Thursday, November 6, 2008

Unlocking the Toolkit

How often does this happen? You learn about a Web 2.0 tool and start imagining how you could integrate it into classroom activities. Then you remember: Oh yeah, my school (or district) blocks these tools. And that's too bad--for teachers whose creativity is limited, but even more so for students who miss out on opportunities to learn.
In this Edutopia article, Los Angeles high school teacher Antero Garcia goes beyond the arguments I usually hear about why the toolkit needs to be unlocked. He argues that keeping technology away from low-income students is a social justice issue: "Sooner or later someone is going to expect my students to be able to quickly and effortlessly post to a blog, add to a wiki, or collaborate via some sort of social-networking protocol. And once again, my school will have failed to prepare them for such a task."
That's what motivates Garcia to find ways around the barriers. What works for you? Please share your strategies for unlocking the toolkit.
Illustration by Adriano Gasparri, Creative Commons