Yesterday I went to the police department to pick up a report. I was very surprised that I could not go into the building. I remember being able to access every public building as a child in school. I have been in the White House and the U. S. Capitol, but I could not go in the Christiansburg Police Department. This made me really think about access.
In a class I T.A. on Interest Groups we spend a lot of time talking about access. You cannot lobby a politician without access to them, I could not get the documents I needed without access, and it can be very hard to learn when lacking access as well. I learned a ton by being able to walk into some of our nations most important buildings, and I hope that never changes.
I wish that learning was easier to access. You have to be in Washington DC to do it, but anyone can walk into our national museums. You can learn so much by simply being able to go in, but until just recreantly you actually had to go into the physical museum. Today technology is opening up so much learning and allowing access to so many people. Thanks to new inventions there are more and more opportunities to access learning.
I am very excited about this progression, but I have one nagging fear. Yesterday when I went to the Police Station to get a copy of a repot I did not have access to something that prior to technology I would have been able to access. My father sells real estate and I have heard him complain about how much harder computers have made his job. He told me that when he started a contract was a single page; just one piece of paper. Today he tells me that they are approaching twenty pages. As much as I love technology I always try to work for simplicity. I am excited to discover how to mesh the two in my teaching. I want to know when to ask for something written in pencil and when to ask for it to be published to the web. I want to use technology to add access and not let it be a barrier.