I just read a sentence in the prologue of Free The Future Of A Radical Price by Chris Anderson that made me angry. Of course I'm not angry about things that are free. Hell this blog is free. I am angry about the same thing that always gets my dander up. (My dander has been down lately.) Education.
The sentence in question describes the web as "the greatest accumulation of human knowledge, experience, and expression the world has ever seen." I agree it is. And the wonderful thing about it is that so much of it is free. So riddle me this. Why would cash starved schools decide that they should not take full advantage of its wonders.
Answer, schools are afraid. Fear trumps free every time. Even in districts that are relatively lax in their internet policing fear of social networking, fear of predators, fear of cyberbullies, and a dash of ignorance leads to some of the most useful tools of the web being blocked from student access.
Sites such as Blogger, YouTube, Goodreads, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and about anything else that might lead to productivity have a various times been blocked in my district. For the most part we will let students access knowledge, unless of course it is a video, or happens to be on a Facebook page, or is a tweet, or a game.
That is the good news. The bad news is that they can not "experience" or "express" much. We are much to worried about getting sued and not about teaching.