Tales from the Net

a work in progress

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Economist’s debate: continuing the discussion

The comments in The Economist’s excellent debate on social networking technologies in education are now closed, so I guess it’s officially over. Fortunately, the discussion’s continuing in several places — somewhat fitfully thus far, but these things often have a way of gathering momentum:

  • Let’s define our terms on danah boyd’s apophenia is discussing semantics: just what do we mean by “social networking technologies”?
  • Ewan McIntosh’s The finale covers the digital divide, bans on Blogger in schools, feelings that practitioners were marginalized, and speculations on why the voting swung against the pro side, and more.
  • The Wikia page is a hub for collecting links and references to supplement the The Economist’s links; the page on Educational Networking collects resources on the broader topic.
  • A thread in the (registration required to view) Facebook group proposes that The Economist license the comments under Creative Commons, preferably attribution.

There are plenty of other interesting things to discuss — about the debate, about the underlying topic. So in the tradition of the political blogosphere, please treat this as a “post-debate open thread”, and jump in with links, observations, references, opinions, …

Some potential topics: Who else was marginalized in the debate? Which statements particularly rocked? How could the ‘pro’ and ‘con’ side have done better? How should The Economist improve their next debate (in early February, on privacy)? Why didn’t the tech blogosphere — or techies in general get involved? And perhaps most importantly:

How to build on this initial success?

The debate succeeded in getting issues on the table, giving a snapshot who is currently being included and excluded from the discussion, and creating connections where none existed before (check out of the comment stream of this thread, or any of the ones I linked to above). Now what?

posted by Jon at 8:21 am  

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