My wife is an elementary school teacher in the Halifax Regional School Board (HRSB). As a fairly progressive and motivated teacher, she likes to keep abreast of current technologies. I suppose it doesn’t hurt to be married to a geek like me. As such, she likes to keep a blog for her class to keep parents up to date, inform students of homework assignments and provide an easy way for parents to get in touch and ask questions. In the past, she’s hosted this on the WordPress platform on my server. This year, she decided to host it at http://www.wordpress.com to ensure that she’s always up to date with recent patches and everything else that this great free service provides.
I do a similar thing with my NSCAD classes, but at least I have the option to do so. As it turns out, the HRSB has blocked WordPress.com because the domain links to sites that are ‘inappropriate for children’
I can understand blocking known porn or racist sites, but blocking blogs on an open source platform? What are they scared of? That our kids might learn about what’s going on in the world around them? That they might start to post comments about things they question or don’t understand? To me, this is exactly what blogs are for–starting dissent and encouraging conversation amongst the literate digerati. Apparently, the HRSB doesn’t want our kids to become conversant with current technologies (and let’s not kid ourselves, someone who started blogging when blogging began in elementary school would have graduated high school by now).
If we don’t allow our kids to become literate in what is happening now, how can we possibly expect that to function in the digital society they are inheriting? They need to know that there is more to the net than XBox Live, right?
I was always pretty shocked when I asked my first year NSCAD students about how many of them had a blog and heard that none did. Now I see why–the school board doesn’t allow them to be exposed to this medium, and if they don’t learn about the importance of blogging in school, how else are they supposed to get it?
Previously posted on brightwhite.ca