Schools, democracy and the internet.


This week, when the authorities in Myanmar attacked the anti-government movement, in addition to the use of deathly violence, they shut down internet access.

By these news accounts:

The Internet has played a crucial role in getting news and images of the pro-democracy protests to the outside world in the past month.

Wesley Fryer on his blog Moving At the Speed of Creativity notes:

Last week when I was in Shanghai, China, presenting at the Learning 2.0 conference, I reflected in a VoiceThread digital story about some of the differences in accessing the Internet from my hotel room in China compared to the open access I’m accustomed to from my home high speed Internet connection. I observed from China that the level of content filtering / censorship enforced by the central, totalitarian government was actually LESS severe than the content filtering enforced in many U.S. public schools.

That is certainly true where I teach.

Here neither teachers nor students can access Wikipedia.
Neither teachers nor students can access YouTube.
Neither teachers nor students can access Flickr.
Neither teacher nor students can access most sites described as “social networks” including most of the education sites on my blog’s blogroll.

There is greater access to the internet in China than there is for teachers and students in my district and in many school districts in the US.

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