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digital equity

A project some of us are working on.

It’s ridiculous… so I must share it with you.

You are the people.. that encourage the ridiculous, the impossible, … the things that matter.

Please join us if you like. See specific needs near the end. Perhaps one fits your passion. Perhaps your passion is something we’ve overlooked.

the project: a global innovation lab working on digital equity
the first of our digital equity psa’s by Gregory who chose to teach where there is no equity:

1. dangerous that i found twitter – and could see that i wasn’t crazy.. that others were doing/thinking the same
2. dangerous that i had my first meetup with those i follow on twitter at the iste10 convention
3. dangerous that i had a good zoom out revelation – and saw where the mindset of the masses of those at such a conference are – not to mention the masses of all of ed
4. playing it safe is risky, dangerous can save the world

perspective from my vantage listening in to ISTE 10::

  • There are a lot of really cool things happening.. many pockets of innovation.
  • The masses are tweaking really well. It’s tough to move in an institution. Switching four 66 min blocks to two 44 min and two 88 min can even be deemed edreform.

I’ve personally felt our district wide Innovation Lab – where kids are creating their own courses was a huge mind shift. But at ISTE 10 I realized we are limiting even that.

My biggest take away from the conference:

  • There were many shiny- cool gadgets.
  • There were awesome ideas buzzing about.
  • There was tremendous energy in a large group of people that want to make change.
  • At the end of the day… this will only serve a portion of the world’s students.

Two words/images/concepts that I immersed myself in while carpooling with a district colleague – (yes serendipity can happen in the same town):
e  q  u   i   t   y
We (30 students and I)  wrote up standards of access we believe will redefine school.
digital equity (access prior to iste) – process – connectivity
While we knew what we meant.. equity is a more universal term for these three concepts, especially access – which is now switched to digital equity.
We believe we are going to scale and level out – because we crafted it a true disruption (low cost, low impact.) We are hoping that other districts will join in fall 2010.

Conversations this week have me thinking thought – it really isn’t a true disruption. Not everyone can join. Not the kid in Chicago or the kid in Uganda or the kid 5 blocks down. None of them have web access. Not just at home – not at school either. Funny how similar the stories of digital equity are when talking to Uganda and to rural and/or impoverished US communities.

So we’re crafting a project to create the equity.
Modeling for my district Innovation Lab students where kids/teachers are pulled in from each school,
a global Innovation Lab where kids/experts are pulled in from each country.

Obvious push backs – Why global? Why not ease into it?
Well – why would we wait?
If we can send a man to the moon, create the sixth sense, … why wouldn’t we dive into something that really matters. Something that could level learning to every person on the planet.. so that people and schools and money and whatever else you can list won’t determine anyone else’s passion. Something that will create a globe of people who really do want to make a difference – the means to do it. We all get to choose. We really can do whatever we want. But some are still waiting for access. Most are being incredibly patient.

And why don’t we do it in the same fashion we think learning best works. MIT is learning from kindergarten thinking… they are on to something. Let’s quit thinking it’s the exception.
Let’s find a tribe, a network – with no gender, age, sex, ethnicity, economical, geographical, etc… limits. People from anywhere. People that won’t be able to sleep until they figure out a way to fashion a structure to wifi the world. (or fashion great marketing to access current wifi providers, etc.. ???)

We should have stopped school to figure out the oil spill. We should do it now to create digital equity. We have to listen to people like Jason Fried and give up the way we’ve always done things. Switching minutes in the day.. just won’t cut it.

{after i wrote and read this.. i’m thinking… this will be my class per passion in our district innovation lab. digital equity – if you want to play or know someone that does – it’s open sourced. out sourced. …}

While we’re fashioning that – let’s start having everyone start using their own tools, or provide them with some. There are ridiculous amounts of recycle bins filled with cells. Let’s dismantle the service and start handing them out. Then let’s start connecting every kid to an expert tutor. At the very least – which would be incredible – we could connect those without teachers/mentors to Kahn Academy and Ted/BIF Talks…just to get them going.

c  l  u  m  p  i  n  g
The second word I learned form the same brilliant mind… clumping.
We were watching a line, single file, of thousands of people.
I was commenting on how ridiculous it was.. the epitome of public school…follow the leader. Then she started to explain the global perspective.. that other countries clump (we’d probably call it cutting in line.)
Well – this got me thinking..
We’re not looking to cut in line.. our agenda is for everyone.
We are however, feeling the weight of responsibility. We are looking to boldly (and gracefully) clump our way to a solution. It’s that vital.
The process may entail a talk with the President, it certainly will entail passionate global conversation. It is what it is. Most of all – it will involve shipment. We’ll make it happen.

We know there are so many wanting the same… serendipitous connections make the magic happen.

Here’s our start.. please help us with an early thrashing (Godin)…

  • what we cannot accomplish
    • yes – this is ridiculous. alone. but together we can. bullet directly below is key
  • how long it will take
    • one year is our first landmark – digital equity project which will feed into standardized test conversations

About monika hardy

a nother way


10 thoughts on “digital equity

  1. Great post!! I believe that digital equity is an important issue in our times and we should all try to contribute in making it happen.

    Posted by FashionKid | July 8, 2010, 8:40 am
  2. Monika you are fearless, beautiful, going for it. I feel so grateful you’ve come into my life. As you know digital equity has been a huge issue for me, because in a couple of hours I will be going to a school in Boston where most kids have no access to broadband at home, at school, anywhere. (As you say.) Bringing the revolution everywhere; not just to upper middle class white kids, has got to be central to the vision.

    Okay, let’s go.

    Posted by Kirsten Olson | July 8, 2010, 9:39 am
  3. When so much of the forecast for education is gloom and doom, this hopeful post sheds some sunshine on the possibilities. I love the sentiment and the enthusiasm. Digital equity will be, how we get there is up to all of us. Thanks for this post.

    Posted by melissa | July 8, 2010, 10:19 am
  4. thanks guys. i know many believe in digital equity.. just how to do it… you know.

    i was wondering today of even the tiniest ways to get people involved. {i’m usually the other extreme – a balance i’m working on.}
    i was wondering if we could get districts to buy into a fraction of the google mentality for innovation.
    if they might offer one of their most innovative employees and/or students part time.. to join in the digital equity project.
    if they would encourage 20 min a week district wide to brainstorming digital equity.

    i could go on – i hope you get my point.
    the difference between most school districts not involved… to many districts at least aware..

    what do you think?

    some of us are cranking up great ways to go about this project. it’s already amazing. but how cool – if more took part.

    collectively equalizing the game.
    that rhythm – that beat –
    haunts me with responsibility – why has it not yet happened?
    and it ignites me with incredible resolve – we can.

    Kirsten i feel the same about you and the people i’ve met in this coop and on twitter…
    it’s almost ridiculous how life changing a few connections can be.

    here’s to channeling the synergy our like passions create.. for good.

    Posted by monika hardy | July 8, 2010, 1:41 pm
  5. Equity…that sounds really great! We all agree equity is something that we should aspire to, but in practice is really hard to make it happen. I’m just glad to see some people are actually doing something and not just use big words 🙂 Congrats!

    Posted by cool gadgets | July 8, 2010, 3:53 pm
  6. Monika, WILL YOU BLOG ON THIS? This is running in today’s New York Times and I immediately thought of you. (Thousands of comments posting currently, on their site and all over the net.)

    David Brook’s old-school sense of entitlement and simplicity pissed me off. And he makes some interesting points I’d be interested in hearing about from every COOP CAT.

    I look forward to learning with you all,


    Posted by kirsten olson | July 9, 2010, 10:22 am
    • Brooks seems flatly ignorant about the academic and scholarly uses of the #hipsternet – both deep thinking and hierarchy are alive and well online. And campaign websites. And democracy and access and equality. The whole editorial is based on the straw-man, either-or, books-or-blogs, false dichotomy that so many commentators rightly cite. Perhaps Brooks is upset that there are no brogs.

      I mean, come on: there are dozens of canonical artists (never mind the historically marginalized and suppressed ones) who would have loved the Web and dozens who wouldn’t have.

      Brady’s flickr stream? #EndThisWar.
      Pope on Twitter? #FollowNow.
      Blake prints on Etsy? Hanging in the kids room.
      Sterne serialized for my Kindle app? 1-clicked.
      Canterbury Tales, Season 1 on Netflix? Queued up right after The Tudors.
      Verne editing BoingBoing? Cory Doctorwho?
      Colerdige on…

      Yeah, not Coleridge. B(r)ooks can have him.

      PS: I need some history and science buffs to help extend the list. Let’s go #hipsternet!

      Posted by Chad Sansing | July 9, 2010, 2:17 pm
  7. oh my… i just read that article.

    the first thing that came to mind was how lucky kids are today that they don’t have to take a person’s word for anything. and it made me wonder how much we have done that in the past – even presented in such a pompous fashion… you know… this is fact and that is that.

    critical thinking is huge… esp when it’s based on research and action. he seems to not really get the potential of the web. we all need to get better at not just flapping… but checking things out.. hearing all sides. that is one skill kids today will get better than any of us – because it’s part of their culture.

    the piece about kids being disrespectful.. i just had this long conversation with a student today. because of the web.. kids today know they can know more. even if they haven’t taken the initiative – they know they can learn whatever they want. so – in a sense – when they sit quietly in class (or not) and just take stuff in – they are showing more restraint than kids in the past did. there’s really more reason for rebellion or apathy.

    more reason to redefine school i’m thinking.

    Posted by monika hardy | July 9, 2010, 8:26 pm
  8. Hey Chad and Monika,

    Great! I love it.

    To both your excellent points, I just quickly went through some of the NYT comments on this piece from yesterday. Many echo yours. (I’m really interested in this because I think it is at the heart of some of what we are up against in reframing school–the internet’s challenge to some of the fundamental elitism that old-school, high cultural capital knowing and ways of knowing represents.)

    Here are some good comments just worth highlighting (I also had problems with the purported social science in the column):

    “Well. That certainly settled that hot controversy. Books versus Internet. Children caught in the middle. Do they think deeply, or do they chatter sillily?
    I give up. Maybe they do both? When no one’s looking?
    One knows by reading a certain columnist (on the Internet AND in the newspaper) that things are pretty dark for the Republicans when his column touches upon the ineffable.
    Cheer up, Dave. You CAN have it both ways.”

    “The “books are good, the Internet is bad” argument is intellectually bankrupt. Each of them is a medium that’s capable of carrying an enormous variety of content. A far more compelling argument, and the one that I thought you were going to make before you jumped into trashing the Internet and rehashing Nick Carr’s book, is that READING is good. Children who develop a love of reading are much more likely to be successful in school, and that success in school is likely to result in more success throughout their lives.”

    “What is your argument here, David? The internet is here to stay, get used to it. I saw Mr. Carr interviewed by Stephen Colbert and he did not convince me. Of course, to be really educated you must read the classics. If you have never read John Bunyan, John Milton, Charles Dickens, D.H. Lawrence, William Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters: Emily, annd and Charlotte are you really educated? And where did I just get this list of names? FROM THE INTERNET! University students today have a library in a box, i.e. their computer. You can’t really read the plays on the box unless you love to stare at a screen, but you can access them, and Shakespeare’s biography, quotes for plays, critiques of plays, his contemporaries and the history of his time, etc. You could, conceivably write a Ph.D. dissertation from the internet, but would you really be a Doctor of Philosophy? I think you might get the title, but are you the wise man or woman? The enlightened man or woman? The Renaissance man or woman? There is really no dispute with Mr. Carr, they will be shallower, but the internet is not going away, and the book stores and libraries are still in business.

    “David, I’ll take the global village of the Internet any day over the feudal village that is most branches of the liberal arts and sciences. Hawking life based on deference, rather than progress – I think you’re on the wrong side of the pond.”

    “It’s a little ironic that this poor imitation of Allan Bloom comes from one of the least academically responsible writers at NYT (e.g. not citing references, armchair theorizing, cherry-picking data, “think tank” sources, statistically illiteracy, etc.) For public school kids who are susceptible to “summer slide” the medium may indeed be more important than the message. Being a pseudo-scholar, Brooks would naturally be attracted to a study that legitimizes academic pretense and self-evaluation. But for NYT writers and other adults, one would hope that the message is what’s most important; that is, what books you have actually read, not what books you possess. Allan Bloom was drawn to ancient Greece and the true foundations of Western Thought……. Brooks is drawn once again to Victorian England. Based on apparently minimal reading of primary literature, Brooks seems to think the world began (and ended) with Locke, Humes, Malthus, and Darwin.”

    “David: You ventured into something you know nothing about and made a real fool of yourself. Your article is naive, uninformed, based on some fantasy of a past world. Stay away from learning theory and especially from technology and learning (I run a worldwide association about technology and learning): you do a disservice by your comments. And I’m one of your biggest fans! But this one was a low point.”


    “Old white man exhibits rear view mirrorism”

    Old white men exhibiting rear view mirrorism (metaphorically) one one of our major issues as we move forward in the revolution?

    Posted by kirsten olson | July 10, 2010, 11:32 am


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