The Internet is For

This is a poem I wrote for my Media and Technology in Education class at McGill.

The Internet is for

(An epistemological poem)

The internet’s for porn, they say
(at least about a third per day)
Could this, then, be a reason why
Some teachers cast a wary eye
On using this new-fangled net
When with the old trustworthy bet
Of textbooks, lectures, good old tests
On them their wards’ attention rests
With no chance of uncovered breasts?

The internet’s for clicking links,
For the discovery of others’ thinks,
And often contradictory stuff
Perhaps this is why some say “Enough!
Of web in schools corrupting youth
And undermining the one truth
Of textbooks, teachers’ lectures too,
We must hide kids from what’s not true”
(The Bible will help see them through!)

The internet’s for trying out
For playing games, learning without
Writing a test or getting marked
And I suspect that this has sparked
At least a few to throw up hands
Bemoan the lack of structured plans
And call for tests to standardize
From which I think we can surmise
That learners come one shape, one size.

At least a few, though, looked and thought
“That internet is pretty hot
And I can use it in my class
It may just help my students pass!”
And so these teachers lesson plan,
Swap Google for librarian
And while their efforts may be true
They don’t really do anything new:
Change media, but not point of view.

The internet is not for schools
That follow epistemic rules
Of “teacher knows and student don’t”
And “memorize, or else you won’t
Recieve good marks”, and “Split your desks
Today there’s going to be a test
And to see how much you’ve grown
We have to test you all alone”
(I can just hear the students groan.)

No, the internet’s for sharing
Taking a collective bearing
On problems–for community
And building student agency.
It’s for the girl who at age nine
Brought her school caf into line
It’s for the teenagers who try
To get a lego man to fly
And photograph the curvy sky.

The internet’s for the cyborg youth
Who, as soon as they are in tooth
And clicking at their folks’ iPads
Should learn that knowledge to be had
Rests not in one authority
But instead must constructed be
The internet’s for schools that know
Just how their students learn and grow
And look beyond the status quo.

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