Sunday, June 14, 2009

What the Iran Protests Suggest about Social Media and the Future of Education and Societal Organization

This is more than a compelling example of why we need to include Twitter in education.

Regarding yesterday's protests in Tehran, Andrew Sullivan blogged:
As the regime shut down other forms of communication, Twitter survived.

Those rooftop chants that were becoming deafening in Tehran? A few hours ago, this concept of resistance was spread by a twitter message.

Think about it. When all else failed, there was Twitter.

To all of those naysayers who have excoriated social media -- likely only because you don't have the imagination to see its vast potential for human exchange or because you lack experience in making it work for building authentic and connected societal networks -- I ask you to do one thing for the rest of us: sit on your hands and watch. Watch as the new socially connected peoples of the world demonstrate for you what it means to participate in the global network.

Watch as we become aware that there are millions just like us, dying for the truth.

Watch as we take responsibility for our own understanding of what is going on in the world. Watch as we use social media to enact that responsibility in manifest ways.

And watch as we unapologetically teach our children and our communities how to use social networks for educating themselves, for empowering their neighborhoods and families, and for enacting change both on a local and a global stage.

Andrew nails it:
You cannot stop people any longer. You cannot control them any longer. They can bypass your established media; they can broadcast to one another; they can organize as never before.

And if we fail to recognize what has really happened here -- give or take whatever the outcome in Iran -- we will be doing direct harm to our future.

Now is the time that we must bring social and participatory media into the classroom. Not as an auxiliary to learning. Not as an extension of learning. But as the primary means of engaging real and authentic learning.

Learning that matters.

Learning that does things.

Learning that changes lives.

This is our challenge.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your meaningful and timely post. I am transfixed by the information coming through on my Twitter feed from Iran and agree wholeheartedly that social/participatory media and learning go hand in hand. Your challenge is immense and certainly worth working toward.


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