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EdTech Update





The teacher's prayer



ALA gets it - finally

The digital environment offers opportunities for accessing, creating, and sharing information. The rights of minors to retrieve, interact with, and create information posted on the Internet in schools and libraries are extensions of their First Amendment rights. "Minors and Internet Interactivity: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights," ALA 2009

Information retrieved, utilized, or created digitally is constitutionally protected unless determined otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction. These rights extend to minors as well as adults - Access to Digital Information, Services, and Networks, ALA 2009

I will admit that I empathize with the folks who tote firearms to town hall meetings and who post anti-abortion billboards along highways. Now I don't necessarily agree with their causes, but what I do recognize is the strength of their passion - that if one truly, deep down inside feels strongly about an issue, one ought to do something about it.

Being principled is a tricky thing. Too rigid and screed-producing, one doesn't look just real bright. Too open-minded and willing to compromise, one looks academic and wimpy. There may just not be a happy medium when it comes to the degree of fervor one brings to an issue.

Anyway, my passion lies with advocates for intellectual freedom, espcially for kids. It's probably the one issue I still strongly enough to fired over "the principle of the thing." Students cannot get a education without ready access to a diversity of viewpoints. There is a difference between education and indoctrination.

SO it was great to see messages like this in my inbox a few days ago:


During the American Library Association Conference in Chicago in July, the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) worked on the following documents and all have relevance for school library media specialists:

  • Minors and Internet Interactivity: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (new)
  • Importance of Education to Intellectual Freedom: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (new)
  • Access to Digital Information, Services, and Networks: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (revised)
  • Labeling and Rating Systems: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (revised)
All the documents were approved by ALA Council on July 15, 2009 and can be located in alphabetical order at
Helen Adams, ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee member

Yes, I'm a big time complainer about ALA's OIF dealing with print only and ignoring digital censorship. Here for example is a more modest rant:

The school library field divides itself pretty cleanly and clearly between the children’s/young adult lit people and the research skills/technology people. And to a large extent, the lit people are in control.

The Nov/Dec 2007 issue of AASL’s Knowledge Quest is a telling example. I was very excited to learn that the theme was “Intellectual Freedom 101.” But I was very disappointed in reading it to find that the majority of the issue was devoted to book challenges – not Internet censorship and filtering problems. What does this say about the librarian’s role in technology integration when we still seem to be more concerned about a few cranks wanting to strike a couple fiction books from our shelves than we are about an entire generation of children losing access to a broad range of online information sources and tools? The teachers I talk to don’t worry about kids getting access to Harry Potter, but to Wikipedia, YouTube, blogs and wikis.  HFE Column

So it is wonderful to know that ALA is addressing this concern. It will keep me a (high) dues paying member of that cranky-old-lady of an organization for a while yet. I know of no other group, with exception the ACLU and NCTE, that is willing to advocate for children and young adults' right to information. ISTE certainly isn't in the game on any moral issues.

Thanks, Helen, and your ALA group! Thanks for working on behalf of students.




Anything you tweet may be held against you

From You have the right to remain silent..and tweetless, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, August 20, 2009:

"Any thing you say, tweet, blog or post can and will be used against you" in the court of public discourse -- and that includes potential legal challenges.

"People tend to use Twitter and Facebook as if they were engaged in casual conversation and think they don't create legal risk; they are wrong," said William McGeveran, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Law School who focuses on digital issues. "They don't realize their statements are public, archived and searchable."

The rest of the article is worth reading and sharing with staff and students.

So for those of you plotting your next bank job, assassination or extra-marital rendezvous, just use the phone like I do.