Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dead tree prejudice

Yesterday I blogged about the new Tennessee history website saying it was a good start.

Today the Jackson Sun reveals their lack of understanding of the value of the web when they write:

Tennessee's history is too broad and too diverse to be contained in one Web site. Contained within our history are major figures like Davy Crockett - a well-known politician on the national stage who died fighting for Texas independence - and Andrew Jackson - a renowned Indian fighter who eventually became president of the United States. Everyone knows who these people are.

But what about lesser known figures like William Blount? He played a major role both in the founding of Tennessee and of the United States. Or what about major institutions like the Highlander School? That school helped train civil rights leaders in the mid-20th century, including Rosa Parks. These are things that deserve more coverage than can be contained in a single Web site.

It's the dead tree version that cannot possibly contain the depth of information about our state that would allow teachers to access the information they believe their students need to comply with the state curriculum mandates. It's the web version that isn't confined by publishing deadlines and costs, political correctness or lack of funds to purchase new texts. It's the website that can be updated continually and 24/7 to ensure that students and teachers have access to the most current and accurate information every day, not just every 5 years when the new version comes out. It's the web version that can be most conveniently and quickly added to and reviewed by folks who live in the area and know the subject best. This sort of online curriculum and resource for our students should be encouraged, not quashed, by short sighted editors who 'print' a publication for their livelihood, and based on my use of their website, have very little understanding of how to utilize the tool that is the world wide web.

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