Vision? What Vision?

I received an email from one of our progressive educators last night.  The message was basically affirming so much that we’ve worked with over the past couple of years with web-based and other technologies.  He was indicating that he still finds this video inspiring.

According to the counter on the YouTube site, ~630,000 people have viewed and hopefully enjoyed the video.  If you’re reading this or any other blog, you’ve seen this and so many others of the same ilk.

I’ve had some strange requests around this concept.  A couple that spring to mind involve questions like “Can you send me the link?” or “I want to show that video to motivate my staff. Can you set it up for me?”

The telling moment for me as I sit here typing this entry is the date of the video.  It’s dated – November 2007.  Just think about how much has changed in the past three years.  How much technology has now become consumer grade?  How much technology has become enabling in the hands of students?  How much more are teachers and students potentially able to do?

Have we stayed even with the vision?

I couldn’t find a copyright statement so I’ll just send you to this link at AttentionScan.  It’s a social media timeline that the author had created for a presentation.  There are a couple of things that stand out for me.  First of all, time flies.  Secondly, we’re still having the discussion about blocking and acceptable use of these social technologies.  Starting from the right and working to the left, there are technologies that date back to 1890 that we still block in classrooms.

Recently, I read the comments that @zbpipe shared about the power down time that was enforced on her students as they wrote their annual standardized test.  I suppose that the logic is that it levels the playing field for all writers but, other than that, I’ve got nothing.

Is the question even “Have we stayed even?”  Should it be “What are we doing to minimize the growing gap?”

On the weekend, we held a reception for the students and parents from our Digital Photography exhibition.  I talked to a number of the students who indicated that their entries included pictures from telephones, scanner art, high end cameras, and low end cameras.  And, once taken, the biggest categories are digitally enhanced.  Here, they take their efforts and use their technology skills to make it even better and tell a story with their results.

I stand humbled when they tell of how they got their entries.  I heard stories of going through their Facebook digital galleries to get their best picture.  Part of their challenge involved getting a quality print for display. I heard stories of home printers, home photo printers, emailing it to Walmart for printing, taking pictures in on a memory key to Shoppers Drug Mart, and carrying SD-RAM cards into a photo shop.

I’m heartened to hear of these stories and I’m heartened when I get emails and read blogs from progressive educators.  Nobody is denying the importance for literacy and numeracy but remembering the vision needs to be a critical part of all this.

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