I guess the biggest frustration to me regarding the “Oh no – we didn’t realize the policy and now we’re certain that ISTE’s out to get independent media and citizen journalists and quash the edupunks and destroy any chance of education reform ever in the history of forever!” hysteria over ISTE’s NECC audio/video policy is that so many of my colleagues, people whom I respect and value, are probably going to end today or start next week thinking that this conversation and its tone was/is/shall forever be a fine example of the power of blogs and new media to make change. And that would be wrong.
The problem I have with seeing this as a victory is that the bloggers in this one come out looking like a cross between Chicken Little and Tony Soprano. And that’s not a good thing. In the past 24 hours, I’ve read misstatements, threats, assumptions, and lazy research. “I’m taking my ball and going home” lines, too. From educators. Attempting to solve a problem. It’s disappointing. A rational, responsible, and patient tone would have been much better than some most of what I’ve seen and read in regards to this issue.
I’ll be the first to say that I’m pleased to see the policy changed, albeit temporarily. It was an old rule that didn’t fit the current media landscape. ISTE, I hope, would be the first to say that. And I’m pleased that so many bloggers felt compelled to address the issue. But I’d like to think that some more patient and questioning language might have been used in the “investigation.” Questions inviting dialogue, perhaps, rather than assumptions and anger. I felt like we were headed up the mountain to the monster’s castle, pitchforks and torches in hand.
We’d never let our students get away with this type of conclusion jumping and invective. And so, we shouldn’t be happy about the methods, but we should be pleased about the outcome. I hope the folks who make it to the table in future conversations on this and other matters of policy and disagreement are those who approach with patience and kindness, checking their assumptions at the door. And I hope that, if I’m ever guilty of such poor choices in language and attitude, that you’ll be quick to call me on it.
My goal here is not so much to place blame – but to suggest that perhaps we could all do better. I know I’ve been guilty of getting excited and forgetting to do a gutcheck in the past. Let’s all try not to do that. There are too many rules and policies and issues and problems and situations that need changing and will require our best work.