Sometimes decisions are made by people higher than my pay grade here in the overly-large school district (and there are a whole lot of them) that are frustrating, occasionally strange, and once in a while, unfathomable.
Then there are those that just make me want to laugh uncontrollably.
This particular example begins with our system being involved with the local arrangements for NECC (mostly recruiting volunteers), which begins a week from Sunday.
As one of the “rewards” for our efforts, we get a small booth in the exhibit hall, the management of which is being handled by our IT and public relations departments.
At that booth they will be distributing, among other promotional literature, a list of the presentations being made by district employees.
My session will not be included.
However, that’s not a problem. I actually understand why and that’s what triggers the giggling.
You see the topic I’ll be addressing (WordPress as a content management system for non-geek educators), involves a technology that the IT folks in our district do not support.
Actually, truth be told, they want nothing to do with open source projects of any kind (and certainly not any CMS that isn’t named Blackboard).
Or, for that matter, with any of the growing collection of open collaborative and networking tools out there on the read/write web (Google Docs being another sore point around here).
All of them are resources over which they cannot exercise complete and total control.
Unfortunately, that concept of controlling every aspect of the educational process also extends to many of the instructional choices being made by our administrators.
It’s almost as if these open technologies are new holes that keep forming in the traditional dikes we’ve built around our schools, allowing the outside world to leak in and infect our students with ideas not in the curriculum.
Our administration just doesn’t have enough fingers to plug them fast enough.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to give up on the total-control, we-gotta-do-it-ourselves philosophy and embrace the fact that the world is becoming ever more interconnected.
We need our teachers and kids to be networked to that world, not blocked from it.