Mark Ahlness referenced me to Andy Carvin’s website, where he reported today that DOPA has passed the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly. :-(

Perhaps not a surprise, but certainly a disappointment.

To see the vote breakdown, check out GovTrack.us’s page on DOPA. You can also read the full-text of the bill on their website.

DOPA Vote in US House of Representatives

Do we need and want to protect our kids? Of course. But should we prohibit all technologies in schools in which students create a “profile?” Definitely not.

I asked Will Richardson last night at dinner (we’re here at MTI 2006 in Winfield, Kansas) what he thought DOPA would mean for schools if it passes. He said, since the language of the bill would prohibit use of any website at a US school by students or teachers where the kids have a “profile”: this would stop use of all blogs and social networking software. I am thinking this means students would not even be able to access, much less post, to WikiPedia.

Give me a break. This is the biggest example of digital immigrants being disconnected to the REAL world that I have ever heard of. And I agree with Will, who is addressing this right now in his preso at MTI, that it is an example of election year / election time stupidity.

Should we throw up our hands and resign our teaching positions, or whatever educationally-related positions we hold currently in protest? Certainly not.

This is an opportunity: an opportunity to have conversations with lots of people who have heard very little about things like blogs, podcasts, RSS, digital social networking, etc. that goes beyond the media fear/death hoopla over MySpace. This is a clarion call to conversations. And an opportunity to help educate digital immigrants about the needs of digital natives in the 21st century.

This timing is pretty interesting… tomorrow here at MTI I’ll be presenting on “Safe Digital Social Networking,” and posting the preso as enhanced and audio-only podcasts.

I am reminded of Obi Wan, speaking to the leader of in Star Wars Episode III. He something to the effect (I’m paraphrasing from memory):

If you have warriors, tell them to prepare and be ready. Now is the time.

It is the time, and we all need to contact our Senators and the White House on this immediately. But will our voices be heard? They won’t if we are silent. Can we succeed in changing the Senate’s vote and the President’s decision on this? I don’t know, I doubt it given the current spirit on DSN issues in Washington, but that expectation should not stop us from taking action or silence our voices.

For more on this, check out current blog posts indexed by Technorati for “DOPA.” David Warlick and Brian Crosby, Will Richardson, and many others are writing about this– we need to extend this conversation outside the edublogosphere. If you know of a good political action site related to this and speaking out on DOPA, please comment and link it here.

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