In many schools across the country, teachers say social studies has taken a back seat under the federal No Child Left Behind law, which stresses math and reading. Squeezing history into the curriculum can be difficult, educators say, and taking time out of a scheduled lesson to use a federal holiday -- even King's -- as a teaching moment can be tough.If it is not being taught well in schools, can the Internet help? As I write this, I'm also Googling to see what is retrieved when I type in "Martin Luther King".
- The first six hits are either from the Nobel Prize web site, the King Center, or Stanford University and are all pro-King sites.
- The seventh hit is really an anti-King site hosted by Stormfront White Nationalist Community. This site works to discredit both Dr. King and the work that he did.
- The eight hit is from Wikipedia. We might suspect that the Wikipedia article contains some incorrect information, but "what" is not immediately obvious. What I find interesting though, is reading through the discussion page, where you can see what people disagree on in the article.
- Knowing that most people look only at the first ten hits returned by a search engine, I'll note that the ninth and tenth hits are also good.
Can digitization and the Internet help perpetuate the story of Martin Luther King, Jr.? Obviously, the Internet is helping since there are articles, biographies and other information available about King on it. There are also dissenting voices, which can be important to understand. However, there is not the digitized content available to help bring his story alive. That content is still under copyright and has not yet been freed so that it can be easily digitized and disseminated. The King family has been enforcing the copyright on Dr. King's works, yet placing some of his works in the public domain could do more to spread the message that he believed in.
Maybe in a year, on January 15, I'll do a Google search and find that a legitimate digitization project of Dr. King's works is available and highly ranked. Until then, it will be up to us as individuals to retell the story and keep the images -- even if it is our verbal "images" -- of those events alive.
Related post: Martin Luther King Jr.: Digitized and available illegally
Technorati tags: Digitization, Copyright