The blogroom materializes in one of our classrooms when needs arise. Yesterday I was in Empoli to discuss with some students. The university centre is new there and it is outfitted with advanced facilities, such as a sparkling computer room, the Aula Multimediale. We met there of course, being digital literacy the subject of the course for these students.
However, we used the Aula Multimediale as a normal classroom because we needed to use Web 2.0 tools and they were all blocked. When I had to show a couple of things to the students we went outside where, just in front of the institute, there is a nice gazebo were the signal strength was sufficient for my modem.
When I went home and browsed the news I found one in Stephen‘s OLDaily about the practice to block Web 2.0 tools in schools! This note points to an interesting article by Suzie Boss where I learned that the problem is very common all over the world.
I would feel like a crook by ignoring the exploding Web 2.0 world in a digital literacy course. So, we base our course on these tools and the results seems to be quite good.
As a matter of fact, I’m escaping from the university in the sense that I do not need (almost) anymore servers, technical people to maintain and manage them, I do not need (almost) anymore funds. Ah what a liberation, no more competition for funds! Very often we use the classrooms to make lectures and to talk together; then everybody goes home to work and we meet in the blogroom. Not so bad after all.
Unfortunately, there is a caveat there. The large majority has an online access at home but not everybody! There are many students that live just in a room because they come from other towns or from abroad. From another post pointed by Suzie Boss:
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.
I’m aware that this is the case for a part of my students and even if I try to find some remedies the problem remains basically unsolved.
I think we should advocate for open access in educational institutions, otherwise computer rooms and similar facilities are almost useless with two serious drawbacks:
- waist of money
- lack of social justice.
Thanks to the students that allowed me to publish the picture 🙂