Monday, January 21, 2013
Twitter as the new petition...
The overthrow of governments. Coup d'états. Revolutions. Coups. Takeovers. Turnovers. Upheavals.
However, in recent years, we have seen a more digitalized form of the petition. The “Arab Spring” of 2011 and the “Occupy Wall Street” movement/protests in the fall of the same year each began with individuals who were displeased and started to opine through social media, thus enlisting thousands in the form of an “online petition.” You see, the very term “petition” is defined by Webster as “an urgent request.” In both of the historical instances referenced above, there were groups of people who had urgent requests. The communication of the requests was expedited through social media mediums such as twitter. How does this impact education?
Recently, I had students who wanted to change our dress code for a day. These students began to overflow our school’s twitter feed with mention after mention, requesting for their idea to be considered by me and my fellow administrators. Because of the respectful manner in which our students went about their request, we granted them their wish of rearranging the dress code for a day.
Are we to teach historical protests in school? Are we to impart civics? Are we to instill the principles of the first amendment to the United States constitution?I believe we are to do all three. If you agree, then let’s start with integrating social media into today’s schools. Just as protests have evolved over time and throughout history, the very use of the petition is now evolving before our very eyes. Instead of starting a written petition and waiting until the paper copy of the petition has traveled from door to door, individuals now have the power to instantaneously make an urgent request , share it with others, and have the request spread exponentially. If our students are going to go about petitioning in a respectful and peaceful manner, then we must acknowledge this phenomenon, embrace it, and facilitate it with our digital natives and millenials.
What do you think? Do you agree that the way we petition is changing? What are some ways you see the change of the petition take place? How else is the petition changing?