Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Youth Activists of the Future: Via Mobile Phone

A recent article in the Financial times, some Albanian youth have been using their mobile phones to gather evidence (photos/video) against the local police who have been corrupt and failing to help with the poverty and crime in Albania. The youth movement called Mjaft! or Enough!, which started in 2003 with 4 students has now grown into a full-fledged civic movement with 30 staffers who are armed with cell phones to communicate and document activity. The staffers can immediately text message their media to the over 50,000 subscribers instantly. I think this is the 21st Century version of CNN/National Geographic Reports, as a way to create an awareness of civil or human rights issues from around the world.

As I was reading the article I also realized that this is something that any student can do. Students in social studies or science classes studying human rights or global science concerns (such as poverty, homelessness, global warming, or other news worthy issues) can create their own "awareness" hot line through text messaging. This would allow students to learn how to be democratic citizens and advocate for a cause that is important to them. In the process they will learn about the science or social science involved in their particular issue. One site in particular that is very helpful to set this up would be Textmarks with their Text Alert option. And the nice thing about Textmarks is that it is Free to sign up and very easy to use. There are also no limits to how many people can sign up for your alerts, thus potentially students could reach people around the entire globe! Talk about a Flat World???!!

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