I am proposing a workshop for my district to explore and discuss Web 2.0 and it's educational possibilities. One of the things that I put in my proposal is to have someone from the district IT Dept. attend. I want this for a few reasons:
1) to be able to allow websites that the internet filters block (usually anything to do with shareware, opensource downloads like Firefox, social networking like this very site) and to allow for software downloads (we are on ActiveDirectory, ugh!)
2) to show the IT Dept. all of the possibilities for teachers to use the internet and to try to break through this whole "moat around the castle" fear response.
I got a response today, and it is a mixed bag. They like the idea, but now they want to check with our Google contact about how to access these things safely. Now, you need a little background here: we are a small town in a former furniture industry town in the south. Google is currently building a server farm here, which will be a boon to the economy. With that being said, I feel like their reaction to check with their Google contact is like calling a Honda executive to ask how to change a flat tire.
My question to you all is: How can you get past all of the fear that seems to be wrapped up with accessing the internet? How would you explain the benefit to risk ratio? My current solution is to procure my own computers and do with them as I please, but it seems like someone would want to listen to how we are squandering such a fantastic resource...