Wednesday, March 25, 2009
According to The Guardian, British schools will be teaching a higher level of
media literacy in state schools. This will include showing British kids how to
"tweet" and how to use wikipedia. Teaching some aspects of British history, such as World War Two, will be optional.
As a former historian, I admit to being torn between having to choose between the past and the present. Certainly, there is an argument that can be made that there remains a powerful, if indirect connection between what society experienced then and how we live now.
Still I admire the proposal for giving students a level of media literacy, and hopefully to teach them how to use these platforms in a way that deepens our awareness of new media beyond the trivial.
Here is the article:
25 March 2009
BIG BROTHER, SMALL PUPILS
The growth of Twitter and various social networking sites and the
spread of their tentacles into various tenets of society dominates
the front pages today, albeit in different ways.
The Guardian reports that under draft proposals to overhaul the
primary curriculum, the Victorians and the second world war will be
jettisoned in favour of teaching children about Twitter, blogging,
podcasts and Wikipedia.
According to the article, the new curriculum marks the biggest change
to primary school teaching in a decade and strips away hundreds of
specifications about the scientific, geographical, and historical
knowledge that pupils must accumulate before they reach 11 years old.
Interestingly, the Independent splashes on another encroachment of new
technology with news of the possibility for a government database to
monitor social networking sites.
The home office minister, Vernon Coaker, has disclosed that social
networking sites could be forced to retain information about users'
web-browsing habits and could also be required to hold data about
every person that users' correspond with.
Isabella Sankey, policy director at Liberty, the civil rights group,
told the paper: "Even before you throw Facebook and other social
networking sites into the mix, the proposed central communications
database is a terrifying prospect. It would allow the government to
record every email, text message and phone call and would turn
millions of innocent Britons into permanent suspects."