Thursday, March 22, 2007

Political Petitions and Social Network Site Solicitation

A recent issue of eSchool News reports on an apparent contradiction: elected officials who supported legislation to block social networking Internet sites from schools and school libraries have put up profiles of themselves on MySpace, said to be the most popular of such sites.

Perhaps as candidates for their parties presidential nomination, they see new value in these sites that many artists, educators and activists already note. The article includes comments from the American Library Association pointing out the candidates' contradictions.

While contradictions count, I am concerned more about ethical communication.

Last year the Washington Post reported that staffers in the current administration were altering Wikipedia entries about officials in opposing parties with inaccurate information. The practice cut across both political parties. As teachers we are always concerned about our students successful navigation of information on the Internet. It is especially ironic when this process is impeded by persons with power over many facets of the lives of teachers and learners in educational settings.

The push for production increases, but the importance of critically navigating information remains. In fact, with increased opportunity and ease in production, the need for critical media literacy not only remains, it becomes even more important than ever before.

Is someone going to put up a Comment about this seeming change of perspective on the politicians' MySpace pages? Perhaps we should all send bulletins to our Friends List encouraging visits to the pages with critical eyes ready to comment on the politicians message, use of new media, and context for its use.

More opportunities to teach...

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