Class #1 Blog – July 1st, 2012
EDUC 504 “Teaching with Technology” Class #1 is in the books. Some great discussion happened on a variety of topics.
Admittedly, the flow of the class was not what I expected in a "Teaching with Technology" class, but it was quite enjoyable to spend a couple hours pontificating on the ramifications of technology usage in the classroom and even ethical issues surrounding its use.
The most interesting part of the first class for me was the group discussion. For most of the class Dr. Stanzler facilitated the interaction. When one of the topics clearly evoked a more emotional response from the class, Ms. Fontichiaro suggested allowing ten minutes for individual group discussion. And what a discussion we had...
*Disclaimer* This is just a blog…not a fully developed thought out paper…I am just putting down thoughts as they come out of my head for consideration.
The discussion centered around the legitimacy of the potential NYC ban on large soft drinks. The tone of the class seemed to be against the ban (a conjecture admittedly). Having not made up my opinion yet on the matter, I was able to discuss it with Lisa who seemed to be leaning for the ban. She brought a very interesting angle to the discussion that I had not considered before. I still have not made up my mind yet, but appreciated seeing the issue from a view I had not previously thought about.
Lisa’s view was that the issue was not about having a ban for the sake of the ban, but about helping people make better decisions. She brought up the valid point that if someone still wanted a 44oz soda, nothing would stop them from buying two 22oz drinks. Instead, by banning a 44oz soda, the opportunity to make a better decision is provided. She said the ban would create a “pause” moment in which a consumer would be forced into making a more conscious decision to either consume more soda or choose another alternative.
Admittedly I am still chewing on Lisa’s idea, but it is a valid point and one that has given me “pause.” So let’s see if we can make some short objective arguments for Lisa’s idea…
From my readings of Aristotle, Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Smith, etc. my belief is that the purpose of government is, “to protect the people”; more specifically, to protect “me from you.” The question remains, how much authority does the government have to protect “me from me”? Since we are a democracy, I believe the answer is, “As much authority as we give it.” While likely the correct answer, this is just a piece of the puzzle.
A second consideration for Lisa’s argument could be that the purpose of government is to protect the “whole” of the people from which it derives its authority. The argument could be made that by protecting “me from me” on an individual level, the government is making an attempt to protect the whole. It’s like the voting model: my individual vote does not mean much, but when added to the whole “us” is an extremely powerful voice. So too preventing one individual from drinking a 44oz soda does not mean much, but when applied across a city, it could lead to an overall healthier city. If we take it as an assumption that our individual goals are to “live long and prosper” then this ban (by the government we elected) does facilitate this!
Of course, the root of any controversial topic always comes back to the definition of terms: what does it mean to “prosper”? What does “freedom” mean? What does the "social contract" mean? Do I have the right to harm myself regardless of my social obligation to the society I have agreed to be a part of?
Such big questions! I love this stuff! Thank you Lisa for your additive thoughts. And still “chewing” on it…