying."]
Are you as terrified as these people are? Photo geo-tagging and other location-based services have been prevalent for awhile now. [You can find "her favorite fast food shop" and "the specific part of the park where she plays!"] Have you heard about a horrifying uptake in incidences of predation by online strangers as a result? Me neither. ["The location of her kids' bedroom was available to anyone online!"]
What do you think? Yet another incidence of slimy fearmongering (particularly when the reporter visits the mom’s house at 2:27)? Or a valuable warning that all parents should heed ["Experts say you can still be perfectly safe just by turning off GPS setting on pics you plan to post online."]?
The technology affords an environment in which students [can] take on more of the power and responsibility for their own learning.
But we don’t see that. Instead, we see
a hype-and-bust cycle that goes back to the personal computer. Look at all the marvelous things technology is going to do! And then it doesn’t happen.
And the reason, as Rheingold correctly identifies, is
the secret, or maybe not so secret, agenda, which is that the classroom is really for teaching compliance. That was useful when societies were transforming from agrarian to industrial, but it’s less than useful in a world where you’re going to need to be thinking critically about the information you find.
And there we have – all tidy and neat – the biggest barrier to effective technology integration in today’s schools, even in those 1:1 environments that provide computing devices for every student. We could be (should be!) utilizing technology to empower youth at school but instead it’s still about control. That’s why we have acceptable use policies, not empowered use policies. And that’s why in most classrooms we continue to see replicative uses of technology rather than transformative uses. It doesn’t matter that computers are the most powerful learning devices ever invented in all of human history if we’re afraid to lets kids fly.
Fear is a prison. And empowerment within tightly-constrained, adult-directed parameters isn’t really empowerment.
[Guiding question: What can we do to give students more agency and ownership of what they learn, when they learn, how they learn, and how they show what they’ve learned?]
Image credit: Fear is a prison
If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Nancy Lublin’s 5-minute TED talk on texting that saves lives. It reminds me that we need to start thinking more creatively about texting, Facebook, and other technologies for which so many adults are uncertain…