I’m liking this notion of sharing that I found in Dr. Bonk’s prequel to The World is Open. I was struck by several things in this reading – not just the notion of sharing. I do want to hit on that notion first, though. I am struck by the idea of sharing, especially in relationship to one of my favorite educational thinkers, Friere, who wrote about the notion of banking education. I believe in the first several waves of technology in education, we focused in must the same ways that Friere wrote about. We expected technology to be a vehicle to help students acquire (or bank) information. With these new waves of technology and education, however, we’re focusing on how students can not only take in that information; but, how they can use it to create meaning in their own worlds and share it with others. I like that. What good is information if we can’t share with others? It doesn’t seem to me that students gain much by just taking in information. It is the synthesis (in this case sharing) of that information that makes it important.
There really is no transition here… I’m just going to move right on to talk about something that is very near and dear to my heart— rural students. Dr. Bonk wrote about the access rural students in Canada had as a result of the internet. One of my passions is bringing “education” to students rather than students going to be educated. I think the internet and web 2.0 make that possible. But, I’m also completely aware of the lack of access many rural areas have to the internet. In fact, it’s closer to Bloomington than one might think. I teach for Ivy Tech’s Columbus campus in their Brown County location. I have stressed to my students the importance of accessing their e-mail and Blackboard throughout the week. I assumed that all of my students had access to the internet, and I guess they all do; but, there are many places in Brown County (less than 30 minutes for the IU campus) where dial-up is the only internet option. So – I agree that the world is opening… but, only in some locations. And, we have far, far to go before some of the remote places in this country have high-speed internet access.
The next idea that struck me in this reading is another of my passions. Like Dr. Bonk, I think information should be free. :). And, I’m struck by the complexities of copyright and what should legally be shared on the internet. As an online high school teacher, I use the internet constantly for my lessons. And, I can do that; but… I have to be careful. I can use anything (school appropriate) that I find; but, I cannot record and distribute much of this material. And, as an online teacher, many of my students need a recording of the LiveLessons that I conduct. If, however, I am using material that cannot be distributed, I cannot record it. It’s sort of a catch-22. I think it’s important that educators understand the complexities of online copyrighting – especially as we move into a vocation that shares information.