What's the Answer?

That's the question left in my mind after reading two great pieces today. First, my dilemma... the technology people in my district are battling the use of any classroom 2.0 technology they cannot control. 

This leads me to the piece written by Karl Fisch over at the Fischbowl, Google Apps for Education: Is It the Right Choice for Our Students? He questions whether school control over technology applications is the answer, and brings up some great points while doing so. 

"If we want them to be safe, effective and ethical users of the Internet, let's not create a semi-walled (and only temporary) garden that limits their ability to learn, create, publish, distribute and interact. How about instead of spending all this time and effort setting up and managing Google Apps for Education, we spend it teaching our students how to responsibly use the full suite of Google Apps themselves?"

Fisch brings up what I believe is the answer - hold ourselves responsible and educate ours students on the proper ways to use and manage these new technologies. This is what they'll be doing - or are doing in the real world anyhow.

What I envision is giving our students limitless free web 2.0 technologies and teaching them how to use them responsibly in productive manners. This would lead to them being able to create without the walls that Fisch discusses. After all, I think that we are all outside-the-box educators.

A great example of what is going on that I envy is Shelly Blake-Plock's work with his 9th grade students. Shelly writes TeachPaperless, and blogged about his new project here. You can find his class blog, called the Western Civ Project here.

So... back to my question - what is the answer?

In the next week I will be meeting with the head of our county's technology initiatives (hoping to influence an answer) and I would love some more thoughts... any ideas? I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

More to come...

Mike Meechin

flickr photo by Max F. Williams


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