Broadband, Cyberbullying, Child Abuse – A Teacher’s Plate Is Full

I am a teacher, and information is what I usually share. In America we have beautiful people in the media with no content knowledge. I call them “minute models.” They read content without knowing what in the world they are talking about.

I have been to five conferences at ground level this month and then some — and I do not include workshops. Thus, I have relevant information, unlike a lot of what we read in the press. The reports from the press are clearly beautifully written, but the information is often WRONG or critical information is not reported. The press does not tackle the most important information, but perhaps people who live in a technology bubble do not understand this.

Is anyone talking to you about Broadband?

Here are some excerpts from Scott Aronowitz’s article, “National Broadband Map Suggests U.S. Schools Need More and Better Investment in Technology Infrastructure” (THE Journal, 02.24.11), about the state of broadband in the US:

  • “Ensuring high-speed broadband access for all students is a critical national issue and foundational to realizing our education reform and improvement goals.”
  • The map shows that as many as two-thirds of schools surveyed provide Internet connection speeds of 25 Mbps or less to their students, faculty, and staff. . . . For educational broadband to offer optimal impact on technology use and comprehension, as well as on overall learning, schools need to offer connection speeds of between 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps.
  • “The National Broadband Map shows there are still too many people and community institutions lacking the level of broadband service needed to fully participate in the Internet economy.”
  • Significant improvements in broadband access are critical in rural and remote areas, “where opportunities for a wider variety of courses, especially in science, are fewer.”
  • “Students everywhere need access to rich educational tools and resources; teachers need access for professional development and to engage in professional learning communities; administrators need high-speed broadband access to conduct online assessments and to access data for effective decision-making.”

The National Broadband Map is a tool for your use. In case you missed it, it is a kind of citizen’s transparency project. Take it to your school board, take it to your local government, and ask questions.

National Broadband Map – click the image to go to the site.

It is an amazing tool. Click here for the workshop PDF. The Dept of Education and NTIA collaborated on that presentation. The broadband map can be used as an analytical tool.

The lack of broadband access is a problem for many. The digerati hardly notice the white spaces on the map. These spaces tell us where broadband is unavailable. There is wonderful, beautiful, great, deep content material available, but to whom? For answers, check the broadband map above. By using different map views, you can see individual schools and communities, states and regions where broadband does not reach. Telcos has been bragging about universal access, but in a lot of places it is too costly and in many others, just not possible. There are also measurement maps, thanks to Google (see below) and the New American Foundation. You can see where the technology bubbles are and where they are not.

Maybe one of you will write about it. We are talking about “bring your own technology” when you visit places where there is no real access. I think, for those who have been excluded from broadband by these lies of access for all, this is an important issue. How can you bring your own technology where there is no access or tools? (Maybe tools with E-rate.) How can you use the cloud if there is only dial up? Is that feasible?

NIIAC, we promised and promoted Broadband for all. It was late in the Clinton administration, but Congress did not enact the legislation. It was not so long ago that we signed out, and as a bipartisan committee answered, or tried to answer, these questions. We ended our work still trying to answer these questions. Since that time, many in the US, many telcos, have  reported  inaccurate information on broadband and access, while other countries have better access . . .

I am interested in digital equity and social justice. I do not live in a technology bubble. I know the reality of the difficulty facing those who are striving to make sense of it all. For example, in many places in Virginia with little or no technology, we have prisons with lots of technology — and lots of kids. To get to those prisons you pass a lot of schools with limited access.

These are just some things I need to say. And there is more.

Bullying, Cyberbullying and Child Violence

Cyberbullying is a passion of mine and was before Nancy Willard or Parry Aftab entered the discussions, but I welcome all the help children need. I was a part of the first working group. I also attended 25 government meetings on copyright, 20 on Internet safety, and, sometimes during the months of my work, I attended working meetings to assist in preparing documents. Based on what I’ve seen and heard, I don’t believe that we have only one answer to the problem.

As we are advocating for children, I think we should be able to take in a number of different strategies to think about ways to protect children. I know and respect Regarding Cyberbullying, Internet Safety, social justice, and so on. My sister works for the FTC, and the project she wrote is one I share freely.

I was bullied almost all of my early life. I probably could have been in the Olympics when I was a child. I was a teacher’s daughter marked with a Catholic school uniform, and I had four blocks to cross before the kids spotted me. I did learn to turn and fight. Wish it had not been necessary. Made me lose my religion . . .

Claude Almansi, on the other hand, said, “I got really bullied (and cyberbullied) as a mature grown up, which is something I’m coming to terms with slowly.”

I work in areas all over the country, and the violence done to children concerns me. I have started watching the cop shows on TV, and the violence in American society concerns me.

Bullying concerns me. I was always the teacher that kids went to to tell about incest, predatory behavior, and other awful things. I am a good listener. I read little faces. We don’t teach sociocultural interpretation, but children need to be able to share their concerns. Twenty-first Century kids have feelings too.

I believed that law enforcement, prochild, and other groups are doing a credible job. Then I had a child in my class pay the ultimate price. I think I did the right things as a teacher, but I am always watching out for children at risk and thinking about what needs to be done. Teaching is a job with multiple responsibilities. Besides teaching, teachers try to protect kids from predatory friends and family members, from smoking parents who burn the house down (that is how the child died, and I did try to intervene), from adoptive parents who impregnate. I did address these kinds of issues through intervention. No one knows the hell that kids can go through without proper counsel. All kids do not commit suicide. So far, I don’t know how we should prepare teachers to help kids who need a person to listen to them — on or off line. I don’t think we’re doing a good job.

I don’t really know any one person who knows everything about Cyberbullying or bullying, or its effects. I am on listservs to learn. I also work with NTIA and the justice department. While I don’t always agree with everyone, I have learned to be universal in my concern for children.

I use what is convenient and comfortable to me. For example, Stop Cyberbullying is a website that is easy to navigate, and there is now a toolkit on Cyberbullying. I recommend it because it is a tool that teachers need and that children will benefit from.

One final thought: Can’t we all get along as we try to help children? I think we can.

2 Responses

  1. Thank you for this great statement of commitment, Bonnie.
    Is the project your sister wrote at the FTC the same, or part of (or viceversa), That site also offers a compendium of tools for assessing self-reported incidence [PDF 6.42MB] and prevalence of a variety of bullying experiences, and several other resources from its References page. And the concept of treating bullying as a whole, including cyberbullying without making a separate entity of cyberbullying sounds promising.
    Errh – I’m having a blind spot, probably, but I can’t find the toolkit on Cyberbullying in Stop Cyberbullying. Can you give a direct link, please – or is the whole site the toolkit.

  2. About the National Broadband Map (your first screenshot): the picture is slightly less bleak when you check ALL broadband access options at the top. CF also their other most useful Broadband Availability Across Demographic Characteristics map.

    About the Google Map with the red and blue markers you also give a screenshot of, the Community Broadband Network Map original page with the interactive version of the map explains that:

    […]This is the first map to comprehensively show the broadband networks that are structurally designed to meet community needs first. Most of the networks are owned by local governments, but nonprofit networks will also be incorporated over time.
    Currently, the map shows communities that are offering FTTH on a citywide (or close to it) basis to residents and businesses (red markers). Additionally, it shows the cable networks owned by local governments across the nation (blue markers). […]

    So the map does not include other, commercial types of broadband access that may be available.

    However, that Community Broadband Network Map page also has a link to a Community Broadband Preemption Map that shows which States in the US

    […]have enacted barriers to either make it difficult or impossible for communities to build publicly-owned networks.

    And that second map explains some of the empty spaces in the first one: i.e. States that have laws prohibiting communities and public power companies from providing telecommunications services, logically appear as blank in the Community Broadband Network Map.

    That Community Broadband Preemption Map page also has a great quotation by Franklin Delano Roosevelt on why such bans are bad:

    I therefore lay down the following principle: That where a community–a city or county or a district–is not satisfied with the service rendered or the rates charged by the private utility, it has the undeniable basic right, as one of its functions of Government, one of its functions of home rule, to set up, after a fair referendum to its voters has been had, its own governmentally owned and operated service.

    Actually, this whole 1932 address by FDR, which was about electricity, also makes a lot of sense for the private v. public broadband access issue.

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