The socially just internet. Oxymoron?

I am annoyed by the Internet and at the same time I am in lust.  Like a troublesome boyfriend, the Internet seems to be the answer to so many problems – everything you need a few clicks away.

Today, the rush to get ‘online’ for organizations may very well be the difference between failure versus legitimacy and future success.

The biggest problem I see is that for the portion of our population with limited or no access, the Internet is not an answer.

Technologically, there is and will continue to be a separation between those who have and those who do not, like there is with salary.  Each new innovation increases the knowledge gap that someone just becoming computer literate must leap.  It may be instinctual to someone who has been immersed with computer use their whole life, but what about the urban and rural poor that have not?  What about those who are older and just have never picked up the skill?  What about those who have no need to use a computer for their livelihood?  What is their right to have access to the same information?

Obama recognizes the need for transparency (BRAVO!!) with regards to the recovery work being done in America.  To answer this challenge the administration has posted the information regarding this transparency online.

However, how do US citizens who are not computer literate access the same information?

Is the Internet just another form of oppression?  This is a challenge that needs to be addressed.  How do we make information accessible?  Is a socially just Internet a potential reality?

I think a socially just Internet would look like something that used vacant storefronts to teach, entrepreneurs and volunteers to train passersby, engage the community and a general recognition that while some information should be available online we shouldn’t give up on the person to person connection that happens in a community.

What do you think?

Teaching to the future…

I think at some point we have all heard that we are teaching today’s children for jobs that do not yet exist. How do you do that?!

One way is to look into the future and imagine what skills the children of today will need. I believe that in order to accomplish this a revolution in teaching style and content is necessary.

So let’s imagine…
Based on the current environmental situations around the world we are looking at a few different possible futures (adapted from Green for All/ Van Jones):
eco-equity – Green for all
eco-chic/ apartheid – Green for some but not all
eco-apocalypse – Green for none

Since the key is to success is working towards the positive, let’s imagine then the best possible outcome. The one in which equality is key. What would you need to teach today’s student so that they are able to have the skills necessary to not just live, but to thrive in a post-petroleum world?

There in no question that we will one day run out of oil. It is a finite resource. You should believe this if you also agree with the statement “the earth is round.” What I am referring to is peak oil.

Since the question is not if but when we move to a post-oil world, we really do need to create systems and have them in place so that when this inevitability happens we are prepared.

I believe that our education system is broken and has been for awhile. I have felt this and wondered how to deal with it. I have been to conferences where it was discussed, but in the past 6 years I have not seen any major changes or revolutions.

I believe that we can, together, imagine, or re-imagine what we need to teach to students so that they will be prepared for the mess that they have been left. To teach the skills that will be practical for the jobs in sectors that don’t exist yet.

So let’s think.

Rebuild our education system in a way that we are teaching those skills.

What skills can you imagine might be important? What information is currently untaught or outside of the curriculum that becomes important?

And last but certainly not least->
Viva la revolution!