Friday, August 05, 2005

What Bloggers can do.

As has been recognized before, one of the values of the blogosphere is to give voice to the voiceless, and bring attention to events that aren't determined newsworthy (for one reason or another) in the Mainstream media. This was illustrated once again last week in the story of missing pregnant woman Latoyia Figueroa. This story was only being covered in Philadelphia until local bloggers such as this one and this one and then the more widely read raised the question about why Natalie Holloway's disappearance was getting so much national media attention while Figueroa was getting none: "She isn't white. She isn't rich. She is a mother. She is also pregnant. And she's missing, and has been for the last 8 days." Enough noise was made in the blogosphere that CNN and others national news organizations began to cover the story. Blogs were even given credit for bringing national attention to the story in this Philadelphia Inquirer article and this syndicated column from the Kansas City Star. The way the media covers missing persons is even going to be the topic of a segment on "Dateline NBC" tonight.

So what does all this have to do with education? Well as mentioned in an earlier post, many are seeing an explosion in amateur creative production due to the new tools that make it easier to create professional quality music, video, and publish new works. Students also have the ability to become activists and expose racism and injustice in a new real world setting. This is an opportunity that education can't miss out on. We can't let our fears about what students might produce keep us from encouraging students to do real work that will have meaning for them and others. We can give them the guidance they need to make good decisions, keep them safe, and allow them to fulfill the learning objectives of the curriculum while still pursuing topics and activities that will fully engage them.

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