Tuesday, August 22, 2006

First Day of 5th hr. Class

On the first day of class, Thursday, August 17, my 5th hr. A.P.U.S. History students immediately asked, "Are you going to make us blog?" I said no. They said, "Good!" Okay, what did they mean??? How should I interpret their comment? Their question made me really think about a couple of issues I hope we address. How many of us are requiring blogging in our classes? Are we adding to the work we are already requiring of students? Are we artificially introducing something into our class requirements? Does blogging replace some activities we were already doing? Or, does it simply add to the workload of student and teacher? I need to explore some ways to find balance on this issue for both teachers and students so that blogging will be meaningful, relevant, and appropriate.

The Truest Definition of Globalization

Okay, here's my post for the week of August 7th: Yes, Kleeman, I know I'm behind on posting, but my blog was spammed--the least they could have done was fry it up and put a pineapple ring on it. I know that predates some of you who have never had the experience of Spam on your dinner plate...
As I prepared for the first day of classes, I came across this definition of globalization I have used in A.P. U.S. to discuss the development of an "Atlantic" World in the 1400s (Europe, Africa, the Americas). It was taken from an e-mail Martin Rosenberg sent me a few years ago and though a bit of it seems dated, it's still useful:
What is the truest definition of globalization? Answer: Princess Diana's death. How come?
An English princess with an Egyptian boyfriend crashes in a French tunnel, driving a German car with a Dutch engine, driven by a Belgian who was drunk on Scottish whiskey, followed closely by Italian paparazzi, on Japanese motorcycles, treated by an American doctor, using Brazilian medicines. This e-mail is sent to you by an Armenian, using Bill Gates' technology, and you're probably reading this on one of the IBM clones, that uses Taiwanese-made chips, and a Korean-made monitor, assembled by Bangladeshi workers in a Singapore plant, transported by lorries driven by Indians, hijacked by Indonesians, unloaded by Sicilian longshoremen, trucked by Mexican illegals, and finally sold to you by Arabs. And that, my friend, is globalization.

The World Is Flat

Certainly what stands out the most to me from Friedman's book is how its argument relates to the lessons that may have been learned from the events of 9/11. Up until 9/11, it seems as though many Americans were largely and blissfully unaware of parts of the world that harbored deep-seated resentment towards the U.S. and its policies. I remember watching the stunned looks of disbelief on the faces of so many people who could not fathom that the U.S. could be the target of such hatred. In Social Studies classes, prior to 9/11, it had not been unusual to hear students voice complaints such as, "Why do I have to learn about those people, that culture, those countries, etc.?" "Why do I have to analyze maps and memorize locations?" Interestingly, I have heard very few of those comments since 9/11. Most students now seem to get why studying other peoples, countries, cultures, etc., is important and relevant. The events of 9/11 definitely made the world a smaller place and, for many Americans, ripped away the insular world we had largely resided in since the end of the Cold War. Friedman's themes reiterated the points that it is necessary and relevant to all of us to be aware of the world beyond our borders.

Monday, August 07, 2006

First Post

First Post