On Monday I got an e-mail from an elementary principal:
Scott, it looks like I won't be able to follow through with the [Principal Blogging Project]. Our district technology person has decided not to open up access to blog sites, therefore I cannot access the site from school (our filter blocks it).
In other words, the principal cannot set up a blog to communicate with his school community because the district technology coordinator, who is in a support position, won't let him. Here was my reply:
This is disappointing. As Director of CASTLE, I work quite a bit with principals, superintendents, and technology coordinators. I'm always sad to hear when technological decisions are made that get in the way of enabling administrators' / teachers' work. I think that technology should be about enabling good educational practices, not gatekeeping or shutting them down because of fear / safety concerns. There are many, many schools and districts where principals, superintendents, teachers, and others are blogging to both internal and external communities. Why can't your district be one of those places? How are you going to expose students, teachers, parents, and administrators to the technological transformations that are revolutionizing American and global societies if you shut it all down? If things change (or if there's any way I can help you maybe persuade someone to think differently about this), let me know.
Here is the principal's final e-mail to me:
I agree. I tried to work it through and was not successful. I loved the blogging idea, it was nice and easy for me, and I knew that I would be able to get staff on board. Unfortunately, not everyone is as forward thinking.
This tale's been told before. Technology coordinators who are more concerned with disabling than enabling. Technology personnel that we would hope would be progressive, forward thinkers regarding digital technologies but instead are regressive gatekeepers. Teachers and administrators that try to move into the 21st century but run into the brick wall of supervisors or support personnel. Superintendents that allow such situations to occur rather than insisting that their district figure out how to make it work (like other districts have). Educators that fail to understand that the world around them has changed and that their relevance to that world is diminishing daily.
This tale's been told before, but it's still depressing.
P.S. See my previous post.