Posted by: William Perrin | October 6, 2008

Teach a man to fish – Demos recommends teaching blogging etc in school

This looks like a timely report from Demos – covered in the Guardian – giving young people the basic skills to self publish unlocks their democratic voice. The Guardian says of the report:

‘It also suggests that creating video blogs and online diaries should be part of the school curriculum, used by schools in the same way that they organise museum trips or extra art classes.’

This notion is at the heart of this discussion around ultra or hyperlocal voice – give people some very simple online publishing skills and communities can find the most effective voice they have ever had.  The Demos report ‘Video Republic’ by Celia Hannon and Charlie TImms is mainly about YouTube and other video publishing platforms.

“It’s now as normal for teenagers to write a blog as it is to write a diary – that’s a massive shift,” said Celia Hannon, a researcher with Demos and the lead author of the report.
“Youngsters are working out their relationship to the outside world and forging an identity.”
The report makes recommendations to help adults cope with the changing online environment, and calls particularly on schools to help youngsters understand the long-term implications of living their lives in a semi-public way.

“Schools, universities and businesses should prepare young people for an era where CVs may well be obsolete, enabling them to manage their online reputation,” says the report. “This generation of young people are guineapigs … we need an educational response that extends beyond the focus of safety, towards broader questions of privacy and intellectual property.”

‘As young people experiment with taking on powerful roles as reporters, distributors, commentators and artists, they are increasingly plotting their ‘route around’ existing political and cultural institutions. This poses a profound challenge to decision-makers, but it also creates opportunities. For European democracies starved of legitimacy, it could open up new channels for democratic expression and participation.’


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