May 11, 2009

NOT Acceptable Use

In my last post I questioned our approach (as educators) to what we believe to be acceptable use (in terms of technology).  Basically, I am not quite sure that we are "on the same page" as our students - that we are missing amazing educational opportunities.  I used an example in which a teacher asked a student in my class to get off youtube.  That teacher was Gary Ball.  Now Gary and I have a great relationship and the example I used was meant to probe into deeper issues.  I used this example because Gary has a firm grasp of technological use and is really an innovative and progressive thinker in terms of technology.  I knew that Gary and I could talk about what happened and use it to benefit future education of our students.  This is one answer - to have collaborative relationships with your colleagues so that you can figure out best educational practice.  Anyway, here is a snippet of Gary's response.

I don't really like the idea of letting every teacher make their own decisions on THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE. The problem is that one classroom has the potential to affect the entire network. One classroom all on Facebook has less of an effect on all of us. We need to be consistent on an issue like this.

Anyways - I think that the discussion needs to continue. The real answer is more bandwidth - but until then we have to find some way to cope with our students educational needs and the limitations of our system.

I found this interesting - one because I didn't expect this to be Gary's response, and two - because what he says has some interesting implications.  Gary's argument is realistic.  He disagrees with leaving it up to individual teacher's discretion for one reason and one reason only - the "limitations of our system".  What we do online drastically affects other classrooms online.  This is because of bandwidth.  If a teacher is giving "free time" on the internet everyday, although that is an issue administration would deal with, it affects everyone.  I talked to Gary and had him clarify his reasoning.  Sadly what he says is true - we need to "find some way to cope with our students educational needs and the limitations of our system".  Now, we both disagree with this, but it is our reality.  What we would argue is that the limitations of our system are also limiting our students educational opportunities.  We need to change this and NOT be okay with it.  I have heard that more bandwidth is high on the agenda for the upcoming year.  Thankfully we are part of a progressive educational division that is in tune with the future of education.  

1 comment:

  1. Your last blog post really made me think about some of the things that I do. Many of my answers are still the same. If what your students are doing during free time (in your class) affect how I (and others) are trying to teach then we have a problem. If it does not affect the learning in my classroom then it is not really any of my business.

    We have always had limitations on education - not enough money for field trips, books, resources, sports equipment and manipulatives; not enough time to teach as much curriculum as we want too; not enough time to try out new techniques; not enough time, funding, and resources for our sports teams; not enough educational opportunities. We have two things that we can do to provide good education given these constraints. We can find different ways to get more of the resources that we need - or we can find better ways to make use of what we have.

    In this case we really don't have enough bandwidth - but there are rumors of more on the way. Until that happens we have to find ways to do more with the less we already have.

    Really it is just a matter of shifting money away from other budgets. Yes more bandwidth is very important. The challenge is to figure out what budget areas are less important. I guess that is why our bosses get the big money.