Monday, May 22, 2006

Ease off the teachers

So much has been written about how teachers just don't give a care about integrating technology, web 2.0 modules, into their classrooms. I'm tired of the blame being put on teachers. Put it squarely where it belongs - on the administrators and legislators who are motivated out of ignorant fear.

How can we teachers begin to integrate curriculum using 2.0 technologies when those tools used to implement that technology are prohibited, blocked, and outlawed from access in our schools? A short list of prohibitions in most school districts in the US:
  • all domains
  • any rss feed from blogger or flickr, even if specific users are cleared
  • note that many sources drawing from the above also come up short and do not work properly, for instance:
    - bloglines
    - netvibes
    - suprglu
  • rate limiting or total blocking of multimedia files: mp3, realaudio, quicktime, etc, etc. Listen to a podcast over 500K? Forget it.

If you are a web 2.0 proponent, how would you do without access to all/any of the above in your work? I say ease off on teachers. Those who don't understand why we are not embracing The New Story with open arms need a little dose of reality. Spend some time in a classroom, a school, talking with a teacher, checking out the tools we have at our disposal. Then tell me it's our fault.

Time to look and place blame elsewhere.


Ewan McIntosh said...

You're absolutely right - the problems of blocking can only be changed by administrators. However, they do need teacher activists, professionals, advising them on why these tools are necessary. That means for some teachers raising our own profile to a point where administrators come to you to seek advice, rather than us going to them with our frustrations.

Easier said than done, but not impossible. The change isn't going to happen until we can get more of our colleagues excited by these tools.

It's a bit of a chicken and egg argument, but I think this is the way round it has to be - administrators aren't just going to say they've made a mistake and change their minds. They need their minds changed by us.

Mark Ahlness said...

Ewan, you are right, of course. Admins are not just going to roll over and cave in. Well, I'm out here, waving my arms around with everybody else.

My point is it's hard to get "...our colleagues excited by these tools." - when they cannot use them in their jobs.

Can't teach/show flickr when it's blocked.
Can't teach/show blogger when it's blocked.
Can't teach/show rss feeds when they're blocked.
Can't teach/listen to podcasts when you can't hear them.
...and on and on. - Mark