Ganley offers readers a chance to read the speech she presented at the first ever UK edublogging conference. She discussed several key points that struck a nerve.
"The assembly-line system of marching out knowledge in tidy boxes to be delivered at defined times in specified places produced generations of docile factory-workers and obedient, avid consumers. But our children, in spite of what they’re told and the obstacles placed in their path, have moved out of the boxes and into a fluid world where what’s evolving online is as vital as anything off" (Ganley, 2006).
We've read about the digital divide, we all know it exists, and yet today's rapidly evolving society is beginning to leave the have-not's in the dust. Don't agree? Consider Ganley's statement that research shows those who survived Hurricane Katrina and had access to the Internet were much better able to cope with the catastrophic course of events. The digital world offered information and, more important, connections to devastated residents. Remember my previous comment about the surge of blog usage during the September 11th tragedy? Those involved with blogging at the time felt such connection to the tragedy because they were able to communicate with those who were affected, those who knew someone who was killed, or miraculous stories of survival. As inhuman as the blog might seem, it has certainly shown its power when it comes to human feelings. In fact, the blog (along with other technologies) provides an outlet for the individual to communicate things that otherwise might be left unsaid. Teachers who are as rigid as wooden sticks are ignoring the correlation between today's digital world and the real world. I'm one of those teachers when it comes to IM language. Yuck, as I said before. Perhaps I, too, need to rethink my position and realize that we're not a stagnant world and things will keep spinning with or without my presence. There's an undeniable connection and those left without are at a serious disadvantage. Technology is more than a means to make things faster or easier, it is a way to connect, discuss, and learn from others.
"I have to stop hoping that anything can change; instead I must go about getting the work done. Inside. Where it counts. We edubloggers have to get our acts together, as you are doing here by gathering at this conference, forming communities amongst ourselves to lay out the direction. We’ve got to get the word out, show models, examples, proof—that means everyone of us needs to blog...We must listen as much as we talk. We must reach out to one another. We must risk failure. Every one of us in this room is deeply involved in the unfolding uture of this next generation, and as James Martin of Oxford’s Twenty-first Century Institute has observed, it will be up to this transition generation save this world or to lose it entirely" (Ganley, 2006).
Intense? I think so. Ganley faced losing hope but instead pressed on, knowing that "getting the work done" is more powerful. I'm not sure I understand the losing the world idea completely in this early state of my technology research, but I do understand the importance of opportunity and exploration. I'd be curious to hear commentary from the other participants in this conference.
Blog, the marriage counselor?
Allow me to end with a strange, somewhat humorous thought. If the blog does so much for personal communication, learning, understanding, and discussion, why not use it in marriages? I'm a writer, so it is my nature to write apology notes before saying the words, or to express my feelings in a poem. It's much easier for me to offer my true feelings in writing, rather than speech. I can totally see myself responding to my husband's "sorry for leaving the toilet seat up again" post with a "I accept your apology, but...." This could lead to a life-altering discussion about the importance of leaving the seat down, especially when it is 2 am and I don't know what I'm doing! Something might actually get done instead of the typical "mmmhmm." A stretch? Perhaps. But isn't it true that most marriages fail because the couple lacks communication skills? Hey, if it ever comes down to that, I might just give it a try.