One of the great flattening aspects of Twitter is that it brings people of different beliefs and backgrounds together for spontaneous communication and discussion. Sometimes these turn into Twitter debates, or Twitterbates (as I have just now decided to call them). Take the following example:
I was remarking (to no one in particular) on a recent incidence of theft at my school.
5 Laptops were stolen from my school today, one where students feel totally comfortable leaving their bags in the hall unattended
Theft has happened before, and before as a community we have always resolved to work against the breach of trust and united around that
If a student: we condemn, make an example of -> strengthens community; if faculty/staff: we fear those we are supposed to trust
if thief is an outside party: we have a big problem, students don't feel like they are safe in school, not sure how to recover from that
And, before I knew it, Kevin Walter had decided to chime in with his own comment.
@achivetta: That's one of the things that struck me about [your school]. But students need to learn to deal with the real world. People are bad.
@kevinwalter it is about creating an environment where people are comfortable, one of fear doesn't facilitate learning, one of trust does
@achivetta: Not fear, but not ignorance either.
@kevinwalter I don't think we are ignorant, we don't leave our laptops on street corners. But, for us, school should be a safe space
And then, Arthus decides to join the fun. Let the twitterbate begin!
@achivetta @kevinwalter I don't buy the whole "fear" thing; the world's a scary place, students have to, basically, deal with it.
@achivetta: Me, an outsider, walked right into your school last month. No security checkpoints
@arthus Fear impedes learning, our community prides itself on being a trusting environment, dealing with it doesn't mean we have to live it
@achivetta What happens when students hit the real world and have to learn/work in "dangerous" enviroments?
@achivetta I suppose it would be easy to be trusting when you can throw anyone you don't like/trust out.
@kevinwalter and, that is an issue, sort of. we have been a pretty secure campus, the community is small. I worry this threatens that
@arthus exactly, last theft incident...expelled, that is the advantage of an independent school.
@arthus we aren't ignorant of the dangers of the real world, we are just aware of context and take advantage of the close knit community
@achivetta: You say you don't leave your laptops on street corners. Do you ever go to street corners? Or only stay in the safe zone...
@achivetta Each to his own; I prefer learning to deal with the "real world" when I don't have to worry about $$$....
@kevinwalter and there lies the rub. I think we do, but that is the facing challenge ind. school education, creating diversity of experience
@achivetta Don't give me this "independent school" stuff... it's a private school. Shall we call private business "independent business?"
@achivetta: The stereotypes do have some basis in fact, my private-schooled friend. :-)
@achivetta: Oh, sorry. "Independent" school
@achivetta Honestly, how much diversity can your school claim? (This coming from rural whitest state in the nation)
@arthus It depends on what kind of diversity you are talking about! it isn't all about % of "people of color". no state approved courses...
@arthus: I think the fact that your school has no diversity has twisted your own meaning of the word. ;-)
@achivetta Not just racial: how great is disparity in grades? intelligence? income? etc.
@kevinwalter lol. maybe. but atleast we have to accept everyone who wants to come...
@kevinwalter I'm sure the economic diversity is far greater than @ @achivetta's "independent" school.
@arthus diversity has it's advantages, yes, but it can also be limiting, why do we have "honors" level classes? my school strikes a balance
@kevinwalter @achivetta @arthus My big, rich, private school's motto is "A private school with a public purpose."— Lindsea
There wasn’t a point to this. None of us planned to debate these issues. It wasn’t at times easy to follow or well ordered. But, we all shared our unique perspectives and participated in a spontaneous sharing of ideas. What a powerful (and dangerous) tool!