One very controversial issue in education, and perhaps the greatest issue that affects education and our technological futures unconditionally, is that of the battle for freedom of knowledge.
Using the internet to make the world a fairer and better place is something that we as doctoral candidates and human beings who strive to do good in the world should continue to struggle for. Recent research on the loss of technological freedoms are highly concerning and something that we as professionals should be very aware of. As an example, Harvard Law Professor Susan Crawford, while researching the internet in the United States, identified large corporations such as cable networks who are purposefully holding internet speeds hostage to Americans should target sites such as Youtube not pay higher amounts for services (http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/archive?date=2-28-2014). These sites, such as Youtube, Netflix, and Blackboard (yes, they’ve held education hostage) have in turn, charged internet users higher amounts for the services to pay the big corporations their demands. Americans pay exorbitant amounts of money to connect to the internet which is at best 170 times slower than almost every other country in the world. Other nations, including China, recognize the value of the internet on educating society, and have ingrained the costs of internet much as they do a public service or utility.
As the American Government develops domestic and international policy on internet freedoms, we educators must commit to striving and enforcing social justice and education for all. Doing so requires active engagement and knowledge about the risk of losing our freedom of internet. The impetus should be this: simply imagine yourself without it. Would you be a doctoral candidate still? Would you have any degree? What would your world knowledge be, and how quickly would you be informed and prepared to change it? When you think these things, thank Aaron Swartz and Susan Crawford, and take up action by dedicating yourself to being a foot soldier of democracy- a teacher in the digital world.
Welch, C. (2011). Global internet freedom policy: Evolution, action, and reaction. IEEE Internet Computing, 15(6), 65-69. doi:10.1109/MIC.2011.152