Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Monday, October 6, 2008

Regulate Banks Not Schools

It is amazing how far behind Internet use we are in education. There was a time when computer technology in education was leading the way in technology use in this country and the world. Teachers were unfettered and were doing some phenomenal things with technology in education. Dewey, Gardner, Papert, Freire were being realized magnificently. We were utilizing programs that provided individualized instruction, we were on the bleeding edge of early Internet use as we had our scholars producing webpages, publishing their scholarship online, interacting with scholars all over the world. There was renewed excitement in education and everyone was excited and enthusiastic about education.

Then the rest of the world found the lure of the Internet and suddenly we had a dot com boom and it sucked the life out of the Internet. Suddenly the Internet became a consumer's delight and educational uses diminished and began to wane. To add insult to injury the US government stepped in and began rash regulations adding irrational filters and then created NCLB. Suddenly the educational technology boom was a bust.

Fear of scholars accessing inappropriate sites led to rampant inappropriate use of the filter without considered what the teachers needed or using education to make it work. Instead of using these "learning moments"; schools wasted them and went into Internet lock down. The problem was the scholars still had unfettered access from home where no one supervised them and bad things happened. Schools were no longer able to provide instruction in how to use the Internet correctly and wisely.

The other death knell for Internet use in schools was NCLB. Suddenly schools stepped backwards and went to teaching to the test. Multiple choice tests became all the rage and inventive uses of the Internet that reinvigorated education were lost.

I just wonder if the government had used the amount of regulation on the financial markets as they did with education, we might not have the financial problems we are experiencing now. The financial markets should have had the regulations education had and education should have had the non regulation the financial markets have enjoyed.

I still see the value of the Internet in schools and so do others. Someone has to advocate for the scholars since the US government has abandoned them. When we can see what the scholars are doing via their webpages is all we need for assessment, accountability, and regulation. The tests as mandated by NCLB tell us nothing and do not inform instruction and do not include the teachers who need to know. Tests are made by outsiders, graded by outsiders and then destroyed. We just get numbers that tell us nothing. Now compared this to using Internet based webfolios of the scholars' work and everyone who matters and cares has access to the work and that work is used to inform instruction. We have learned that when something is public, that is all the regulation we need. We know that NCLB has not succeeded. We know that making the scholars' work public does work to engage the scolar and to show the rest of the world what is happening in each scholar's learning.

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