Can flash mob technology spark a revolution?


What a week!!!
Hosni Mubarek steps down after a month of protests facilitated by mobile devices. A year ago, Wael Ghonim started a site on Facebook called “We are all Khaled Said”. Ghonim, who works for Google, is credited by many as providing the impetus or “spark”” for the movement that resulted in Mubarek finally stepping down. Wael was arrested on January 28, 2011 when Egyptian authorities were busy trying to control information by any means possible.
Another spark is believed to be the death of a young Tunisian vegetable seller by self-immolation as a result of soaring food prices, linked to a poor wheat harvest in 2010. (The Vancouver Sun, Feb 12, 2011)

On January 27, 2011 in Vancouver, a flash mob performed at Oakridge Mall, in honour of anti-bullying day. Over 155,000 people had seen their inspirational  performance via YouTube by Feb 13. Another demonstration of the positiver power of digital media.

According to researchers at the University of Southern California, over 94% of all information on the planet was in digital form.

So how does participatory culture affect my practise? I look forward to being able to collaborate with like-minded people around the world via the internet (although I need to be more confident in myself before I will feel comfortable exposing myself).
I recognise that my students are very comfortable exposing themselves socially on the internet using sites like Facebook. I am also sure that they lack the desire to use their well-developed tech skills for anything that does not involve self-promotion. The oft-used term “narcissistic” seems oh so apropos.
I am very interested in trying out the new techie tools that I learn about in class and seeing how they can support learning. I was intrigued when I read about Bill Ferrieter’s students enthusiasm for using voicethread (http://dc.educ.sfu.ca/dc/file.php/218/digital_plunge_ferriter.pdf)
While I doubt that I will ever embrace Twitter or Facebook, I am comfortable with reading online journals and blogs to improve my practice.
I strongly agree with Mr. Ferrieter’s suggestion about modeling what I find and sharing my excitement with my student’s. I have already done this with My grade 10s, using Bubblus.com to teach them about concept mapping with success. I also am very interested in finding out how to use mobile devices to create scavenger hunts for geology and horticulture.

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