Wednesday, October 22, 2008

November is a Great Time for Learning

(If you are looking for Animation-Ish post, it is here.)

Alan November, that is....

I watched Alan November present the second day keynote at the Iowa Education Technology Connection Conference held in Des Moines, Iowa. This home state conference has grown over the last few years. I was intrigued by a few ideas that Mr. November presented and I would like to share the first one here today.

One of the big ideas I gained from his talk was that our Internet, like our television and radio, can give us a skewed sense of the world. A heavily paraphrased quote from Alan was, "The Internet isn't necessarily a place to find a new perspective. You may find things that strengthen your current beliefs." Sorry Mr. November if those weren't the exact words, but I believe that was the intent of the words. (Like he reads my blog :-)

He suggests that we add site:(country code) to a search and then get search results from that country. So, today I tried it. I searched for information about the Boston Tea Party, and I will be posting the most unusual results. I don't know if I have representative sites on either continent, but it was interesting to me the differences in the material.

Part of the UK version
"In the early evening of 16 December, a band of men, some disguised as Mohawk American Indians (Hewes recorded that he darkened his face with soot), assembled on a hill near the wharf. Whooping Indian-style war cries, they marched to the wharf, where they boarded the ships one after another, hoisted the tea on board deck, split open the chests - 342 in total - and threw all the tea into the sea. The whole affair took about three hours, and it was not a violent protest - the ships’ crews attested that nothing had been damaged or destroyed except the tea - and the protesters swept the decks clean afterwards. The Massachusetts Gazette even reported that when it was realised that a padlock that had been broken was the personal property of one of the ships’ captains, a replacement was procured and sent to him."

Part of the US version
"We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard, and we immediately proceeded to execute his orders, first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water."

Most of the parts were the same...but the savagery of the US version really set it apart from the gentleness of the UK version which went so far as to have the hooligans tidy up after the big 'party.'

Mr. November's assertion was that we need to help kids think more globally and a great way to do it would be to give them some tools to find information of varying viewpoints.

Picture source:

1 comment:

Teach42 said...

Very interesting! I've heard him mention examples like that before, but I have to admit that I never actually followed through and checked them out for myself. Thanks for sharing your results. Informative@