Daily Archives: 5 November 2012

Pinterest for Education

Although we discussed some of the most basic and widely used ICTs for education during our class presentation, there is another interesting ICT tool that is used by many teachers in the US that may be useful in other areas of the world.  Pinterest is a very new and unique ICT tool that allows people to share links to blogs, images, and various resources available online in an organized way.  People use pinterest to find and organize internet resources that are of interest to them and to share them with their social networks.  Recently, teachers have discovered the amazing benefits of using pinterest.  If you go to pinterest and search for boards entitled “teacher” you will see all of these results. Teachers use pinterest to share teaching methods, lesson plans, multimedia teaching resources, and links to teacher blogs.  This is a unique and interesting use of an ICT to improve the quality of education and skills of teachers through collaboration, communication, democratization of information, and technology.  Now, there are even blog posts on well-known teacher blogs — such as this one on edutopia.org — that provides an overview of how to use pinterest for education, so that teachers who aren’t familiar with pinterest can learn how to take advantage of this new tool.  This new type of collaboration has greatly helped teachers in the U.S., and I wonder if this is an ICT that could be used to improve education and teacher training in the developing world.  Obviously internet penetration and computer access, language barriers, lack of culturally relevant material, and the considerations that are important for any ICT for education project would need to be addressed.  However, this certainly an interesting possibility for the future once the primary technology needs have been addressed.

“The Zapatista Effect”

This week, we read an interesting article on the role of ICT’s in political change. “The Zapatista Effect,” by Mark

Gelsomino, shows how marginalized communities, especially those living in “ICT poverty,” are affected by oppressive government’s monopoly on the political process. The article focuses mainly on the Zapatista Army from Chiapas, Mexico. In 1994, the adoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement spurred this group into armed rebellion. The Mexican

“anyone can be a Zapatista”

government quickly crushed the anti-globalization rebels. The Zapatista cause was not staunchly anti-globalization. They were in favor of global trade, just one that included marginalized communities such as the farmers of Chiapas. They advocated for land reform and redistribution, as well as improved socioeconomic conditions for the indigenous people of Mexico – an ignored issue.

The Zapatistas knew that they couldn’t win a traditional war, so they turned to internet and public opinion. Marcos, the spokesperson/leader of the movement employed several tactics:

  1. He was always displayed in Che Guerva mask, thereby masking his own identity and showing that “anyone” could be a Zapatista.
  2. Marcos was never pictured carrying weapons, only a cell phone because of their adopted slogan: “Our weapons are words.”
  3. Marcos often carried a lantern, symbolic for “bringing light to the situation in Chiapas.”

How was ICT so successful in helping the Zapatista guerilla movement?

  1. ICT is more accessible then corporate news media
  2. Information shared through the internet is not easily censored
  3. Information can come from multiple sources/authors, making it nearly impossible to silence the group as a whole
  4. Alliance building capacity: Zapatista websites and list servs were able to foster connections with other marginalized indigenous groups, NGO’s, celebrities, and international news media


Although the Zapatista s weren’t able to make Chiapas an autonomous state, many still view their strategy shift to ICT a huge accomplishment. “The Zapatista Effect successfully shifted the balance of power from traditional media authors to the audience.” I think that by making the flow of information more participatory, you create discourse. I found this article to be very interesting because it ties in well to the news article about Assad. Syrian rebels should continue to employ their Zapatista-like strategy, therefore continuing their “popularity” with international media. I wish the article had touched more on where the Zapatista movement is today.