The Seriously Absurd

    Good stuff at the Pulse lately.  Here’re a couple of recent standouts, both of which hit my aggregator today.  The first, by Ron Canuel, includes a silly list of the cons of using pens and pencils.  Here’s a partial list, and some of his tongue in cheek conclusions:

  • Very limited interactive components with peripherals in the classroom or at home or at the office
  • Ergonomic design limited to higher end models
  • Limited transferability of finalized documents

stopped at this point since it became clear that in reviewing the above
listing, there must be immediate, and more in depth research into the
positive and negative effects of pencils and pens.  Just look at the
weapon component and the vandalism that these two tools have brought to
our schools and classrooms.  To add, I also suggest that policy makers,
politicians, educators and media immediately investigate whether
policies and programs should be implemented to ensure the positive
usages of these tools.

The second, and far more serious piece, is by Gary Stager.  I don’t always agree with him, but I certainly do today when he writes:

The rights of speech, assembly, movement and petitioning one’s
government are enshrined in the United States Constitution and are the
bedrock of our democratic system. Increasingly these rights are
exercised online. Blocking such access in schools, whether
accidentally, needlessly or malevolently, endangers us all.

    Overstated?  I don’t believe so.  Make sure to read the complete articles.

3 thoughts on “The Seriously Absurd

  1. I think Gary Stager’s argument is a little over the top, but the basic premise is right on target. I’m doing a workshop in another school district this weekend on how to use Windows Movie Maker, and I had emailed their IT department to see about coming by early to copy some video files to the hard drives in the lab I’ll be in. The IT guy responded by saying that users in that district (teachers as well as students) don’t have permission to save files to the hard drive.

  2. I think Canuel’s argument is valid; however, convincing school boards and taxpayers is sometimes more difficult that convincing educators. Maybe the $100 Laptop Initiative is the solution?

    As for Stager, I actually agree with him wholeheartedly. I don’t work in classrooms every day, but even I am locked out of ‘forbidden’ websites during the entire work day. We take CIPA very seriously in our school district, but almost to a ridiculous level. YouTube is entirely blocked. There are some really creative, wonderful things on YouTube, and we can’t get to it.

    Thanks… good articles!

  3. Everybody, and I mean everybody, believes in some level of censorship in schools. To go to an extreme example, who among us would think it OK to get a subscription to Hustler magazine for an elementary school?

    I am not saying that YouTube is the equivalent of Hustler. I am merely pointing out that we all agree minors must be protected by discerning adults; the only difference is where we draw the lines.

    By the way, the next thing I see on YouTube that is essential to a solid education will be the first.

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