Seems that Vermont Senator Pat Leahy has agreed to slow DOPA down so to speak and that the bill is now going to the Senate Commerce Committee. Here is a list of members of that group that you might want to contact.Â
Seems that Vermont Senator Pat Leahy has agreed to slow DOPA down so to speak and that the bill is now going to the Senate Commerce Committee. Here is a list of members of that group that you might want to contact.Â
(Via The 463) In case you didn’t hear, two weeks ago marked the single worst ratings week for network television in history.
During the week which ended on July 16, the ever-popular online video-sharing site’s unique audience soar by a whopping 75 percent to 12.8 million users, up from 7.3 million during the previous week, according to new data released by Nielsen//NetRatings.
Interestingly (to me, at least) is that of the Top 100 videos ever at YouTube, 58 of them were user created content. And I wonder how many of those were created by kids. Even more, how many were created by teachers???
From the “Another Powerful Example of How Blogs Are Changing the World that We Won’t Be Able to Teach” Dept. comes this article in the Wall Street Journal via David Weinberger: “In the Midst of War, Bloggers Are Talking Across the Front Line.”
Bloggers from Lebanon and Israel — some on the scene, others around the world — are providing live updates of their experiences, commenting on each other’s writing and sometimes linking to blogs across the border. The dialogue is all the more unusual since the populations of the two countries had few ways to interact even before the fighting began. Lebanese law prohibits Israelis from entering the country, and there are no phone connections between the two states.
Sure, we can discuss the story. But fuggedabout actually showing the conversation to our kids or having them reflect on it on their own blogs where other people might be able to inform their thinking and learning. God forbid we forget to actually teach them how to stay safe from those Mid Eastern predators out there.
I’ll get off of this horse soon, I promise…
(BTW, if you want a really good rudown on the DOPA dopiness, try this post at The 463.)
I don’t mind people quoting my blog in their own or using any other of the content that I create to inform their own work. But this bothers me. Someone has decided to simply use my RSS feed and that of about a dozen other edbloggers to create a “river of news” page upon which to sell ads and, I would guess, make money on our ideas. No idea who this is…
Should I care?
The last couple of days, the one picture I can’t get out of my head is the one of groups of Congressmen huddled around talking in hushed tones along the lines of:
“Ok, so what is a blog again?”
“Look, just think MySpace.”
“Ohhh, yeah. MySpace! Blogs are evil…dangerous!”
“Dang straight…and that Wikipedia thing is just a mess.”
“Nevermind…just think prisoners taking over the asylum. We need to take back the truth!”
“Take it back! Absolutely! But…um…how do we do that?”
“Take back truth?”
“No, no, no…truth doesn’t matter. This is about DANGER. We’ve got all sorts of people out there, predators I tell ‘ya, and our kids are in DANGER! We have to DELETE the PREDATORS!”
“Mercy! The people will love us, won’t they?”
Ok, so maybe that’s a stretch. Bottom line is that too few of them have any idea of what is happening because they haven’t the experience to understand them. They don’t live in this world. They don’t live in kids’ worlds.
And that’s true for 90% of the non-kid population (and, to be honest, probably about 1/3 of the kid population too.) What I’m reminded of by the DOPA decision is that once again, this community, this “echo chamber,” is not representative of the real world when it comes to how these technologies can impact learning. We feed off of each other’s energy and passion, but that makes it so easy (for me, at least) to forget that there are about a gajillion people out there who still have no clue about this. And in my specific case, it hasn’t helped that I’ve been out there more and more having great conversations with inspiring and inspired teachers and administrators who get it and see the importance of understanding. I’ve been preaching to the choir, as we all have, but I’ve forgotten that the choir is infinitesimally small.
I’ve blogged about this before, this idea that we have to find ways to take this message to other groups outside of education, to parents, to school boards, to local politicians, to businessmen. And here’s the irony: we bloggers who believe in blogs in the classroom should be doing less blogging. I’ve been sitting here growing complacent because everyone who is commenting and linking and posting on their blogs and podcasting gets it or at least has the context for the discussion. And then, boom…DOPA passes by 400 votes. 400! I think that’s what gets me most…the sheer number. The fact that ONLY 15 voted against it.
Despite the best efforts of bloggers and ISTE and CoSN and ALA and others, I’m not optimistic about turning the tide in the Senate. That number, 15, is a serious reality check. If it had been 150, or even 100…
But it was 15.
So, I’m doing what I can short term, but I’m thinking harder about long term. Those of you who have read this blog for a while know that I believe in the end, these changes are inevitably going to impact classrooms in profound ways. The only question is when. DOPA, if the Senate passes it, will be a setback, although we don’t yet completely know the impact. But in the long run, it’s just a bump.
But we have got to move this discussion into wider circles. This comment on my last post does a great job of articulating a different strategy. And again, the irony is, I think, that we’ve got to do it in Web 0.0 ways, by writing books, articles for print in magazines that don’t have anything to do with education or technology (read: Good Housekeeping), letters to editors, calling into radio shows, make CDs and DVDs, and maybe some Web 1.0 ways too like e-mail and discussion groups. We’ve got to stop preaching to the choir and spend more of our time “out there.” I’ve got a couple of ideas I’m pursuing that I’ll no doubt blog about if and when they happen, but the bottom line is, I’m looking more outward.
I’d love to hear others’ ideas of how best to articulate these stories to the wider universe..
So the dopey House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed DOPA, and we’ve got to get our acts together to make sure Senators have more of a clue about what’s happening with technology out here in the “real” world. I wonder how many of them come even close to “getting” everything that’s shifting and changing, the way we are connecting, the learning that’s happening in social spaces, the fact that this bill takes away our ability to teach our students in meaningful, realistic ways not only how they can stay safe, but even more importantly, how they can learn, network, interact, and become continuous learners.
I’m really pissed at the media on a number of levels, first for they way they have sensationalized the whole MySpace issue into ratings by pumping up shows that “catch” online predators and stories that almost celebrate the ignorance of kids who aren’t being taught not to trust the people they meet online and to keep personal information private. They’ve preyed on the ignorance of the masses who really aren’t paying close attention and just scared them into thinking that there is danger at every turn, when in reality our kids are more at risk for sexual predation from their family members than online. And second, I’m mad at the media because of the utter, total lack of coverage this stupid bill has gotten. Here it is about 24 hours after the fact and there still is NOT ONE story on Google News that the bill actually passed. NOT ONE!
But why am I surprised? It’s politics. It’s fear-mongering.
So now we’ve got to take this fight, really take this fight to our senators. I have no idea of the timeframe, but it’s going to be short, and are any among us optimistic?
Here is an article that I just got forwarded that gives a pretty clear indication of what’s next…I’ll try to find the source.
Lobbying Group Criticizes Bill To Curb Networking Site Access
by Heather Greenfield
Â Â Opponents of a measure limiting certain access to social networking sites are trying to drain support for it before the Senate takes action. The House passed H.R. 5319 Wednesday evening.
Â Â The bill, sponsored by freshman Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., would require schools and libraries receiving special funding for Internet services to keep young people from accessing social networking Web sites like Myspace.com and chat rooms. There is concern that the sites have become havens for pedophiles and pornographers trolling for victims.
Â Â The Information Technology Association of America fought behind the scenes against the legislation and decided to go public with its objections early this week when it realized the legislation would be fast-tracked for a vote as part of a Republican initiative aimed at
passing issues that matter to the Suburban Caucus.
Â Â “We’re concerned that on the face of it, this is one of those overly broad pieces of legislation,” said association Vice President Mark Uncapher.
Â Â While the legislation leaves it up to the FCC to define what exactly will be allowed, Uncapher said the concern is it could deny access to any area of the Internet where users may post home pages or other information, including Amazon.com book reviews, for example, or on sites like America Online, eBay and Yahoo. ITAA plans to meet with
Senate leaders and staff to express those concerns.
Â Â “I am extremely pleased that the House moved so quickly to pass this important legislation,” Fitzpatrick said.
Â Â “As chairman of the Suburban Agenda Caucus, we are very proud of Congressman Fitzpatrick’s bipartisan leadership to protect children from this new threat,” said Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.
Â Â While there currently is no companion Senate legislation, it is the Suburban Caucus’ job to find a vehicle and make sure issues like this pass both chambers.
Â Â President Bush signed H.R. 4472 Thursday, a child protection and safety act that included portions of an Internet safety bill sponsored by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. aimed at curbing online child pornography. That eliminates one likely Senate vehicle, but there are others.
Â Â A caucus staff member said the item could be attached to other legislation to promote child safety, including a bill from Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., that had been introduced.
Â Â “We’re actively engaged, and we hope to see action in the Senate very soon,” said Fitzpatrick spokesman Jeff Urbanchuk.
Â Â “It could be picked up and rammed through quickly,” acknowledged Rick Weingarten, director of the information technology office for the American Library Association. “We certainly hope the Senate will take a more deliberative approach to the controlling the Internet than the House has.”
Â Â But he added after seeing the political maneuverings and speed of the House bill, his group is “certainly not going to sit back and wait until something happens.”
Â Â The ALA plans to send a letter Thursday afternoon to all senators. Lynne Bradley, ALA director of government relations, said librarians are concerned as anyone about child safety, but the legislation is not the best way to protect children.
Â Â “The best tool because technology changes so rapidly is education, education, education,” Bradley said.
Via Dave Warlick, I’m just going to reprint this here and the start making calls:
ALAWON: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline
Volume 15, Number 73
July 25, 2006
In This Issue: URGENT ACTION ALERT: Call Representatives TODAY and ask them to oppose DOPA
URGENT Action Needed:
The Washington Office has learned that the House may try to expedite
passage of H.R. 5319, the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA),
TOMORROW, July 26th.
PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES TODAY and ask that they oppose HR 5319. Capitol Switchboard number is: 202-224-3121.
DOPA is sponsored by Rep. Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and supported by the
House Republican Suburban Caucus. It would require that, as a condition
of receiving E-Rate support, all schools and libraries block access to
social networking websites and chat rooms.
The bill raises a number of issues:
1) Local school districts and libraries should determine what
content should flow into schools and libraries. Federal mandate over
content control is very problematic.
2) Districts and libraries already have the power to block access to
social networking sites and chat rooms and a number of them have
already done so.
3) DOPA imposes yet another burden on schools and libraries
participating in the E-rate and may deter many from continuing to
4) This bill paints an unflattering and distorted view of the Internet
as a whole, serving to scare away parents, students, teachers and
librarians from making use of all its resources.
Last week, YALSA Executive Director Beth Yoke testified on DOPA
before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet on
DOPA. You can read her testimony here:http://www.ala.org/ala/washoff/WOissues/techinttele/DOPA_testimony.pdf.
Kim is writing powerfully about her practice, and a few days ago she posted this:
Hereâ€™s the amazing thing about blogging for me. When I go home to my family or talk to friends, noone really wants to talk about education, or my ideas, or drop out prevention, or student achievement. Mystandard response to â€œhow was your day?â€ is â€œgreatâ€ and thatâ€™s about it. But I still have my students, school and itâ€™s challenges swirling around in my head a substantial percentage of the time. So now I find blogging and itâ€™s an instant connection to others who are interested in the same thing.
Amen. How many people have passions that they can’t share because they are too esoteric or because geography separates them from others who share it? This is about connection in so many ways, on so many levels, but none more profound than the one that brings us to meet via our ideas in this virtual space. It’s so very cool, and so very powerful when you think that just a few years ago it, for all intents, couldn’t be done. That is what makes not having the time to read and write so frustrating…the connection weakens.
Here’s the lead from a New York Post article today titled MySpace Invaders for City Students:
City public-school students better beware what they blog when classes resume in September.
A revised draft version of the city Department of Education discipline code calls for harsh punishments – including expulsion – forstudents who post “libelous or defamatory material or literature” on the Internet.
Kindergartners to fifth-graders who disparage their teachers, principals or fellow students on the Web could face a finger-wagging parent conference or be suspended for up to 90 days, according to theproposed discipline code.
For students in sixth grade through high school, derogatory online postings would warrant an automatic suspension and could necessitate expulsion under the new rules.
Nowhere in the article does it mention anything about teaching kids appropriate and acceptable use, which doesn’t mean that they’re not doing that, but it makes you wonder. And this approach is just doomed to failure. It’s a “deal with it” moment where the city is choosing to do just the opposite.
Now I know I don’t have to say this, but I’m going to anyway. Welcome to the new world. Resistance is futile. Education is the only answer.
So this is just a brain dump of frustration and flailing at trying to figure out how to balance everything that’s going on right now…Last week at the Building Learning Communities conference was great, but as an indicator of how crazed things have become, I would have had a better chance of talking to Darren Kuropatwa via Skype than face to face…I think I saw him for about 20 minutes total, and that was on a bus…same with a couple of the other people who I finally met like Sara Kajder (bus ride, 15 minutes), Marc Prensky (in the lobby after a presentation, 10 minutes, maybe) Steve Dembo (dancing with my wife on the Harbor Cruise…does a great butterfly, btw)…having the family there was great except that it was a lot to ask of them to sit by the pool or run around Boston in 95 degree heat while daddy was presenting and trying to catch up with everyone…and did I mention I had agreed to keynote a Tapped In Festival right in the middle of Tim Tyson‘s presentation on podcasting? (45 seconds, maybe, before one of the keynote addresses)…and that all I wanted as we sat in a 2 1/2 wait to cross back into the US from Canada after a quickly planned two night excursion to Montreal was a wireless connection so at least I could be doing some reading (don’t ask how many messages my Flock aggregator has waiting for me; over 100 from Stephen Downes at least)…so I’m really starting to wonder how I do this, how I keep reading and blogging in the midst of what has been just an insane month…and, oh yeah, I leave for Kansas on Wednesday.
I’m not complaining…just wondering…
Building Learning Communities has been a great conference that I feel like I’ve missed a great deal of for a variety of reasons. Connectivity (or lack thereof) has been a small part of it, but mostly it’s just trying to keep up with all of the events and people and good conversation. It’s overwhelming. That and the fact that the family is along and we’re trying to squeeze out some semblance of a mini-vacation. We’re going to head out to somewhere for a few days today since the kids (and my wife) are sick of the pool, and I need a break from the blog and conferences and technology. So, I’ll be back sometime next week. In the meantime, enjoy the Hitchhikr feeds…
Some assorted reflections on a busy first full workshop day in Boston where giving two presentations in three sessions left little time for blogging. I’ve had to resort to reading the HitchHikr feed to catch up on what’s been going on at a conference I’m attending. Sad, I know.
One last little tidbit of shameless self-promotion. Sara Kajder who is here presenting on literacy and digital storytelling (see Steve’s blog) came up to tell me that the state of Kentucky (where she teaches) has purchased 2,000 copies of my book, one for every technology integrator in the state. How cool is that?
More “meaningful” blogging today, I hope…
Just a quick post about the 7th Annual Building Learning Communities conference that starts today with pre-conference sessions here in Boston. I’ve got 32 captive (and hopefully captivated) educators for the day to do some evangelizing and teaching. Go, Blogs! Go!
But what I’m really looking forward to is meeting/seeing some folks from our edblogging community, like Darren Kuropatwa, Steve Dembo, Tim Stahmer, Kevin Jarrett and others. I’m sure we’ll be doing a blogger, um, sail-up on the annual Boston Harbor Cruise on Wednesday night. (That Flickr photo set ought to be interesting…) Also, rumor has it Marc Prensky will be here as an attendee, as is ISTE CEO Don Knezek, who I met a dinner last night. And, as always, there are people from all around the world here who bring interesting visions and stories about technology. Should be another great event.
I just hope I have some time to do some blogging about it…
Blogged with Flock
Yesterday, I exchanged a few e-mails with a former student of mine who just graduated college, and I was surprised and happy that he’d taken up blogging. He’s turned out to be a very good writer, and just the few minutes I spent reading his latest posts gave me this kind of weird pride-like feeling, like I may have had a little bit to do with some of that. Nice.
But the interesting thing is that he mentioned that he doesn’t see how blogs are much of an improvement over discussion boards. I’ve been reading and reflecting a lot on the conversation from a couple of days ago, and some of the outcomes from my workshop this week, and I have to say I think the difference is obvious: transparency. When I post to my blog, it not only has a chance to be read by a billion people, it also lives on in the Google-able and Technorati-able world of content. It also gets linked to by other people having other conversations. And it also creates a real sense of ownership of the ideas and the membership in the community.
That conversation about changing the culture was just powerful, I think. Twenty links and trackbacks to date, each one making me consider and reconsider my own position (except of course the one trackback in a foreign language…) Tom’s street metaphor made sense, and David’s Audioblog suggestion gave me ideas, and Alex’s reflection on his Cyberporn class added a great deal of context. And just about every comment seeded some more thinking.
And Kim! Holy cow! Kim started blogging at my workshop just four days ago and put up an amazing post about this topic.
Let me get this straight. I spent three days learning about wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, and various websites that I found totally intriguing and NEW. Itâ€™s been a long, long time since Iâ€™ve been blown away by a new idea. Now Iâ€™ll admit, I usually donâ€™t have time for those who will tell me why something wonâ€™t work. And there are plenty of people happy to see every change and new idea from that perspective. Iâ€™ve learned to at least listen to them, because they often help me to avoid some problems. But Iâ€™m not listening now. Thatâ€™s right, Iâ€™m looking this whole fear issue, call it cautiousness if you like, and staring it down. Because thatâ€™s what it is when schools filter everything and avoid, itâ€™s fear of the unknown, itâ€™s ignorance, and itâ€™s cowardice.
And that’s just the first paragraph. This is a high school principal speaking out, stepping out, the kind of voice this community might want to nurture and develop.
This is blogging at it’s best, I think, and what makes it so much more powerful than discussion groups. It’s network creation, connective reading and writing, conversation that anyone can engage with. I know I sound dreamy about it…so sue me. It’s what started me down this road over five years and over 2,500 posts ago. And it’s still the most powerful learning I do.
So I got a chance to spend half a day with Chris Lehmann and his full staff at the Franklin Institute in Philly yesterday talking about how the Read/Write Web might work at their new school, the Science Leadership Academy which opens in about six weeks. It was the last day of an 8-day intensive planning session, and they were probably more tuned into the “closing ceremonies” to be held at a neighborhood restaurant in the afternoon than on listening to me, but I was extremely impressed by their attention, their questions and their thinking. And their thinking was all over the place…on a Moodle site where they have been capturing all of their work, on newsprint post-its all over the walls of the planning room, in their conversation. I sat there just envious as all get out that Chris had this opportunity to really build “School 2.0,” and I said as much to all of them.
I know I for one will be watching SLA with a great deal of interest, because it is already one of the first schools to be pretty transparent in the planning process and it will be pretty transparent in the product. At one point in our conversation as his teachers were working on their personal technology plans, Chris said something to the effect that his process had been informed by people all over the world, and that by being transparent about it on his blog, it had been a richer, more effective experience. (Chris, if you read this, maybe you could embellish that thought with a comment…but not from the beach!) And I thought it was interesting that one of the interview questions his teachers were asked was “How do you feel about teaching in a fishbowl?” Partially, that comes from SLA sharing the stage with the Microsoft-funded “School of the Future” which is also opening this fall in Philadelphia. But it also stems from the fact that part of the philosophy is to share widely and to be open about the process. Pretty cool.
So I won’t go as far as to say that this is the first big test of a Read/Write Web school. It’s not. But it’s a big step on that road. It’s a new model that we might all watch. It has an amazingly creative and forward thinking school leader at the helm, an eclectic and passionate group of teachers, and a very democratic vision that makes it unique in my experience. I am very, very excited to see what happens.