Saturday, December 26, 2009

We Have No Excuse!



Over the past few days, while I have been on break, I have been mulling around the blogosphere looking at all of the things that have been going on. I got completely caught up on reading everything in my Google Reader and even engaged with David Jakes, Gary Stager and others over the validity and the content of a GTA designed for Administrators. I know it has been awhile since I have posted anything here, but I want to post more as my time permits.

This post may not be something that my colleagues in education will necessarily agree with, but in the words of Kathy Sierra, its time to "get out of default mode." I am seriously thinking of using the slogan when I present on the last day of the CLHS Statewide Conference in Monterey, CA on January 17, 2010.

So, here we go! We have no excuse any more. Teachers need to get out of default mode. I am tired of teacher's complaining that they cannot assign any Internet based assignments because students do not have access at home. At the present time, any student that does not have access to the Internet does not have it because they have chosen not to have access. This is despite the economic situation of their families.

Currently, Walmart is advertizing an e-Machine's Netbook for $228 and have an Acer Netbook for $298. The prices are so low that the major cell phone services will give you a free or low cost netbook in exchange for a two year service agreement. (AT&T and Verizon)

The locations offering free Wifi is increasing by the day. McDonald's (12,804 locations in the US) just announced that they will have free Internet access starting during January 2010. Starbucks (11,068 locations in the US) has offered 2 hours free per day, in exchange for registering your card and using the card once a month. Barnes and Noble has 777 locations and Borders Books has 517 locations offering free Wifi. Panera Bread has 1,272 locations in the US offering free Wifi. Add to this number locations at Public Libraries, Apple Stores, Schlotsky's Deli, Daily Grind and the variety of independent businesses offering free Wifi, there is simply no excuse any more. In my local community, there are two cities that have municipal Wifi networks. (Mountain View and East Palo Alto)

If there are still barriers, the one technology that people in the lower socio-economic groups have adopted in large numbers has been the cell phone. Over the last two years, 2007-2009, the number of smart phones (iPhones, Droids and BlackBerry's) has increased by 20% per year and will account for close to 150 million cell phones in the US by 2013. Will Richardson's post earlier this month about allowing students to use their own connection, is borne out by these numbers.

So, if there are those teachers in the profession who still want to hang on to the argument that they will not assign students work that necessitates students using Internet resources, please send them my way. I have a few resources I would like to share with them.

5 comments:

DanaJKalman said...
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mhall said...

I don't see that barrier at all. I see just the opposite barrier- teachers who can't see the value of the Internet. Teachers who see the Internet as more trouble than it is worth. Who see the textbook as the endall...

my view from 6 foot 2 said...

I'm a former Church and Private School Tech Dir. what you say may be true in your area but it not true in lots of area's around large city and small towns. Being a private school everyone had access and the school/church had 'fiter access' for them to use during study hall. (I uses a Sonicwall firewall and filter, porn and the such is out there and as a church I wanted to block what I could.) What I found out when three 'church techs' volunteered to help a 'mission school' (it's a private school in the hard part of town that) there were a high percentage that didn't have internet. And you know McDonald, Starbucks our not located in that part of town. We were able to get the 6th grade class all 'Dell basic laptops' but internet was just rare and this is Franklin TN a 'top 10' small city in America Just south of Nashville.

Karen Janowski said...

This really resonates with me as it means those of us who were educated "pre-technology" would rarely have assigned homework if the same standard existed then. Our sources of information were encyclopedias and other reference books. Very few families could afford them. I know my family could not. So we used the public and school libraries. That's just the way it was. Our teachers never worried about how we would access the needed resource materials.
I know, I'm dating myself as I went to school in the 60's and early 70's.

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