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8580RE: [WWWEDU] Rant

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  • Trevor Shaw
    May 25, 2006
      I too am very sad to read Ted's post. I have read his stuff with admiration for many years. I can only hope that the "rant" caught him on a bad day.

      Ted, I can remember feeling much the same way to the point where I was giving some presentations at some ed tech conferences and my cynicism and frustration began to bleed into my presentations. I got a lot of negative feedback, and I'm sure there are a couple of conferences that I won't be invited back to.

      Changing schools has helped me re-invigorate myself, however. I am now in a place where I have exciting, daily conversations with teachers about innovative uses of technology that push the educational envelope. I suggest that you look into the independent school market. There are literally tons (tens?) of high quality independent schools in the NYC area. You mention the twilight of your career, and many independent schools are eager to hire well seasoned teachers who have just retired from high quality public schools and still have a passion about teaching. I have some experience on both sides of the public / private school fence, and I have found the independent school market to be one that embraces people who are forward thinkers and innovators.

      This, of course, does nothing to address the needs of kids in the NYC school system. For that, I'm afraid I don't have a solution.


      Trevor Shaw
      Director of Academic Technology
      Dwight-Englewood School
      315 E. Palisade Ave. 07631
      v. (201) 569-9500 ext 3244
      f. (201) 569-1688

      >>> mahlness@... 5/24/2006 10:01 PM >>>
      Ted's response to Jeff's rant saddened me more than any email or blog
      posting I can remember recently. When I hear the sound of resignation and
      even defeat in a voice always so full of passion and pushing the envelope -
      well, it breaks my heart. His reaction is not one of weakness, but is
      testimony to the sheer muscle mass of the system that refuses to embrace and
      LEAD with technology.

      I've been working in the classroom, using technology with my kids, pushing,
      pushing, for about as long as Ted, but I have always stood in awe of the
      voice he put to his passion. I could just never do that. Now his passion is
      fading, understandably, and I wonder about myself. How many battles can I
      lose and still keep fighting? We'll see...

      There are two things that give me hope right now.

      1) the new medium of web 2.0. It's not just email lists that spread the word
      anymore. We're looking at blogs, wikis, kids as authors, rss feeds, news
      aggregators, podcasts, etc. There are so many more ways to influence people
      and induce change.

      2) the new voices, the Ted Nellens of web 2.0. I hope I don't offend here...
      Anybody reading Miguel Guhlin, Wesley Fryer, or David Warlick knows what I'm
      talking about. Anybody who cares about technology in education who does not
      follow them regularly, needs to. They are using all the incredible new
      tools at their disposal to get the word out, to spread the word in any way
      they can. Evangelists they are. And they are even here on web 1.0 lists like
      wwwedu. Heck, I even saw a post by Will Richardson on EdTech the other day.

      So I have hope. And I hope to hear more from you, Ted. The fight is not
      over, hang in there, we need you. - Mark

      Mark Ahlness

      -----Original Message-----
      From: wwwedu@yahoogroups.com [mailto:wwwedu@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
      Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 2:01 AM
      To: wwwedu@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [WWWEDU] Rant

      Jeff, i loved your preamble and then that which followed. much of it does
      strike a cord and has been one of my private battles over the past dozen
      years. at this sad point in time for me, i am finding i use less and less
      tech to the point i am now teaching pre tech in my nyc school called
      Information Technology HS. it was supposed to be the premier tech school
      in nyc, but alas, for all the reasons your highlighted and a few more the
      NYC tech team could come up with, tech is dead in NYC. I use dto rant an
      drave and present and publish this for many years, but alas spitting in
      the wind has gotten the best of me and i have resigned myself to the
      demise of tech and substantial use of it in schools for the future because
      of the reactionary attitude of punishment and prohibition over the more
      intelligent choice of education of the user. as i have said before the
      adults who lead dont get it and never will. i have beat my head against
      this brick wall for too long, screamed and shouted till i'm hoarse,
      demonstrated the success potential for too long. as i near my twilight
      years, i am content to merely fade away on this topic as i see it getting
      worse and worse. we had our heyday and i dont see it happening again.
      camelot is dead and so it intelligent use of the tech in schools, IMHO.

      i loved your rant, it reminded me of the type i'd hear from many wwweduers
      over the years and many of their voices still resonate today or have been
      extinguished and it only gets worse everyday, week, month, year.

      I have my own opinions on the reasons, have stated them many times, and
      i'm tired of hearing myself on this topic. i am so glad to hear another

      good luck in your quixotic efforts, jeff.


      On Tue, 23 May 2006, Jeff Cooper wrote:

      > The following rant shakes and rambles the status quo and is filled
      > with many generalizations. I'm painting with a broad brush here for
      > possible further discourse. If any of these issues hit home with you,
      > we can continue the dialogue, if not, then drop it!
      > The reactionary "State of Filtering" in K-12 schools completely appals
      > me. Someone has an inappropriate blog? Ban all blogs. MySp@ce
      > exists? Ban anything and everything with the word in it, and oh,
      > let's actually make illegal any website based upon community. Playboy
      > exists? Ban all magazines. The list goes on and on and no one seems
      > to care that all of these actions do not truly protect our kids, but
      > completely erode freedom of speech, not to mention putting a huge
      > damper on using the Net for educational purposes.
      > If our country were truly serious about protecting kids, we would have
      > created .sex and .xxx domains rather than dump the idea a month ago.
      > The religious right controls many of the filtering software companies
      > and uses its power to further its own religious agenda rather than
      > truly making the Net a safer place for all. Trying to keep students
      > from "seeing anything and everything bad" means filtering much that is
      > good. Of course, our country and mainstream media loves to vilify the
      > Net and paint it as a place wholly inhabited by predators. Dateline
      > has done 10 of the same "to catch a predator" shows, but has yet to
      > show any positive ways for students or parents to act online. Indeed,
      > have you *ever* seen a mainstream media show that shows anything
      > positive about the Internet?
      > We've allowed what happens in schools to become so politicized through
      > NCLB that educators have their hands completely tied as far as what
      > best practices they may employ. Why doesn't the NEA and ACLU file a
      > lawsuit eliminating filters? Indeed, why isn't there a filtering
      > system that operates in the opposite way? Namely, if a site contains
      > inappropriate material a button is clicked and that site becomes noted
      > as suspect and then reviewed to ban? Of course this will never happen
      > because it means some kid somewhere might see something bad.
      > I think the negativist view of the Net coupled with the appalling lack
      > of support for educators means that very few use the Net with their
      > classes. I'd be amazed if more than 10% of educators nationwide
      > integrate the Net into any of their classes even once a year. Pew, do
      > you have a report on this? The chilling effect freezes the Net.
      > OK... that's pretty much enough of a rant for now. I think I'll go
      > back to bed for a few.
      > Regards,
      > Jeff Cooper
      > WWWEDU, The Web and Education Discussion Group
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wwwedu
      > http://www.edwebproject.org/wwwedu.html
      > Yahoo! Groups Links


      Ted Nellen 8-) http://www.tnellen.com/

      "You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
      To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model

      Buckminster Fuller

      WWWEDU, The Web and Education Discussion Group

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