As Educon has just passed, and many teachers will be attending our annual teacher convention, things have been very busy. With that being said, information never stops and my twitter feed and Google Reader account continue to push and inspire my thinking. Here are some interesting articles I have found this week:
1. The Ugle Side of Social Media? - Interestingly enough, the first I heard of this story of a woman taking this t-shirt from a young fan at the Australian Open was through mainstream media (I would provide a video link, but they are hard to find due to the backlash against the woman in question) , which has not become the norm for news in my life at this point. While I was aghast at what happened to this young girl, this article made me realize of the impact that social media and mainstream media have upon one another on significantly impacting the life of any one individual in a moment of indiscretion. This quote from the post really has pushed my thinking:
While the behaviour of the crowd may seem entirely justified to themselves – acting on behalf of the innocent girl – this can somewhat cloud the real situation. That is to say that we are focusing our attentions on someone grabbing a t-shirt, inciting hatred and abuse and even invading their privacy.
The question of who is responsible is a difficult one. Social media is not responsible itself, as it is simply the prevalent form of self-expression in our society today. It has not created the concept of mob mentality or victimisation, nor are the mob to blame themselves. While some are certainly taking it too far, it is innate within human nature that we will crowd together and rally round where we see that justice is needed, however far that concept of justice may have been stretched.
In this case, we can actually look to mainstream media as playing a big part here, for choosing to further the story and continuing to sway public opinion. There is a sense of responsibility required for those who, in an era when social media tools exist, are able to influence and reach the public en masse. What’s needed is balanced reporting to calm the crowds. The danger of doing otherwise is far too high.
Whatever you think about the situation, it is an extremely interesting read and great for a topic of discussion with students and staff. Does mainstream media have a different responsibility in our world today knowing that our world is different or is this solely the responsibility of each individual? Both? Can you imagine if “Bartman” would have made his mistake in a world where Twitter existed? Definitely an article that will make you think about our world today and the role media plays.
2. A little empathy – Edna Sackson has long been one of my favourite bloggers, but this short post really made me think about our role as educators in relation to those in the medical field. In this personal post, Edna discusses her thoughts in the context of a personal situation that she is going through at this point:
I’ve spent many hours in a hospital this past week (not as a patient) and have become acutely aware of the effects of every personal (and not so personal) interaction. It’s irrelevant whether the person concerned (or not so concerned) is a doctor, a nurse, an orderly or a cleaner. Only some display empathy. Not all are communicators. These are the things that matter. These are the things we should teach our children…
This quote is something that every educator should consider.
3. Education: Not ready to listen? – In this post written by Adora Svitak, a student currently in our educational system, she has some tough criticisms regarding the voice of students in our current educational system:
If the education community is unable or unwilling to receive a message about education from a student, I think we have problems. We’d find it unacceptable if our representatives suddenly started refusing to meet with constituents or if companies like Bank of America kept on charging ridiculous fees despite public uproar. Yet we accept that education doesn’t want to hear from students? We are the “customers” of our nation’s schools. It’s in our interest to learn in the best way we can–many of my fellow students have plenty of wise insights that I think could help change education for the better–but that simply won’t happen if the adults in the room are covering their ears.
I hope you all have a great week, and continue to enjoy learning with your students!