May 3, 2010

Inquiry Keeps Me From Doing the Dishes

I found an Edu 2.0 site I love. Actually, it is a 2.0 of a lot of things site. Actually, I didn't really "find" it, I followed my yellow brick road of inquiry of which journey began with a posting through an ISTE group that I joined. If you are not a member of ISTE, and you actually read my blog, you should join (no, they didn't pay me to say this). AAAANNNYWAY, here are the footsteps of my own random inquiry model.

  1. I received an email post from Bonnie Bracey, who is the chair of the ISTE Digital Equity special interest group (see: I read said posting.
  2. Her email included a link to a blog article about teacher empowerment and the digital divide, and as I am very interested in both topics, I followed this link (
  3. The link led me to the an article posted by Lucy Gray, who writes about ed 2.0 for the O'Reilly Radar (see:
  4. This site was so interesting that I mentally filed away the article in the "to read now or maybe later" and bookmarked it so I didn't forget.
  5. I clicked around for a while, (while thinking "man I want to write for this site") saw the edu 2.0 link, click on it, and again landed on an article by Ms. Gray.
  6. This article was published today and was about the New Media Consortium's Horizon Report: 2010 K-12 Edition, of which publication Ms. Gray sits on the advisory board (see:
  7. I began to read the 40 something page report, well, because she asked me to (well she asked her readers to) and she also asked for comments. I could not resist, and it was time for a new blog entry anyway.
  8. I, being an awesome librarian and research, skimmed the table of contents of the report, read the sections that were most interesting to me, and wrote a comment.
  9. I have included the comment below, but please read her article and at least skim the document. It is worth your time. For my blog, I have fixed many typos but not for my comment to her post (lord I wish blog comments could be edited). So, no worries about me quitting my day job to blog for O'Reilly Radar since I clearly would have to pay my own personal editor.
  10. Oh, I also bookmarked this page, and shared it through various social networks.
Not a full inquiry cycle, but you see how it goes...

My comment:

"From what I have read so far, I can appreciate this and other published documents by this group as being helpful for school librarians (like me) and other forward thinking tech educators. Many of us are currently attempting to work within traditional public school districts to integrate authentic information literacy standards (see: through professional development and modeling instructional practice.

Specifically, I was drawn to the "Critical Challenges" section with regards to digital literacy (top of pdf page 7). Please accept these comments as an insider who teaches in a large urban high school.

One of the main roadblocks for information literacy integration in secondary education is a misguided internet phobia (especially 2.0) on the part of decision makers. They are concerned about what harmful content "may potentially" be accessed during the school day. What occurs then is excessive filtering put in place by network administrators who are not educators, and/or, for whom it is much easier to block web-based tools using prefab software settings. Instead, they should trust the professionals (school librarians and tech savvy classroom teachers) with the opportunity to teach students how to use 2.0 ethically, productively, and safely .

When pressured for more open access, the argument soon centers around E-Rate, legal counsel advice, and the inability of IT to differentiate filter settings by age and grade of the user. More often than not, teachers are blocked from content as well, or have very limited access to 2.0 through time restricted override authentication. I won’t begin to address how troubling this is when considering the social, college, and workplace readiness of our digital divide students.

From mentoring and collaborating with new and pre-service teachers, it is clear that even these “almost” digital natives are not arriving to the field of teaching as digitally literate educators. There doesn’t seem to be any recognition of 21st century learning or ISTE standards in undergrad, graduate, and administrative programs at the university level.

Considering the economic climate, the integration of cloud computing and outsourcing of the “business of Information Technology” seems to me a no-brainer. I think schools are wasting so much money forking over millions annually (per school) for licensing alone. The instructional technology integration can, in my opinion, be handled very effectively and efficiently. However, again, many of my peers are not able to get far with their advocacy. I suppose this problem could be a simple matter of innovation potentially disrupting the sustainability of highly paid positions held by those with a mindset entrenched in decades of tradition? For sure, there is not enough power sharing where decisions of technically innovative methods are concerned.

What is having the most impact on the tech ed market right now is online learning environments. As a progressive educator, I see so much potential in this border-less learning space. As a researcher and scholar, I use PLN’s and as many social tools as possible. However, here is the reality. For-profits are making huge profits by replacing teachers with packaged software programs. School buildings and virtual schools alike are becoming “credit mills” that rely on low level thinking and testing skills. Fewer teachers equal more money to acquire an ungodly number of licenses and to increase the pay of administrators. What I hope to see soon is more open access courses created by quality educators that can be accessed and applied easily by teachers and learners alike. Again, this may be difficulty as it would threaten the stability of traditional K-12 organizations and the bottom line of corporate educational publisher of content and software.

Consequently, I am wondering within your implementation guidelines if you will more thoroughly discuss team based decision making and collaborative integration. Will this be a top down approach, or grassroots? Will you strive to work with University Education programs? Who will be on that team? If your team decides to take a pragmatic/human approach to implementation, please don’t forget to include school librarians (media specialists). We are information specialists and teachers by training, and have a lot of offer, especially when looking at how best to organize and search for 2.0 content, and apply it through inquiry based learning."

Good lord! Does everything I write end up as a stump speech?

Some women have shoes in every color, The YA Librarian has a soap box in every color. It's what I do...

Read the report and tell Ms. Gray what do you think. And, you might want to make sure you proof read it, or she might think I posted under another name.

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