Posts Tagged ‘Trevor Timm’

Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou, dismissed from the Olympics for a racist tweet

One of the most important – and complex – developments regarding media and the Olympics has undoubtedly been the integration of the Internet in the diffusion of information, images, and analyses.  Of particular note this year has been the place of Twitter in this evolving landscape.  Greek and Swiss athletes have been dismissed from the 2012 London Olympics because of Twitter posts, while a journalist has had his Twitter account blocked because of his repeated criticism of NBC, which has had its own negative impact on Twitter (among other stories).  And here is an article by legal journalist Trevor Timm on free speech issues generated by all this Twitter activity.

Currently, educators are capitalizing on the communicative possibilities of social media for their uses in the classroom, while they also wrestle with the challenges posed by the use of these types of Internet platforms in schools.  It is clear that the critical thinking skills that are at the core of media literacy education have become more vital than ever.  An earlier event from this summer demonstrated this clearly to me.  In France, a Twitter trending topic generated a rather humorous response from French comic Elie Semoun (who had already developed a rather thorny, and not funny, history with Twitter): “I confirm my death,” he responded from his Twitter account after the “story” of his death became a “news item” for a number of hours, having been stirred up by a flurry of Twitter posts.  This has happened to other celebrities, such as Paul McCartney, but this response by the “dead man” was particularly original.  All it required was a small dose of media literacy skills to figure out this was not news and certainly not reliable – and, as it turns, out, not true.  The importance of our abilities in analyzing, evaluating, and properly using media resources has been one of the key lessons of this Twitter-filled summer.

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One of many major websites protesting SOPA

At virtually every corner these days, teachers are exhorted to use technology – and media-driven technology in particular – to engage students; sometimes we educators might feel that unless we’re interfacing with students primarily with a screen or two between us, we’re not really “reaching them.”  Years from now, it will certainly be interesting to see how people look back at these transitional days for new media interfaces and the world of Internet culture.  To highlight the ongoing debate about SOPA and PIPA – which quite prevalently involve widespread trends in media use – I’ve found a sample page that presents common approaches by educators.  Here is a link to that article – “Free Social Media Tools for Teachers.”  It is notable that many of the uses of the Internet recommended in educational blogs and articles on current pedagogical trends (like the one above and countless others I have seen) involve, at least in part, what would fall under copyright infringement and thus would become fair game for shutdown under this legislation.  Of course, the variety of these platforms has increased since this posting but remains quite similar.

Some media outlets, such as the MPAA, see this legislation as a protection of their copyrights

On a personal note, I am very happy to report that one of the most prominent current voices in the national debate about legal issues dealing with digital news standards, social media, and related domains is a former student of mine (not in media studies or digital moviemaking but French class!), Trevor Timm, who is a lawyer currently writing for Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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