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Sunday, April 08, 2007

A conference write up for the Dark Ages

I'm tired and have got to go to bed, but this post from Ric Murry about a conference topic simply got my blood boiling!

In his post, Ric quotes the conference description of a local ETTC, here it is:

My Network vs. MySpace: Beating students at their own game

Today’s tech-savvy students enjoy taking risks and have easy access to negative content. Richard J.B. Campbell of Securiant will discuss how K-12 organizations can address inappropriate web content and the explosion of social websites like MySpace and YouTube while effectively securing their networks with a limited staff and budget.

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear from an expert and innovator in the education network security industry!
Now, I'm not going to rush to judge Mr. Campbell, actually he and his company, Securiant, seem to be very reputable in the security area and provide services that block hackers from attacking the network but of course, they also offer filtration, etc.

I would challenge Mr. Campbell and his ETTC to demonstration how teachers can have specific youtube URL's and specific URLs of any kind unblocked for valid classroom curricular related reasons. I challenge them to talk about teachertube, private networks at Ning, Youth Voices, classblogmeister and other places that are doing a great job and should be accessed.

I have a problem most of all not with Mr. Campbell, after all, he is a successful businessman and working to promote what he offers. My problem is with the ETTC that wrote about the conference and doesn't seem to be providing information on the valid pedagogical uses of these tools. (I hope if I'm wrong that the ETTC will correct me.)

It is quite the easy way out to sit there with open mouths as we "poo poo" what today's youth are coming too! As educators, we must not promote Dark Ages-related fear tactics but rather reach today's young people so that we can improve the drop out rate and improve test scores.

It has never been easy to educate. It means sacrifice, hard work and creativity and our networks are simply bursting at the seams and not providing many with the tools they need to teach. (Or, as I blogged about last week, they are shutting these tools down in mid stream.)

Yes, there are bad things out there and hackers and inappropriate content. But there are also valid, exciting, amazingly motivating educational opportunities.

If we give up the internet to the hackers and do not educate children on the effective ethical use of the Internet, what kind of world will we inherit!?

I think Ric's thoughts makes sense:

Again I ask, when will the student's future take precedence over a computer network? It seems to me that if Tech people are so afraid of their precious hardware that it would make sense to create 2 different ones - a "secure network" for things that need protection (files, permanent records, grades, and junk like that), and an educational network that if a virus entered, it would mean a day or two of down time to blow away the system and rebuild. No information that is important would be lost, because student work would be saved in online storage, and important system documents would not be a part of the educational network.

So, my toondoo on the subject:

Learning can't be fun

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