Saturday, June 16, 2007

Frustrations and Celebrations

I had to the good fortune to present today for the annual Digital Divide conference for Lehigh county teachers and faculty at LCCC. This year, we focused on Web 2.0 tools and the emerged world of 3D (some call it 3.0; others run scared from that term).

The energy at these conferences is amazing. The participants want to know more; they want to learn how to "do it" ("it" being the technology, silly...not the other, more risque "it."). They are sponges; they are early adopters. I am infected by their passion and thirst. They are worth celebrating; they are the future of education. But, their hands have been tied.

After lunch, we do workshops on various tools. I generally do the podcasting ones (Marc says it is the sexy voice; um, right...). Last year, we did the casting workshop over at LCCC's campus where there is eh-eh equipment of the community college, but NO restrictions. This year, we did them at LCTI where the equipment is TOP-O-THE-LINE but, ummmmmm, EVERYTHING was blocked!!!!!



In general, I am about as laid back as a girl can be without passing out and falling asleep. I don't get ruffled much, but certain things set me off. Consistently, CENSORSHIP sets me off.

The HS teachers were amused, I think, by my frustration. They said "oh well; this is how it is." Has NO ONE thought to challenge the school board or THE grand pubah (whomever that might be)? Do the kind and generous residents of the great state of Pennsylvania KNOW that their HARD EARNED tax dollars are spent on GORGEOUS technological tools that NO ONE CAN USE??????



I can't even get a decent laptop at my college to run Second Life. Not one laptop for faculty use is capable of running SL. Not one. But, the high schools have this wicked great stuff, and BLOGGER is blocked!

What is the reason, I asked...why the Gestapo on knowledge here? Oh, my, dear out-of-touch-Desi-Beth....the kids might see porn! UM, HELLLLLLO??? I have three brothers; they ALL saw porn somewhere in their teenage years, and GUESS WHAT? Relatively speaking, they are quite normal guys despite it all. But, that is ok...let them NOT see naked peeps, but let's let them watch prime time TV where every other second is littered with a violent act. Then let's wonder why these kids are soo frustrated that they go swiss cheesing their friends.



We do a terrible disservice to these students if we shut them out of the technology they will NEED to know in order to be successful upon college graduation. The Horizon Report out of NMC shows where we are heading, and we, at least in my neck of the woods, are INTENTIONALLY gating the forest.

Teach responsibility. Teach critical thinking. Embrace some classroom management. Lose the Apathy. Watch Pump up the Volume. Read Harrison Bergeron.


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