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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How To Persuade School Boards To Open the Net

Suppose you are in the following situation:

You publish a blog, you have numerous feeds in Google Reader, you participate in professional wikis, you subscribe to podcasts in iTunes, you follow hundreds of educators in Twitter, and you realize that you have learned more from these tools than you did in your undergraduate, graduate, and post graduate programs combined, and in a shorter period of time. In other words, you are leveraging not only information but time.

You see how your students could benefit too. You, of course, realize that your students need to conduct themselves appropriately and learn strategies to protect themselves from the cyberbullies.

But you teach in a school district that only uses web-based technology for management purposes - gradebooks, student databases, and the like. The district has outsourced their responsibility of filtering to an non-educational company to restrict the flow of information that comes in and goes out of the school network.

HOW DO YOU CONVINCE THE POWERS THAT BE, THAT THEY ARE VIOLATING THE RIGHTS OF THEIR STUDENTS?

I can't believe it has taken me over 5 years to come back to the basics of persuasion. Use their own vocabulary against them. It is a fundamental strategy in persuasion.

For instance, if you went to your school board as asked them if it would be permissible to have an expert guest speaker in an area which directly addresses your standards, you would likely be given permission and encouragement.

How about stating that you believe your students' opportunities are being limited, and you would like to move your students to their individually "least restrictive environment" that would allow them to be with their peers in a more "normal" setting? Would a board member publicly denounce such a proposal? I don't think they would unless they were ready to address lawsuits and be voted out of office.

But, isn't this what is being done systematically around the United States? If I cannot use Skype, because it is blocked by the techocracy, then I am unable to have a true expert from India speak to my class. If my students cannot have access to blogging tools, Twitter, wikis, cell phones, and other tools of the 21st century, I am teaching in a "self-contained" highly restrictive environment, and my students are being denied their rights to a quality education that will prepare them with tools they need to be "contributing members of society."

I'll be working on this even more. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.





Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous

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