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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Net Neutrality: Without it we have MOUNTAINS amidst the FLATNESS

Note: I would like to give you a concrete example. Surely, there are much bigger issues with net neutrality than just some school project that has heretofore touched only relatively few schools at this time. It helps to understand examples, so here it is.

So, if you're wondering what net Neutrality means, it means that if two teachers who are across the world from each other want to create projects using free tools and let other teachers participate FOR FREE without any cost whatsoever for their school  that many people will not have access to that.  It means barriers for this.

There are already organizations out there charging for participation in their projects and who knows at some point we may have to have that model just to keep things going - but our hope and dream is to keep this thing going and get enough money generated on the side and enough supporters (like Elluminate) who will help us with administrative costs so that schools that choose to collaborate with other schools can have a high quality, free, open project to participate in with their students that aim to produce students who are educated at the highest level as it relates to Information Technology and the current trends.

Whether you're talking Flat Classroom, Digiteen, or Eracism or any of the other future projects we're talking about -- if for some reason we had to PAY to be accessible on certain networks these things couldn't be free.  (i.e. if a particular project made money off schools and took part of that money to pay an Internet company to allow their project through and block free projects in competition then schools wouldn't be able to participate or have the option to go with the free project.  Thus, through blocking, those free projects would in essence be limited to participation in areas that allowed the project through the firewall.)

How could we share?  How could we invite? How could we include?

I'm a capitalist but as a capitalist I believe in COMPETITION.  And competition means that we should have access to THE Internet, the true Internet to mashup and work with as we need to.

It means that open models should be given a chance to evolve into something more substantial - if that is their path to trod.

It is hard enough to collaborate globally but with  something like this passed, we will have even more complex issues.  Right now, US Public schools can be very hard to collaborate with because they can hardly access even the most basic tools.  This could make it hard to reach not only the students in the USA, but the volunteers who give their time to make this happen.

I'm just trying to figure out how legislation that would do such things as only allow access to certain commercial content would be a good thing?  (Except for somehow supplanting some costs to commercial vendors from the end user.)  But, hey, you get what you pay for in this case.

What the passing of legislation that kills net neutrality does is CLOSE the OPEN.  It puts MOUNTAINS amidst the FLATNESS and it UNPLUGS the CONNECTED.

Give me liberty, give me Internet.

(Hat tip to Stephen Downes and Dr. Alec Couros for the link to the video.)
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