Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back Home

Back home.

Put 3,500+ miles on the old pony and saw more Cracker Barrels than you could shake a stick at, but I can safely say: I'm home.

My eyes were certainly opened to quite a few things this time out.

First of all, we've got to get the move on in creating a national Wi-Fi grid.

If we could get (several) televisions into the living rooms of every American, we should be able to get mobile computing devices into the hands of every American. And there is no reason any kid in this country should have to pay McDonald's to get online (that eminent Scottish restaurant charges a nominal fee across the highways of this great land for Wi-Fi access... though Comfort Inn sends out a signal for free and you can always pick it up in their parking lot).

But we don't need parking lot antics.

We need immediate universal free Wi-Fi from sea to shining sea. The dividends in intellect, connections, and innovation will dwarf the initial investment.

Second thing that struck me was the quality of the State Parks systems. Texas was nice, but charged an arm and a leg (at least around Austin). Arkansas and Alabama, meanwhile, were beautiful and reasonably priced... though upon finding one site outside Hot Springs not having any vacancies, we wound up 'homeless' (or at least 'campsite-less' for one evening).

Here in Maryland, I live only two blocks from the border of the Patapsco Valley State Park; you can find me there on most sunny days. I'm endlessly surprised at what I find in these parks and I am equally surprised that more teachers don't take their classes to the parks to learn everything from biology and environmental science to landscape painting and Romantic poetry.

Wi-Fi the parks and you've got an outdoor classroom beyond compare.

Lastly, I just wanted to express thanks to all of the folks along the way -- from the park rangers to the guys working on the highway -- for helping to make these United States a more than reasonable site for mobile education. Never should we turn a blind eye to the symbiosis that occurs in a society; that symbiosis allows for education and mobility to exist in the first place.

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