Those of you who most need to read this post will not be able to read it at school.
This week was a bit of a wake up call for me.
I traveled to upstate New York to discuss evidence-informed practice and 2.0 tools. I discovered that for many of the librarians up there, these tools were blocked.
At our countywide edtech meeting this week–attended by classroom teachers, technology integrators, and librarians–we went through our usual what’s new and cool in your school round table discussion.
We heard a lot about student information systems and new catalogs and the problems teachers experience with new grading software.
The only people to discuss classroom applications of blogs, and wikis, and digital storytelling, and social networking were representatives from our own district. When the table presentations were over, I asked how many other districts supported use these applications for class projects. Springfield Township was the only one.
The other teachers reported that district filtering decisions are based on fear of litigation. Filtering decisions are largely made based on advice or warning from district solicitors. Filtering decisions are largely decided on by convenience. Filtering decisions are often made by non-educators.
We are at a tipping point. Evidence is building. Learners are ready to explore, to share with new audiences. Effective tools, ripe for exploiting in learning, are multiplying. The many blogs we read, the conferences we attend, the work we discover through social networking, and a growing number of our magazines and journals, point to the fact that these new tools have the potential to recharge learning and teaching.
Historically, librarians have fought a great number of intellectual freedom fights. This is another one that teacher-librarians need to own. This one is about equity. This is a big one. And I believe this one will be a grass-roots effort.
We need to somehow support each other in creating new opportunities and challenges for all learners. We need to share our examples of effective practice with administrators.
We cannot stop at no.