Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why teachers need to take notice of #Kony2012

When hash tag #Kony2012 came onto the scene through the power mainly of young people spreading the word, I thought to myself what a powerful world of social networking we live in. This generation flick through websites in seconds and anything that lasts longer than 1 min 30 tends to be binned.

What was different about the Kony documentary?

How does a documentary that lasts 30 mins keep the attention of so many young people who often would just look away? This blog post isn't an argument for or against the notion of Kony2012 as a movement, it is an argument for teachers of both 'sides' of the Kony fence to discuss this social networking moment with their students.

Joseph Kony was a name not one of my students knew before last week. But now, nearly all of them know a little about him. Actually what do my students know that they didn't know last week?

- Uganda is the name of a country in Africa
- Joseph Kony is a rebel leader
- Some children similar to their age in Africa have fought, killed, been raped due to the fighting that has existed for years
- Invisible children is the name of a charity

Right, so as a teacher what teaching points can I use with my teenage students that I didn't have last week. Personally I could use #kony2012 with my Year 10 (age 14,15) home group students:

- What has happened to Uganda over the last 10 years?
- Is Uganda the only country that these types of crimes exist in? What are the surrounding countries of Africa? What are some of the issues in those countries?
- Who is Joseph Kony? What is the International Criminal Court? Lets explore the ICC website
- What happened in the past when there was no internet? How did Adolf Hilter become 'famous'(infamous)?
- ....and it goes on and on

If you call yourself a '21st century teacher, a modern day teacher, a teacher that uses technology in the classroom' then if the right environment exists with the classes you come in contact with, you should talk about the #Kony2012 phenomenon. Yes it is a phenomenon, whether you agree or disagree with the documentary and subsequent media interest.

For our students they deserve schools to guide them through this moment of their lives.

My personal view:

Lets put everything in perspective. Our students are fed generally a massive amount of $@%^ from the internet. Most of it completely useless. This video sparked an interest of an issue most of them would completely ignore.

Ok so you have a beef:

- "the issue is bigger than just a 30 min documentary"
- "we don't know enough about Invisible Children"
- "the Ugandan army have also done some really evil things"
- "nothing will happen if children just click 'like' or 'tweet #kony2012'"
- "people think there all experts of the complex situation now!!!! I'm mad at that!"

Listen, the benefit of #Kony2012 is that we as educators now have door that has been opened, one that prior to last week would have been a lot harder for us to open with our students. One that allows us to discuss not only Kony but, viral marketing, what makes a good documentary etc etc...things totally not even related directly to the issue.



P.S The Google Doc update blog is coming....

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