Shouting fire in a crowded theatre is bad. Similarly, tweeting about blowing up an airport is just as bad. Last week you may have stumbled upon this story reported first by The Guardian. I found it via Mashable under the title “#IamSpartacus”. The writer’s of Masable pose an interesting question at the end of their adapted article,
Was Paul Chambers really breaking the law when he joked about “blowing the airport” on Twitter? Subsequently, are all the Twitter users who have repeated the message breaking the law, too?
The easy answer is yes, however it strikes up a good debate. This is how I will start my class today. This article raises many good lessons about using social media responsibly and understanding your audience. It also presents students with the realities of how using social media irresponsibly can result in serious consequences.
Students will be able to explain how to use social media responsibly
Students will be able to analyze how to use social media responsibly
Depending on your class size split the room in half. One side will argue for Mr. Chambers and the other side will argue against Mr. Chambers.
Allow each group a day or two (again, depending on class size and time) to research the story and construct their argument. Each group must share a google doc with their group members and the teacher. This document will house the minutes from group meetings, links to secondary sources, and each member of the groups’ role.
During the debate one member from each group will backchannel the debate proceedings with the hashtag #chamberdebate (or what ever hashtag you decide to use) NOTE: Later on we will analyze the thread of the backchannel and use it to evaluate the debate and reflect on the effectiveness of each groups’ argument.
Another option for this exercise is to use USTREAM.com to broadcast your debate to your personal learning network or possibly the school. I have done this before and it really gives the students an audience and produces excellent feedback. Make sure you consult with administration, parents, and your academic technologist before going through with this.