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Lessons from the Middle East: Using Technology for Protest and Political Activism

Throughout the Middle East, women are using cell phone and Internet technology to inform each other and the world of the unjust conditions in their homes, economies and their nations’ politics. Technology is being used to assemble, rally and petition local and global support for their causes. Technology is providing the tools and platforms from which women of the Middle East, literally and figuratively, become unveiled, their voices amplified, and their opinions and protests globally publicized.

Philadelphia’s children suffer from environments of poverty, including violence, drug abuse, low-levels of education and high unemployment.         Philadelphia’s children are becoming increasingly frustrated with their schools, communities and city. Their lack of engagement with and esteem for their community has become exemplified in the recent occurrence of violent flash mobs – which have been facilitated by cell phone and Internet social media sites to communication gathering locations.

This unit seeks to elucidate the connection between the experience of Philadelphia youth and women of the Middle East and their use of mobile and Internet technology in acts of rebellion. These seemingly very different populations both experience limitations on their freedom and opportunities. Both populations have similar tools to protest their respective conditions, however one population uses these tools to ameliorate their condition, while the other misuses the tools and exacerbates their condition.

This unit is designed for high school students and uses geographical training and historical and current event analysis to encourage students to reflect on the lessons from the revolutionary actions of women of the Middle East to serve as a guide for their own personal and collective advocacy. References for differentiated instructional materials in the forms of video, images, texts, maps, graphic organizers, written assignments and projects to appeal to the various learning styles of students is included in the appendix.

Zoelene Hill
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