Tag Archives: politics

The Morning After

Just a few more days to go until the election and I suspect I speak for many of you when I say I am relieved. Politics has taken over much of my social networking conversation as well as the airways, since I’m fortunate to live in a battleground state. I have a pretty diverse group of friends and colleagues on Facebook so I’m seeing widely varying views on the future of our country, all from people I know to be thoughtful, ethical and well informed. My big question is, “How did these people all come to a different truth?”

There have been some moments of revelation for me and a sense of seeing people for the first time when a colleague posts a status with what I consider an extreme and unsettling view. In cases like this, I wonder how to respond, if at all?

Should I unfriend him? Not because he holds a different view from me; in fact, I think it’s kind of cool that I have a pretty wide group of friends with differing views that help keep me grounded. My Facebook news feed is definitely not an echo chamber this political season.

Comment with my surprise or with a counter argument? I just don’t see Facebook as the place to have these kinds of conversations. I’m not sure how to do it in a loving way, particularly because that will mean taking on a larger group of people that I don’t know and with whom I wouldn’t consider discussing this topic and who I suspect probably agree with him.  I have no interest in being an evangelical with my own beliefs nor having a private conversation in public.

So, message him privately?  Maybe, but I’m really just not sure what to say that wouldn’t make it seem like I was questioning a deep seated conviction, probably rooted in lots of other convictions I might also find very different from my own. We come from very divergent backgrounds and experiences that have shaped us in pretty radically different ways.  Perhaps, when I see him face to face some time, I will ask him about his post but my response for the campaign season has been to let these things go.

I suspect we’ve all had a similar experience this campaign season where people naturally gravitated to their social networks to make their views known. And , the nature of the medium is to offer sound bites of people’s beliefs that, in many cases, are uttered in an echo chamber for friends and family. So, I’m going to celebrate ALL my friends by letting them speak their truths and not try to argue them away from the things they hold dear and care to share.

Plus, I suspect a few of the things I’ve liked or shared have surprised some of them and they’ve graciously let me harbor these ideas without challenging me. My advice: vote your conscience, speak up in the face of hatred and evil intentions, and give your friends the benefit of the doubt.

It Would Be Funny If It Wasn’t So Serious

I had already heard about John McCain’s inability to use a computer even before I read Tim’s post at Assorted Stuff yesterday.  I certainly agree with Tim that if this man is going to be our visionary, it seems essential that he at least have a passing knowledge of the potential of these tools.  As Sarah Lai Stirland points out in her post, these tools are the way to reach out to Millenials:

Even if he doesn’t feel the need to e-mail, perhaps he should check out tools such as Twitter to reach the Millennials. It’s not just about the coolness of such tools; it’s about getting a candidate’s unique persona and voice through a medium to connect to a new generation.

It occurred to me that John McCain may not be concerned about reaching the Millenials.  Maybe he figures he’s already lost them to his rock star opponent so why bother  to reach out to them.  But, there is something much more serious at stake here.

I believe one of the primary reasons teachers don’t use technology as much as they might to support teaching and learning is because they simply don’t have access to technology on a regular basis.  Access comes through funding, mostly federal funding.  How many other senators don’t use computers to support their own learning, thus making it difficult for them to understand why a teacher might want to?  Throughout the year, we in the ed tech community have been fighting to retain the EETT funding for K-12 and just yesterday I got an email from ISTE asking me to contact my senator about the “Preparing Teachers for Digital Age Learners” program that should be part of the Higher Education Reauthorization Bill.  The purpose of this legislation is to extend the Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) program that provided funding for projects related to preparing new teachers to make effective use of technology.  But the funding is not included in the Senate version of the bill.  I wonder if John McCain had anything to do with that?  You still have time to contact him as well as your own representatives to make it clear that this funding must be included if we are going to be able to educate the next generation on how to use computers effectively in the classroom.  For more information about the Preparing Teachers for Digital Age Learners program and a copy of the legislation please go to: http://www.iste.org/Advocacy/Feb08-support

One more comment from this teacher educator about the importance of this funding.  I’ve been reading a lot lately that the use of technology in schools will change once the current generation of teachers retires and the digital natives move into the classroom.  I don’t think that’s an accurate prediction.  I think the next generation is comfortable using technology but being able to text message and post pictures in Facebook is a far cry from using technology with students in the classroom in effective ways to support learning.  Please take the time today to contact your legislator (and Senator McCain, too) to let them know that this is important to you and to our students.