All I Want For My Birthday Is #NetNeutrality (It’s The Civil Right Of The 21st Century)

I started to write this just for my personal friends who wished me a happy birthday last week but it turned into much more. So please read this, share it, and most importantly CALL!

Dear Friends,

Thank you very much for your kind birthday wishes. I have a request in honor of my birthday. Please call your elected Representatives to demand Net Neutrality (details below). It will take a few minutes of your time, but it is incredibly important for the future of free speech in our country. Net Neutrality is the Civil Right of the 21st Century.

Net Neutrality is the idea that your internet service provider cannot slow down or prevent your access to specific sites and cannot charge you more to access specific sites. A cold hard example of this is that last night I listened to audio from inside the internment camp holding immigrant children held hostage by the Trump administration. Without Net Neutrality Comcast, or ATT, or any other ISP could choose to block my access to the ProPublica website or slow down the ProPublica traffic to the point where the audio won’t load or the webpage becomes unusable. Still not sure what Net Neutrality is or why it is important? John Oliver has your back (One, Two) Net Neutrality is currently dead due to a disastrous ruling by the GOP controlled FCC. There is still a chance to return the Internet to a place where everyone has equal access to information and equal rights, both at the federal level and locally in California.

The US Senate has already passed the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the FCC ruling. The next step is to get the US House of Representatives to also pass the CRA (House CRA). Unfortunately the GOP controlled House refuses to allow a vote on the proposal. In order to force a vote on the CRA the Discharge Petition needs to have 218 Representatives vote in favor, currently 172 have signed as of June 16th. I need you to call your representatives and tell them to sign the Discharge Petition if they haven’t already and tell them to vote yes on the CRA if they already signed. I have resources to contact your rep at the end.

The state of California also has its own Net Neutrality legislation that has passed the State Senate. It is Senate Bill 822 (SB 822) which already passed the Senate and needs your support to pass the House of Representatives. I need you to call your Representative to demand that they support SB 822 through its ratification and that they demand that it is passed un-amended as the ISPs are pushing hard to take the teeth out of the bill and weaken it. This is especially important if you live in one of the districts whose Assembly member is on the committee currently considering the bill as it is up for a vote on the 20th.

To push your Representative to sign the House Discharge Petition to force a vote on the Congressional Review Act go to https://www.battleforthenet.com/ they will let you email your Congressional Representative and then connect your phone to your Rep and give you a script.

If you want to look up your representative yourself you can go here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative. If your rep has already signed here is a list of others you can call: https://www.battleforthenet.com/scoreboard/

 

If you live in California we also have Senate Bill 822 (SB 822) to push through the Assembly. Please call your Representative and demand that they push for SB 822 to be passed without amendments. Find your Rep here: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/

If you have more time call the Reps who are on the Committee currently holding the bill.

I am a member of CUE and they gave me permission to quote one of their member correspondences below. Their script is obviously for Educators and CUE members in specific but please modify it to suit your needs but definitely call!

It is especially important to call Chair Miguel Santiago as he is single-handedly trying to destroy the legislation due to ISP pressure.

 

From CUE, used with permission:  

If net neutrality is important to you and your schools, we are asking that you call members of the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee, especially those who directly represent you, to ask that they support SB 822, by voting YES to pass the bill out of the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee on June 20th.

 

If you call, state the following:

  1. Ask for the staff person assigned to work with the Assembly member on SB 822. Introduce yourself and mention your role in education, your school/district, and location.
  2. Mention that you represent a Statewide non-profit educational organization known as Computer Using Educators (CUE) which has over 19,000 members consisting of k-12 classroom teachers and school administrators.
  3. Mention the fact that over 50% of homework assignments involve the need for students to have affordable Internet access at their homes.
  4. Net neutrality helps to ensure that school districts and homes will not have Internet service slowed down and/or rates increased due to lack of regulations that ensure net neutrality.
  5. Ask the Assembly member to support SB 822, by voting yes to pass the bill out of the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee on June 20th.
  6. If time permits, you may want to ask the staff person if they have any questions and/or concerns about the bill.

Prioritize your call according to those who represent the State Assembly District you live in first, and then move on to the others. If you call any legislators, please let us know who you called and any relevant feedback you received.

 

Contact John Cradler, CUE Legislative Consultant at cradler@earthlink.net or phone 650-218-7046 for questions and feedback.

Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee Members

Ask for the staff person working on SB 822 but if that staff person isn’t available, ask for anyone else who can take the message and communicate to the Assembly member that CUE supports SB 822.

Miguel Santiago (Chair), Dem-53: (916) 319-2053

Jay Obernolte (Vice Chair), Rep-33: (916) 319-2033

Rob Bonta, Dem-18: (916) 319-2018

Sabrina Cervantes, Dem-60: (916) 319-2060

Eduardo Garcia, Dem-56: (916) 319-2056

Chris R. Holden, Dem-41: (916) 319-2041

Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Dem-54: (916) 319-2054

Evan Low, Dem-28: (916) 319-2028

Brian Maienschein, Rep-77: (916) 319-2077

Devon J. Mathis, Rep-26: (916) 319-2026

Jim Patterson, Rep-23: (916) 319-2023

Sharon Quirk-Silva, Dem-65: (916) 319-2065

Freddie Rodriguez, Dem-52: (916) 319-2052

 

My Journey to #FallCUE 2017

This weekend, I attended Fall CUE at American Canyon High School. My journey started 18 months ago when I attended my first EdTechTeam Google Summit. It was at this summit that I became a Connected Educator. Since that time I have connected with several communities through Twitter and Voxer. The two I feel the most connected with are TOSAchat and ConnectedTL both groups have a large connection with CUE and the CUE affiliates. I followed along on Twitter as my PLN went to Fall and Spring CUE and I picked up tidbits here and there.

This year I made a point to go to Fall CUE. I scheduled it. I registered. Then on October 8th the #SonomaFires swept through my community. As the fires raged all of my students, many colleagues and friends were evacuated from their homes. Some have no home to return to. As of now the best count for my district is that we lost one school site and 38 teachers, 50+ classified, and 900+ students lost their homes in the last three weeks. The entire district has been closed for three weeks as we waited for the fires to be under control, the schools to be professionally assessed and cleaned, and there to be enough staff available to reopen the schools.

As this calamity beat up my community my attendance at Fall CUE became uncertain. I simply did not know when school would reopen, when we would be able to bring a little more stability back into our students’ lives. As it happens our first day back and the first day of Fall CUE were the same day. I was disappointed to miss the sessions I was looking forward to on Friday but totally jazzed to see all of my students again for the first time in three weeks. It was very much like the first day of class all over again, except they knew the procedures and I knew everyone’s name.

Shortly after school let out I headed out to CUE hoping to be able to attend the last session of the day. Three traffic incidents and an extra hour of driving later I pulled up to the school just after registration closed and within minutes everyone was leaving their sessions. I felt horribly disconnected and lonely as hundreds of people streamed out to their cars. I knew there were people I knew in the crowd but I didn’t see any of them.

This year Cate Tolnai (@CateTolnai) and CUE Member Engagement scheduled evening socials in nearby Napa (BEST. IDEA. EVER.). My first stop was to attempt to meet up with North Bay CUE (@NorthBayCUE) folks at Norman Rose Tavern (@NormanRoseNapa). It was my local affiliate but I hadn’t met any of them before. Unfortunately, when I got there CUE had stuffed the place to the gills. Every seat was filled with 25+ waiting by the bar. With no familiar faces in sight I headed out and went to Napkins Bar & Grill (@NapkinsNapa) to attempt to meet up with the Hyperdocs Crew. It was slightly less packed and as I walked in I saw Lisa, Sarah, and Kelly right away. Immediately I felt reconnected, their authentic, happy greetings as soon as they saw me was exactly what I needed. Though I hadn’t seen any of them in quite a while it felt as though it was no time at all. They quickly drew me into the group and introduced me to those who I didn’t know.

Over the next five hours I reconnected with friends I hadn’t seen in a while and finally met face to face with people that I have been connecting with online for the last year. I had finally arrived.

Thursday Coding and Robotics Elective – Five Months Later

Apparently I forgot to post this months ago, oops.

Three months ago my school instituted a Thursday afternoon elective program for our 4-6th grade students. You can read about the process of getting it started here. We are now coming to the end of the school year and I want to document some stats and make some notes for myself.

Coding and Robotics Elective

Cycle One Stats:

  • 6 weeks.
  • 20 students, 4 girls, 16 boys.
  • 5 robots, 1 Ozobot, 4 Dash robots.

Cycle Two Stats:

#Hyperdocs Bootcamp – My FIRST Hyperdoc

Well, I finally did it. I completed writing my first Hyperdoc. I have wanted to for over a year since I first learned about them at the Sonoma GAFE Summit in April 2016. I had planned to write one before but never managed to get anywhere with it. Last month, in June, I jumped at the opportunity to take the Hyperdoc Bootcamp put on by the Hyperdocs Ladies (Lisa, Sarah, and Kelly).

Our final project was to write a new hyperdoc to use this year. After scrapping a few ideas I settled on one that I think worked out well. I designed a hyperdoc to both serve as a beginning of the year get to know you activity as well as to teach my students about Google Slides and Google Docs. I set the level of skill needed very low because my students last year had zero experience creating with computers. This is probably a good fit for 5th grade and above.

The base of the hyperdoc is built into a Google Site. The Engage and Explore phases are done on the site and can be used for reference. The Explain, Apply Share are done in individual documents. After the students Explore they click a link to make their own copy of a slide deck or a doc. The first thing they do is rename and share the document to the teacher. I set up the instructions to allow the hyperdoc to be used with or without Google Classroom (but honestly much easier with).

As a part of the Explore phase I created a Slides and a Docs cheatsheet to teach about the icon bar. They are available here: Slides Cheatsheet | Docs Cheatsheet
Feel free to share them separately from the hyperdoc.

Please find the Welcome to G Suite hyperdoc at:

bit.ly/WelcomeToGSuite

Please use it with your students and I would love your feedback. There is a feedback form on the teacher instructions page of the website.

My Personal Reading List 2017

This week I have given a whole bunch of book suggestions on Twitter. This got me thinking about what books I have read this year and I decided to keep track. I have not keep a list of what I have read before and I think it might be fun, so here it goes. This may end up being great or terrible, I don’t know. I should note that I am a self-professed book addict. My personal library has more than 1,700 books in it. My classroom library clocks in at 807 books right now (most are mine). Beware, I have a soft spot for young adult fiction. I read it A LOT. Also it helps me make recommendations to my 6th graders.

As a side note, I believe strongly that in order to be a well-rounded person you have to read stories written about and by people who don’t look like you as well as those who do. I am a straight, white male it is easy to find books written by people who look like me with characters who also look like me. I do my best to select books for myself (and my students) that feature women and characters of color and that are written by women and authors of color (this of course includes women authors of color). I do this to give myself a wider perspective and to give my students the opportunity to have characters that look like them in their reading. I am a big supporter of the We Need Diverse Books (@diversebooks) campaign and really like their recommendations and resources. Seriously though, check out this list of books.

Tag after author’s name:
AOC – Author of Color

Tag after book title:
FP – Female Protagonist
POC – Protagonist of Color

Final Count: 45 books completed

List last updated: 1/25/2018

In Progress:

 

On Deck:

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