Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Proposition: Social Networking Technologies Will Bring Large [Positive] Changes to Educational Methods ...

The Economist Debate Series

Since its inception The Economist has challenged readers to engage with the world's business, political, scientific, technological and cultural affairs and uncover the connections between them. We now challenge you to bring your knowledge to the floor of our online Oxford-style debates. Your participation shapes the contest and your votes decide the winner.


The Third Debate In The Series Started January 15th 2008:

“Social Networking: Does It Bring Positive Change To Education?"

Proposition: Social Networking Technologies Will Bring Large [Positive] Changes to Educational Methods, In and Out of the Classroom

Schedule of Events
Jan 15th / Debate begins.
Jan 18th / Rebuttals posted.
Jan 23rd / Closing arguments.

Jan 25th /Final winner announced.

Rules of the Game

Traditional Oxford-style debate
Oxford-style debate is most famously practised by the Oxford Union, the debating society of Oxford University. The Oxford Union's invigorating debating chamber has yielded generations of British parliamentarians, lawyers, journalists and other accomplished advocates.[snip]

Oxford 2.0
For our debates, The Economist offers a compact, online variant of the Oxford rules. In our reconception, the proposition and the opposition are each represented by individual speakers/experts in their fields chosen by The Economist's staff to match the proposition at hand. The Economist also invites guest participants to share their thoughts with the floor during the debate. Guest participants add depth to the debate; they are not explicitly aligned with the proposition or the opposition.

Each speaker has three chances to advance his argument: opening (the first day of debate), rebuttal (the fourth day) and closing (the eighth day). Members of the floor are invited to vote for or against the proposition at any point during the debate, although they may only vote once. The Economist invites those on the floor to participate in the debate by addressing points ONLY to the moderator, who will peruse all correspondence from the floor and raise points that are of particular interest or merit with the two speakers. The speakers may address voters' comments in their subsequent statements when appropriate. The Economist asks that the audience observe the spirit of Oxford debate.

Debate Moderator
Robert Cottrell
, Deputy Editor of Economist.com
Robert Cottrell has been deputy editor of Economist.com for the past two years, and online editor of Intelligent Life magazine since its re-launch this year. He is based in New York.


Speaker Pro
Ewan McIntosh
, National Adviser on Learning and Technology Futures for Learning and Teaching Scotland
Writes for the Guardian newspaper and the BBC on social media and learning issues, speaks internationally and consults for organisations on how social media can be harnessed for to improve learning in the organisation.


Opening Statement


Speaker Con
Michael Bugeja
, Director of Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, Iowa State University
Author of 21 books, with research often being cited by New York Times and Internatiomnal Herald Tribune to name a few, Dr. Bugeja was among the first to analyse the use of Facebook before many professors realised that most of their students were already registered and of Second Life before many students had ever heard of it.


Opening Statement


Instructions for the Floor

  • To encourage a lively debate, please familiarise yourself with your duties as a floor member:
  • Educate yourself on the Oxford-style of debating
  • Sign up for alerts about the next debate
  • Read the opening, rebuttal and closing statements
  • Get a pen name and post your questions and comments to the debate's moderator
  • Cast your vote to determine the winning speaker

Interacting with the Debate Hall

Once inside the debate hall, you are encouraged to review speakers' statements and scroll through responses from other floor members and guest participants. All statements and comments are archived and can be viewed at any time.

You may also bring your influence to bear on the contest in one of two ways: either by commenting on the proceedings, or by casting a vote for your favourite speaker.


To vote, click the "Pro" or "Con" boxes above the bar of participants' comments. Votes will be tabulated immediately. You are free to change your vote at any time throughout the debate until the ballot box closes.


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