Another Economist Debate: Social Networking

Crazy couple of weeks here with classes starting. So, here is a post that is not really a post from me, but from the folks at the Economist. Enjoy the next round of debates!

I saw all of your earlier posts about The Economist Debate Series and wanted to thank everyone for posting about our online events. In our first two debates, thousands of participants rallied around the topics of technology in the classroom and of national competitiveness, and our third debate looks to be just as lively. This time, The Economist debates social networking and the value it adds in the classroom. I invite you and the readers to take part by registering for free and commenting.

Since you are a preferred blogger and a member of the technology and education community we aim to serve with this debate, we wanted to give you an early look at what will happen on Tuesday when we kick off the debate.

  • This month’s debate proposition is: “The house believes that social networking technologies will bring large [positive] changes to educational methods, in and out of the classroom.”
  • Our expert debaters are two leaders in education and technology, and will square off for three rounds of debate.
    • CON Michael Bugeja, Director of Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, Iowa State University of Science and Technology. The author of 21 books whose research is often cited by the New York Times, Dr. Bugeja was among the first to analyze the use of social networks (Facebook & Second Life) before their use by students and educators was widespread and well-understood.
    • PRO – Ewan McIntosh, National Adviser on Learning and Technology Futures for Learning and Teaching Scotland, the education agency responsible for curriculum development, and a member of the Channel 4 Media Advisory Board. He writes about social media and learning for the Guardian and the BBC, speaks internationally and consults for organizations including the British Council, the RSA, General Teaching Council of Scotland, RM and Scottish Enterprise, advising on how social media can be harnessed for to improve learning. He blogs at
  • Guest participants will also contribute featured comments
    • Parry Aftab, Founder & Executive Director,
    • Judith Krug, Directory, Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association (ALA)
    • Ann Flynn, Director, Education Technology, National School Board Association (NSBA)
    • Nancy Willard, Executive Director, The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use

Follow the Debates on Facebook

The Economist has launched a Facebook group for followers of the debate. If you’re already a Facebook member, we encourage you to join our group where you’ll find syndicated content and be able to interact directly with members of The Economist community, including some of our previous guest participants.

Here’s a short debate schedule:

  • Tuesday, January 15 – Opening statements & floor opens to comments from public
  • Wednesday, January 16 – Guest Participant, Parry Aftab,
  • Thursday, January 17 – Rebuttals
  • Monday, January 21 – Guest Participant, Judith Krug, American Library Association
  • Tuesday, January 22 – Guest Participant, Ann Flynn, National School Boards Association
  • Wednesday, January 23 – Closing statements
  • Thursday, January 24 – Guest Participant, Nancy Willard, Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
  • Friday, January 25 – Debate winner announced

Check back regularly to see the latest comments by your peers and to see if the moderator or debaters picked up your or other viewpoints from the floor. And as always, if you prefer not to be contacted again by me regarding The Economist Debate Series, please let me know. I’m more than happy to comply.

Please support discourse, and may intelligence prevail!

One thought on “Another Economist Debate: Social Networking”

  1. A quick note from Michael Bugeja, who had some trouble posting to my blog. Sorry about that, Michael. I think that I will have to take off the filter that I have now and use something else instead.

    Thanks for covering this debate. It opened Jan. 15, and I kept noticing comments about my writing rather than my thesis on the Economist site, which intrigued me, because I’m a National Endowment for the Arts fellow. I anticipate criticism, such as appears here, concerning my stance. But my writing? I opened up my opening argument, and to my dismay, 2/3s of it was cut by a technical glitch, which proves the point I was trying to make about technology radically altering any system to conform to its interface or application, in this case Oxford Union debate rules established in 1823.

    Today our student newspaper ran a small bright about it, and I thought your readers would have interest in it:

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