There has been a great deal of discussion on the listservs lately about our communities’ fearfulness concerning blogs and wikis, mostly pointing to the behaviors of youngsters on their xanga and myspace accounts. I must confess that I haven’t looked. If I did, I’m sure I would be shocked — but I wouldn’t be surprised.
Xanga.com and myspace.com are evidence of the wild world that we have allowed to happen, because we are too frightened to take hold of new technologies and too unwilling to pay for sufficient access, professional development, teacher reflection time, risk-taking innovation, and thoughtful harnessing and integration of these technologies into our curriculum.
The one thing that is constant in this world to day is that it is changing. When my son started school, he used an Apple II computer. Today, as a high school senior, he’s producing his own videos, and distributing them to friends over the Internet. It’s not just technology. The very nature of information has changed. Yet teachers have no more time to reflect on these changes, master new skills, harness new opportunities, and protect children from new dangers, than my teachers had in the 1950s and ’60s. We haven’t been doing our jobs. We haven’t been allowed. We haven’t been pushed.
The technologies are here, we’ve simply turned it over to kids to make of it what they will. What should we expect?