More on the Walled Garden

Almost always agree with what Will Richardson has to say in his influential blog weblogg-ed (hey, the library rang me yesterday and told me his book that I’d ordered had just arrived) but his comment yesterday on schools trying to re-create web 2.0 learning WITHIN the school network environment was a bit hard. He quotes a coordinator from Fairfax County Public Schools who says:

“Together, these two tools could give the student the ability to experiment with blogs and wikis in a safe, secure environment where they would receive feedback from their teacher and classmates that was monitored and attributable,” says Paul Regnier, community relations coordinator for Fairfax County Public Schools.

and says that that’s not good enough. I don’t know. A year ago I would have agreed, and I’ve had several animated conversations about how to move schools on in this way. But perhaps schools like Fairfax are working in more complex contexts, and with more diverse constituents that Will is willing to admit, and maybe for most students it doesn’t matter that much. Richardson says in response to the Fairfax statement:

Um, yeah but…are they also being taught to navigate these environments
outside of school so they have the tools to stay safe in the no so
secure real world?

Well, maybe the are being taught just those skills. And maybe you don’t have to be immersed in the not so secure world to build skills, experience and knowledge in students, as well as promoting reflective learning through blogging, or collaborative creativity through tools like wikis?

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