Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Participatory Media Rights in Education Now!

Participatory Media Rights in Education Now!

I get sick to my stomach every time I hear of a school banning Twitter. I feel even worse for teachers and students who have never had the opportunity to use Twitter in the classroom.

I've spent the past week live blogging what I think are very successful uses of Twitter in class. I dare any administrator to visit my Twitter-enhanced Latin classes and then tell me social media has no place in a school building.

I wish I were more eloquent. If I were, I would stand up and say: enough with this silliness! What would we call you if you banned books in school? What would we call you if you banned pens and pencils? What would we call you if you taped students' mouths shut and banned speech?

Because that's what you should be called for banning Twitter and social media.

Twitter is a source of vast information. Twitter is a source of shared expressions. Twitter is a place for freedom of speech and collaboration between intellects. In the best sense of the word, it is the new dialectic.

Sure, Twitter can be used to store provocative and even malicious ideas. But library shelves are filled with tons of provocative and even malicious ideas, yet you would not dare close a school library. Sure, Twitter can be a place filled with gossip and trivial conversation, but so is your student lunchroom and so is your teachers' lounge. Sure, Twitter can be a place full of vulgar language and half-baked ideas, but is anyone under the illusion that this is not merely the reflection of society at large?

Twitter is what you make it. And for hundreds, if not thousands of teachers, Twitter has been the source of the most inspiring and important professional development they've ever had.

And all it cost you was the price of Internet access and a wireless hub.

We teachers demand participatory media rights in education now! Unblock Twitter, unblock Skype, unblock YouTube. If you are afraid of what the students and teachers might do with this media access, imagine what they might do without it. Whether you happen to like it or not, we teachers are responsible professionals who are dying for the truth in professional development. And whether you like it or not, your students must learn to be responsible within the context of this Digital Age which is upon us. To deny the use of social and participatory media now is to doom our culture and to foster a generation of frustrated educators and a generation of students who see the democratic application of technology as nothing more than a taboo.

We can't afford that.

1 comment:

  1. Very powerful last paragraph. And you say you're not eloquent.


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