A Tale of Two Revolutions

The truth is that when I started this blog, I called it "The Carrot Revolution" for two reasons. The first was because I'm practically tone-deaf, and so I'd never get to use that title as my band name. The second is because to me, teaching critical thinking through progressive education is a form of social activism; and progressive art education both challenges students to see things in new ways and act on it. That's essentially what the Cezanne quote about those insurgent vegetables means to me.

That being said, at first the blog was just a way for me to share links with other art teachers who might be interested, and force me to keep tabs on all the cool sites I thought I could use in lessons, but I'd inevitably fail to bookmark. What I discovered, quite by accident, is that the act of blogging pulled me into a second revolution- one which is based around this new form of communication. In this way, I can clearly identify four stages of my interaction with the web:

1: Using the web as a resource for getting information.
2. Using the web to post information for others.
3. Authentic Communication.
4. Collaboration.

Perhaps I'm oversimplifying things a bit, but now I see a fifth stage - Social Action.

As demonstrated by this article from Boing Boing, social media is taking on a dramatic new role. In response to a YouTube Video posted by a laywer who predicts his own murder at the hands of the Guatemalan government, citizens have been using Facebook and Twitter to organize, distribute information, and rally for the impeachment of the sitting president Álvaro Colom. In the latest development, a Guatemalan Blogger was arrested for an 'incendiary tweet'. Obviously, the government is more threatened by the principle than anything that could be stated in 140 characters or less.

Obviously we don't need to teach the students how to use social networks -- in fact, we can go to them for help with that one. However, the new approaches to organization and social mobilization through these social media suggest a greater need for the kinds of critical thinking that progressive art education provides.


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