Universal Design & Technology with Ira Socol

I am pleased to announce the Ira Socol will be giving a publicly available presentation on Universal Design on Monday March 8/10, at 6:30 p.m. CST. This session is directed at our preservice teachers who are taking Disability Studies, but the presentation will be available to all interested attendees via this Elluminate link.

Ira is a fantastic presenter and a guru in the field. I am really looking forward to this presentation, and I hope that many of you reading this can make it. Please pass on this information to others that may be interested.

Update: The Elluminate recording of Ira’s presentation is now available here.

No Child Left Thinking – Dr. Joel Westheimer

Dr. Joel Westheimer is presenting a public lecture at the University of Regina on Monday, January 25th, 3:30-4:45 (CST). I will doing my best to stream the event live via this Ustream channel.

Details of the session are found below.

“No Child Left Thinking: Democracy at Risk in Canadian Schools”
Dr. Joel Westheimer from the University of Ottawa will be delivering a free public lecture to the university and broader community on Monday, January 25th, 2010 3:30pm-4:45pm Education Auditorium (U of R) on the topic of social justice, citizenship, and democracy. His talk is provocatively entitled: “No Child Left Thinking: Democracy at Risk in Canadian Schools” .

Dr. Westheimer’s bio:
Dr. Joel Westheimer is University Research Chair in the Sociology of Education and Professor of Education at the University of Ottawa. He is co-founder and executive director of Democratic Dialogue. Westheimer teaches, researches, and writes on democratic engagement, social justice, activism, service learning, and community in education. He has published books such as Pledging Allegiance: The Politics of Patriotism in America’s Schools (2007) which Teacher Magazine called “this year’s most important education book,” What Kind of Citizen? Schools, Civic Education, and the Promise of Democracy (forthcoming, 2009), and Among Schoolteachers (1998). He also publishes widely in newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals and addresses radio and television audiences on shows such as Good Morning America, More to Life, The Agenda, NBC TV News, C-Span, NPR, and CBC radio. Westheimer has received numerous awards including:the 2009 Canadian Education Association’s Whitworth Award; an award for Education Research that honours an individual or research collaboration (research team or organization) who has made a noteworthy contribution to educational research in Canada, the Daniel E. Griffiths Award for Excellence in Education Research, the Jason Millman Award, and Outstanding Research of the Year Award from the American Political Science Association’s Division on Teaching and Learning. In 2005, he was named John Glenn Service Learning Scholar for Social Justice by theJohn Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy.

Update: The recorded session is available below.

Iran: A Nation of Bloggers

Earlier today, I sent a tweet describing the contrast between teachers I have worked with who are afraid to use social media for fear of “Internet Predators” vs. many Iranian citizens who use social media with the realization that they may face direct punishment, imprisonment, or death sentence. Now, I just noticed a video from Rocketboom that supports this important idea and describes some of the perils faced by those that blog for freedom, social justice, and for an end to oppression.

Please help your students and colleagues understand how privileged they are to be able to express their thoughts and ideas, through social media or otherwise, freely and without fear of penalty.

Stephen Spoonamore on Hacking Voting Machines

This is an interesting interview with Stephen Spoonamore, CEO of Cybrinth, regarding the hackability of Diebold voting machines (or electronic machines in general).

I stress the importance of these points:

    – “There is no system, none, in the world, that cannot be hacked.”
    – “You cannot have secure electronic voting. It doesn’t exist.”
    – “Two graduate students in 3 hours successfully hacked the machine. And once they had completed writing their hack, they then successfully added a 4 line code of self-erasing virus to allow it to propagate across the network. That’s just two guys with two hours who had no interest or motivation in doing it other than scientific interest.”
    – “There are people out there, and there’s a lot of them, who don’t really want to win elections. What they want to do is they want to steal them. They have an enormous incentive for power. They have an enormous incentive for money, And, they have an enormous willingness to go and do it.”
    – “I don’t want to have a society where we’re not sure who won. I want to live in a democracy where there is a valid capacity to audit the entire trail.”

While this may come off as conspiracy theory, I do not believe it is as simple as that. When a democracy relies too heavily on electronic technologies to tabulate the outcome of elections, we must be extremely cautious. And while there has not been the criticism in Canada for voting machines as as there has been in the US, I would suggest all citizens monitor the possible ubiquity of such machines in the years ahead.

Internet, Democratization & Prosocial Change: I Could Really Use Your Help

I’ve been asked by a colleague to speak to students in the Graduate course, “Social Justice and Globalization from an Educational Perspective.” These are the two general questions I’ve been asked to address:

1) Is the Internet a democratizing agent?
2) How does/can technology be an tool for prosocial change?

While I have many ideas, trying to come up with answers to these questions by myself wouldn’t make much sense. I would really love to see what kind of responses I can get to these questions from my network. Please, if you have a few minutes, let’s attempt to get something going here. I’d love to show the group how powerful the network can be. Through the content of your responses, and in the very act of responding, I’d like to bring an authentic demonstration of the power of these connections and the strength of weak ties.

I hope to hear from you, many of you.