An editing and organizing exercise for the new media

It used to be (in a 1.0 world) that when one wanted to share information, one gathered information and then posted it in a place–in print in newspapers, books, or other publications, or in a speech. Then, when one wanted to solicit public opinion, one had to go a different route, and use the telephone, surveys, or face-to-face interviews to gather information from one’s audience. They were separate informational activities.

Now (in the 2.0 world) one can solicit opinions, gather and share information, and do so in one place–through one’s “social media” network. A current exercise I am  carrying out brought up this difference for me.

Feeling that it is a teacher’s role to make education meaningful in the “real world,” and wanting to foster closer ties between the school and community, I began many years ago (in the world 1.0) assisting my 11th grade English students in holding Advocacy Forums. These 50-minute events were opportunities for our justice-seeking students to make their cases (on topics like the need for new skateparks in town, the problem with the length of the school day, the need for tougher drunk driving laws, etc.) to representatives from local and regional government. In addition to their classmates, students would have an audience of legislators, aldermen, and school administrators who would be able to offer students real-world feedback for their real-world reports. While there was sometimes a little local press, and while the events did have far-reaching effects, the Advocacy Forums in their planning and execution were small-group affairs, manageable within the bricks and mortar of school and local government buildings.

In a 2.0 world, however, we can extend the planning and the execution of the Advocacy Forums. That’s why I put out this long-winded notice on my social network, Facebook:

For current high schoolers or those recently leaving American public education (within 5-10 years): Please help me help schools improve. How do you wish your schooling were different? What does work, in your opinion? What do you wish there were more/less of? And what would you ask your state legislators and education policy makers to support?  

Thank you so much, friends, for responding soon. I’d like to take your thoughts into an Advocacy forum we’re having this Thursday with State Senator Dan Cronin (on Education Committee).  

I was then told it needed to be much more concise (within 420 characters). So it shrank down to this:

And then I wanted to take it even smaller, to the crowd on Twitter, where the message is simpler still:

To you, dear reader, I ask the same question, hoping you’ll let me know soon–since the forum will be in five days. What would you tell your state Education Committee spokesperson to support? It doesn’t matter if you’re not from my state or country. What’s educationally sound is true for all humans.  Reply to this with a comment, and I’ll take it with me into this (now 2.0) Advocacy Forum.

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