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Advice to School Boards Open Schools to Internet

As you know, I am helping run our Blog2Learn workshop at Kennesaw State University. On Tuesday Will Richardson convincingly preached about how all our students can be publishers, teachers really to the world.

He talked how they can connect every bit of knowledge everywhere, how collaboration, networking and joining the global conversation can make our students want to learn and become successful students of the world.

Judging from their reactions, the 25 or so Language Arts teachers in the room got it. They saw the potential.

But alas, apparently many school officials don’t seem to get it. The big concern we heard is about fear, the risks. What if a student posts bad things, or worse see or hears bad things on the Internet?

Now these are legitimate concerns, but rather than locking out the potential risks, we instead are locking our students in. We are building a firewall around both them and their teachers. It is happening across the country.

One school I was told is so afraid that students might be on the social networking site MySpace that incoming information that has both the words “my” and “space” in it gets blocked. Someone asked who builds these firewalls, and my off-hand response was China.

However, the school officials can’t keep their fingers in this dike. There is a great torrent of information pushing at the dam, and it will break just as it has for the gatekeepers in journalism. The Internet defies those who try to block its positive aspects because they fear its negative protential.

Today Anne Davis, blogger at EduBlog Insights, will be the lead speaker for this third day of Blog2Learn workshops.

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