Students need to have internet access at all times. Let me repeat that. Students need to have internet access at all times. And they need to be taught in every class how to use it effectively.
This is a position commonly posted on the Teach Paperless blog. It was reinforced when I remembered a staff meeting from last school year. The memory was triggered by the most recent post on the Free Technology For Teachers blog. The most recent post was about Taylor Mali, DL Hughly, and Dalton Sherman. If you haven't seen any of the videos, they are worth checking out. Go ahead, I'll wait here... Now, go to your RSS and add that blog. I'll wait again...
In a staff meeting/training last school year, we watched the video of Dalton Sherman that he gave at the opening convocation for the Dallas ISD. I had seen it before and decided to use my laptop to do some digging on the video. I Googled (I still can't believe that's a verb) "Dalton Sherman Speech." I got a hit on the Dallas Morning News. I read the article. The money quote comes near the end of the article:
School district officials contacted the family last May about giving the convocation speech for teachers. Dallas ISD officials wrote it. [emphasis mine]Dalton gave the speech, and gave it well, but he didn't do much else for the speech. I'm not trying to rip on Dalton for anything he did. He has inspired many teachers, even beyond Dallas.
Here's my point: In the meeting, we had an engaging discussion and continuing conversation about the speech, authenticity, disclosure, and reporting after I brought this article up. Isn't this what we want our students to do? Let them have enough knowledge at the right time to be able to have an intelligent discussion?
I was sitting in a room of college and masters level adults. They know how to have this conversation and some of them could do the instant research necessary. We need to be teaching our students how to find this information quickly, how to share it with others, and how to have that conversation. I teach middle school and I'm postive that my 6th graders could do it with the right modeling and the right equipment.
Let's give them the tools. Then let's have teachers that can give them the skills. Internet access for all students all the time.