So I’m not sure if this is the best online etiquette, but I feel compelled to share an e-mail I got from a long-time edblogger this morning with some really disturbing news. Basically, without warning, his district blocked internal access to all of his student blog and podcasting sites.
This afternoon, my district…officially blocked all of my 150 student blogs – both my online magazine and my 100 student blogs for my classroom. The urls you put in your book will work anywhere in the world except in my school, and maybe China.
Now that in itself is pretty ridiculous when you take it at face value. But it’s even worse when you understand, as this teacher does, that they’re not just blocking blogs. They’re blocking a community of learners and an innovative educator who are making great use of these tools. He says:
The blogs have energized my classroom this year. We’ve had over 11,000 hits to our student blogs and online magazine since October of last year. That’s 11,000 times that someone else is reading my students’ writing. We literally created a community of readers and writers.
And why did they do this?
As far as I can tell, the school’s technology officials had no valid reason for shutting me down. I have meticulously created the templates where we blog. I closely monitor all pages. None of the students are identified. Parents are aware of what we’re doing, and support it.
Surprised? I’m not. It’s becoming clear that we’re going to see this more and more, and while I’ll bet the district is going to raise the safety defense, it really has much more to do with losing control than anything else.
But what we have here, it seems, is also an opportunity for parents to stand up and come to the defense of good pedagogy. (What a concept…) And that might be a first. Isn’t it about time we read a newspaper or magazine article where parents and teachers and students are advocating for the learning that comes with less control rather than the ignorance that comes with ratcheting it up?
Updates as they come in…