Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Space: Being a Responsible Citizen of the Digital World

We recently released the digital media and ethics casebook, Our Space: Being a Responsible Citizen of the Digital World that Project New Media Literacies developed in collaboration with Howard Gardner and Carrie James' GoodPlay Project. 

We see this casebook being used in homeroom, advisory periods or health classes.  However, our main concern regarding teaching ethics is one that we have seen occur in the media literacy movement.  Throughout the years, teaching media literacy was always relegated to an elective or at the end of class …if there was time.  People have begun to listen to the need to integrate media literacy across curricula and not consider it an aside or add on subject. Our Space is a set of resources that are just as important in today’s media-rich world we all live in, and should not be put aside to “when there is time” during the school day.  Beyond using these resources in the classes mentioned above, we have tried to include lessons that can work within subject-matter classes as well, such as Being Anonymous for a social studies or history class or Identity Play in Online Spaces for an English language arts classroom.

Regarding the casebook release, Anne Collier recently asked, "If a high school student asked you, "What's so important about learning ethics – why develop a whole curriculum around it like this?", what would you say?"

My response...

Imagine a flipping coin in mid-air, hanging there in limbo before landing on one of its two sides.  There is no right or wrong to the sides of a coin.  They both exist together and as the coin hangs in mid-air, it has the potential of landing on either side …At some point in your life, you will be like that coin hanging in mid-air where you’ve run into some issue that bothers you and you need to know your options and make a decision and land. 

Our Space helps to give you the full picture, the promises and the pitfalls of different situations that could or maybe already have happened to you or your friends.  We did this to not leave you with all the answers but hopefully provide you with the tools to form your own personal compass in knowing what questions to ask and how to find the right answers for you.

So please enjoy and help to spread the word about the free resource for all to use.  Thanks!