Sunday, February 10, 2013

C4T #1

Aaron Swartz
For my first C4T assignment, I was given the link to Ira Socol's blog SpeEdChange. The first blog post I read and commented on, titled Kurt Eisner and Aaron Swartz and the Freedom of Information talked about Bradley Manning and Aaron Swartz. Swartz helped shape the internet into what it is today. He was a co-founder of Reddit and he contributed to RSS coding. He also spread the idea that "information wants to be free". Swartz was set to be on trial for freeing publicly-funded research done by MIT from behind "pay walls". However, Swartz committed suicide before he could go on trial. The blog post iterates that Swartz was facing more jail time and higher fines than many killers get, just for releasing information to the public on the internet! Bradley Manning brought to light "horrific military and diplomatic practices", and yet he is being held in prison under conditions that classify as torture, even though he has yet to be convicted. Socol talks about how our country's copyright laws are absurd, how they're not written to "encourage the development of intellectual property", but to cater to the "greedy slobs" who want to make a profit off of other people's hard work. At the end of the post, Socol lists some ways that we can right our wrongs and fix these issues, such as signing a petition to limit copyright protection to 35 years or less, extend full legal protection to military whistle blowers, and if you're an academic, to post all of your work to free sites.

In my comment, I said that I really enjoyed reading the post, and how I was horrified that Aaron Swartz was receiving more jail time than most killers and rapists receive! And I expressed my anger over the government's treatment of Bradley Manning, treating him like a terrorist and putting him in conditions close to torture when he had not yet been put on trial. I also mentioned to Socol the famous hacker group called Anonymous and how they had a very interesting tweet that they had left on their Twitter account: When Internet activists are getting longer prison sentences than rapists you have to wonder what kind of world we're leaving for our kids.

Since Mr. Socol had not made a new post since the last one I read, I went back and read Who will bring the fight for children to the here and now?. He starts off musing that he might have been born to be a revolutionary since he is "uncomfortable with the world as it is". He then goes on to talk about various revolutions, which he states are "dangerous things", but they are essential. He also states that revolutions don't have to be violent, but that a true revolution results in "the destruction of accepted practice". He then talks about how we need an educational revolution in America. We need schools that are centered around children and their needs and schools that "celebrate challenge instead of conformity". Another interesting thing he says is that universities need to encourage "exploration and not regurgitation", and this reminded me of Dr. Strange's principle for EDM310. Finally, Socol urges that this year is a great year to enact change, and he ends the article with YouTube videos of songs embracing the passion of revolution.

In my comment, I said that I agreed that a revolution in our educational system definitely needed to take place. Children often complain about school and how school feels like a prison, and that's an obvious sign that we need to make changes! We need to fan the flames of creativity instead of fighting to extinguish them. I also said schools need to stop forcing children to make choices about their future careers at such a young age. Lastly, I said that I, as a future educator, hope to be part of the educational revolution and bring about much needed change.

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