Would you marry the Internet again?

When I’m playing “What if?” and I come up with this scenario, I imagine someone tripping over a chord and the entire country making that cartoony power-down sound.

As you’ve likely heard, the Internet’s broken on the west side of Africa. Something called SEACOM went down and that was that.

It’s not quite what you’d like to have happen when you’re on Day 1 of a week of workshops about technology in education. If you’re minutes away from leading a session signing 25 teachers up for their first-ever e-mail accounts, it’s certainly not the news you’d like to get.

We’re not even going to consider the implications if the country in which you happen to be staying is hosting one of the most highly watched sporting events in the world.

Anyway, someone tripped over a cord up north and brrroooooooooo. 😦

The session I was supposed to lead at the end of the day became the second session of the day – sans my google docs-stored notes.

You roll with it.

I gave the scenario a few posts ago of tech leaders from around a state showing up to a conference and losing connectivity.

Now, imagine a few countries lost that connectivity. Imagine the Eastern Seaboard of the United States broke their connection. Chaos, right?

Here, we’re moving on and teaching Photo Story 3 and discussing how to get communities surrounding schools with computer labs to take ownership of those resources.


The Internet’s broken and no one has set fire to a single car. I want to run into the computer lab and scream, “Don’t you understand what’s happening?! Don’t you get there’s no way to talk about it on Facebook?!”

Yes, I’m convinced the connectedness and access the Internet affords will exponentially provide South Africa educational opportunities educators and learners have no access to now. I have no doubts.

I wouldn’t be spending more than a month here if I weren’t certain.

Access will make things better.

I wonder, though, if access will become the dependence seen across the U.S.

If we had the Internet to do over again, would we?


4 thoughts on “Would you marry the Internet again?

  1. I probably wouldn't marry this internet. When I went home for my first Christmas after college started, each one of my friends was on Friendster. I was not. I was completely behind the curve. I half heartedly joined to see what the fuss was about. The fuss was pretty stupid, actually. I didn't want to be on Friendster for any real reason, nor did I want to join facebook when it became available for my college. Not really, anyway. I thought that the internet was for creating and consuming, for connecting words and images and videos. I was on MakeOutClub in high school, but I think that was mostly about trying to figure out ways to connect so that you could stop using the internet every once in a while and actually meet people. Facebook isn't about that. It is about being on the internet more, always more.I want to write and think and process, but I don't need an internet to help me do it. The internet as it exists now is good for sharing and publishing and for finding people to connect to. But, if we don't actually live in those connections and become “real friends” with others, I'm not sure any of it matters.So, yeah, I would marry the internet again. But, I'm not sure I wouldn't sire so many bastard children (the services that I have left behind because they are useless).

  2. I became unhappy over the rare internet outage sometime during college, in the early 1990's. I became VERY unhappy with it in the last 15 years – like to the point that when we had a one week outage here a few years ago (bad cable to the house – long Time Warner appointment lag time), I went to the library to do what NEEDED to get done like paying bills. In the early 1990's, there was no alternative. Last week, I returned home from a week's vacation. I took the computer, but never touched it (though the kids watched movies in the car with it). Was I off-grid? No way! I had my Evo, or my palm-held computer as I like to think of it, because it is WAY more than “just” a phone. it provided all the access I needed and wanted that week.Would we do it over? Of course. Would it be the same? Maybe Would it evolve into a completely different animal as it has? Absolutely!

  3. This “technology is a basic need” thing was the hardest adjustment for me to make coming back from Africa last year. “Roll with it” became a sort of mantra for us, and it sounds like it's still the modus operandi over there. Hakuna matata means more than just ignoring one's problems. It means overcoming any obstacles. There are no challenges we can't overcome.We seem to have lost much of that in North America. So when an American teacher loses email for a few minutes, or the projector bulb burns out and doesn't get replaced for an hour, or the Internet is SLOW, or a web site is blocked by the web filter, we might as well go home. Who could expect us to get real, meaningful, academic work done in such an inhospitable environment? It took me weeks to get used to American expectations again. I did (and still do) a lot of laughing at the absurdity of the “emergencies” we face. What do we need for effective education? What are the true prerequisites? We have to have a dedicated teacher, and a willing student. That's pretty much it.

  4. Pingback: Hi, you’re doing it wrong: Chat/Discussion at Autodizactic

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