Friday, October 24, 2008

There are None So Blind...

Yes, I know that my posts have been, at best, infrequent. I apologize. Though it's my desire to share ideas and resources on a daily basis, the last few weeks have been rather crazy for me. In addition to maintaining this blog--something I do when I'm not at work--I try to support the efforts of a number of different teachers at a number of different schools, in a number of different school districts. Some of the school districts are more progressive than others. Sadly, the bulk of the systems are regressing. They are losing ground because they have not decided to move into the 21st Century. It seems as if no matter how hard I try, these districts become even more mired in complacency or behaviors that are the complete antithesis of what 21st Century learning is about.

This state of affairs literally wears me out.

I'm working in schools where internet filtering has been carried to such extremes that web access is practically non-existent. It's safe to say that many of my readers won't or can't be able to get to my posts until they leave school and or get home. As if web-filtering didn't hobble them enough, many of the teachers in my schools also have to deal with other draconian ordeals that make using technology a pain in the backside. Prohibitions against right-mouse clicking (yes, right-mouse clicking!), USB drives, and shared folders on a network make it difficult if not virtually impossible for students or educators to do anything useful with technology let alone collaborate.

To mitigate these circumstances, I redouble my efforts and try, each day, to find workarounds. I end up working on work at home. This eats into the time I allocate for composing and posting content here. After recently slogging through some particularly maddening bureaucratic practices and administrative balderdash, a pal at work shared the following picture with me. I laughed that silly, yet frightening laugh that people who are too close to the edge laugh when they have an epiphany. You know, a kind of it's so obvious laugh that makes you worry about whether or not sanity is about to give way to complete madness.


You can find this powerful image and other rich content and ideas at a great blog called Dangerously Irrelevant. Check it out immediately. In the mean time, I'll get my act together and step away from the ledge.

What do you think? How can we address or help the people in charge?

4 comments:

Jerrie said...

Jeff, you gotta' explain that right-clicking "thingy" to me!!!! :) I can't imagine that being blocked! What on earth????

I am enjoying your new blog, even though it did take me a long time to find it! Keep up the awesome posts.

Jerrie

MaryAnn said...

I have to say that I am right there with you. We even have a "web evaluation committee" that is supposed to evaluate your educational purpose for having a site unblocked but guess what... they are censors and not truly looking at teaching students how to maneuver the web. Get this... the committee is IN MY DEPARTMENT! (I am not allowed to be on the committee because 90% of the web would be accessible if I was) Recently the committee sited that we would be endangering students if we allow them to have access to a 'social network.' Do you want to know what social network I put in a evaluation for? shelfari.com PLEASE! We wanted to use it at one of my schools to promote literacy. Teachers wanted to create bookshelf widgets of books they have read for their web pages to spark conversation with the students.
I am finding I am losing my passion. Not wanting to learn new things simply because I can't do anything with it when I learn. Its a sad state. I haven't even been blogging much any more because of my lack of passion. Its sad but I am glad I am not in this boat alone. We need to open our own school!

Joe said...

Jeff,
When you know you are right, and you are, you can't pay attention to those who don't agree with you. Keep doing what you are doing. I and many others around me appreciate it.
Joe Strickland

Scott McLeod said...

Thanks for the kind words about my blog. Glad you liked the slide.

Yes, step away from the edge! (and let me know if I can be of help: www.scottmcleod.net/contact)