Pay Attention People - It's A GLOBAL Community Out There

I may have offended some of the best thinkers of our time without even realizing it.

When a person decides to post something to the Internet, be it text, a photograph, or a video, they would be well to keep in mind that they are not just making the video available to the person in the next room - rather, they are submitting their content to be viewed, scrutinized, and evaluated by people throughout the world. The Pay Attention video is a perfect example. What started as a video designed to motivate only the teachers in our District (the Jordan School District, in little ol' Sandy, Utah), spread throughout the world like wildfire.

This map is one of dozens that shows 500 sequential hits made to the T4 website. This particular "snapshot" was taken just after Pay Attention hit the bloglines.

From the map, we can see that the video has been seen by people all over the globe. In creating the video, however, I never even thought about how it might be interpreted by viewers in Australia, Japan, or throughout Europe.

Which was probably wrong for me to do.

Now don't misunderstand me here. I'm not saying that it was wrong for me to create such a video targeted to members of my District. Nor am I saying that I shouldn't have posted it to the Internet.

However, I am saying that if we truly are a global community, and if a blog can truly be an international forum (an international classroom, if you will), then participants in that community must make a conscious effort to avoid ego-centric references to their own particular culture - for a world-wide culture is what we must become. I'm not sure if most current participants in the blogosphere truly understand their role in shaping the future. It seems to me that as participants in this global forum, we are all forming the international culture that will eventually be called "school".

To illustrate how inadvertently one might reference their own particular culture, examine a recent comment "conversation" that took place between Graham Wegner and myself. In short, Graham saw the Pay Attention video and commented that "the only thing that rubs me the wrong way about these videos is their US centric view of the audience". I later explained that I had no intention of showing the video to the entire world, and that "I don't see how the video is US centric. Is there no Internet access outside of the US? Are there no cell phones nor iPods?"

That's when Graham let me have it because I most certainly deserved it.

Graham was very tactful. I was so naive. Quoting:

The stats about college students are US based (we don't have a college system - university or VTE options for Oz/NZ students)... Cell phone is a North American term, as is pop quiz, spelling bee - not to mention the astronomical charges from telcos in various parts of the world that make some of the ideas very expensive to implement.
Now, as a new participant in this global classroom, I hope that participants everywhere will think twice about what they say, and generously forgive others of their lack of cultural awareness. In the future, I hope to be more mindful and inclusive of those outside of my cultural circles.


D. Draper

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