The third Economist debate launched yesterday, debating the proposition that ‘social networking technologies will bring large [positive] changes to educational methods, in and out of the classroom’. Opening arguments from Ewan McIntosh (Learning and Teaching Scotland) speaking in favour of the motion, and Michael Bugeja (Iowa State University of Science and Technology) in opposition have already been posted, as have an impressively large number of comments from the virtual floor. As Bugeja wryly observes, his chances of winning an online debate (held under a version of the Oxford Union rules that The Economist rather quaintly refers to as Oxford 2.0) on this topic are slim, and voting so far is as one-sided as might be expected.
Rebuttals will be posted on Friday 18th, followed by closing arguments on Wednesday 23rd; the debate itself closes with the final count of votes on Friday 25th. There’s still plenty of time to get involved, but are the books already closed on the outcome?
Update: owing to a gloriously ironic technical fault with the website, the dates above have all been moved forward by a day. As moderator Robert Cottrell observes, ‘you might say that this hiccup has lent support to Dr Bugeja’s argument that applied technology is dangerously fallible.’ Could Web 2.0 be it’s own worst enemy?