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

Author: Zoelene Hill

School/Organization:

West Philadelphia High School

Year: 2011

Seminar: The Middle East Through the Eyes of Women

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: Middle East, Political Activism, Technology, women

School Subject(s): Social Studies, Geography, Global History

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.

Download Unit: 11.04.03.pdf

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