Thanks to John Pederson for pointing me to this video. It paints a powerful picture of just what forms cyberbullying can take and the importance of addressing it in our families and our schools.
Austin is an exciting town. It is rich in the arts, technology, and friendly, colorful people. Their motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” if that tells you anything. At lunch today, I saw this young man passing by. His name was Jonas, and he is a student. Nice kid–soft spoken, polite, asked what blog I’d be putting it on. I didn’t catch his major, but I dare say it probably isn’t accounting. Jonas is a representation of why I love this city so much. People here are expressive and unafraid. They value individuality. It is never boring.
After parting ways, I began to think about a student like Jonas in a traditional classroom. Think he’d be bored? It occurred to me that it isn’t just the students who are outwardly walking their own path (like Jonas) who must absolutely fight daily to stay awake in a classroom where the teacher is once again writing on the board, while the class follows along in a textbook and jots down occasional notes.
This is why I preach Web 2.0. It wakes up students. It gives them the opportunity to have a voice. Why has MySpace been so eagerly absorbed into the culture of the young? I think it’s largely because it has freed them from the mundane, the everyday forms of self-expression, all the while hooking them together with others doing the same thing. When we utilize YouTube or Flickr or Blogger or other sites in the read/write web in our instruction, we are giving students the opportunity to connect, to express, and to create. I imagine Jonas would approve.
A co-worker, Dwight Goodwin, has set up a blog for students from around the country to post comments sharing information about their cultures. Ideas for items to share might include interests, details about the schools students attend, climate, the economy, future plans, etc. If interested, stop by Every Country in the World and chime in.