Television and films have literary, cultural and ethical themes, and, while that aspect of culture, of literature, is known well to scholars, American public schools have yet to include an ethics curriculum.
In addition to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, secular multicultural ethics curriculum in American public schools is a topic of interest. With the upcoming transition to digital textbooks, there has never been so opportune a time for discussions about American public school curriculum. Based upon legal precedents, and speculated hypothetical court cases, the adjectives of secular and multicultural are indicated when describing the niche of digital textbooks about morality, ethics, and character.
The digital textbooks under discussion can be authored for extended existing courses or can be for new courses. The inclusive competition to create digital textbooks, as aforementioned, in accordance with the laws and court precedents of the United States, for state and local public school schoolboard selection processes, can effectively commence.
The curriculum and digital textbooks under discussion are not mutually exclusive to any family or community activities. Furthermore, secular and multicultural public school curriculum on the topics of morality, ethics and character can start conversations in homes whenever parents ask their children about how their schooldays went.
Other topics include: capitalist marketplace, digital textbook selection processes (
), consumer feedback, and consumer advocacy. With the Web, new forms of consumer feedback and advocacy are possible (
); I recently wrote to several consumer advocacy groups about how consumer advocacy groups could each independently spider, index, utilize, and make available on their websites blog articles and tweets with certain keywords or folksonomic tags, e.g. “bbb” or “#bbb”.
Additionally, a new blogging platform feature can facilitate pinging organizations, per article (
). Consumers’, parents’, teachers’, and scholars’ commentary, feedback, and opinion, about digital textbooks and curriculum could be specifically routed, as indicated by each blogger, empowering bloggers and adding value to numerous organizations’ websites including those of consumer advocacy groups, teachers’ and education-related organizations.
Combinations of parents’, teachers’, scholars’ and scientists’ commentary, feedback, and opinion about digital textbooks and curriculum can be spidered, indexed, utilized, and presented on the Web. While hyperlinks can be of use for opening digital textbooks to specific pages and object configurations, some bloggers might want to additionally make use of quotes or multimedia clips on their blogs during fair use scenarios.
Teachers encounter digital textbooks occupationally. A policy topic, Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), is discussed by the American Association of University Professors at:
. Legislation can and should be enacted to ensure and affirm academic freedoms, freedom of speech, including, specifically, professors’ and K-12 educators’ extramural free speech when commenting on, discussing, applauding or criticizing portions of digital textbook content, curriculum, and other education-related topics, for example on their blogs, as protected free speech. In addition to addressing Garcetti v. Ceballos, and in addition to restoring or enhancing the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, the federal government can and should seek to ensure and affirm that extramural discussion of textbooks and curriculum by teachers is protected free speech.
With regard to curriculum, I advocate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects and I advocate the subjects of leadership studies, ethics, and argumentation. Themes include: individualism as opposed to conformity, leadership skills, public speaking skills, video blogging and conferencing skills, social comfort expressing opinion or disagreement, debate and argumentation, including as group processes, which can ensure better summations of moral compasses and that reason prevails.
Town halls enhance communities and Thomas Jefferson referred to town halls as “the wisest invention ever devised by the wit of man for the perfect exercise of self-government.” In the past, when American towns had more vibrant town halls, attendance and participation were as implicit forms of education and, at some point in the past, town hall meetings decreased in use. Our public schools can equip students to make fuller use of their town halls and Web.
In Finding “The Right Way”: Toward an Army Institutional Ethic, LTC Clark C. Barrett suggests that “the U.S. Army profession’s most worrisome cultural shortcoming is the lack of a codified institutional ethic and a means of peer-to-peer self-governance.” The publication “describes the problem, provides a review of the literature, and supplies and justifies a proposed institutional and individual Army Ethic” (
) and indicates a that some ethical lapses indicate “a potentially devastating cultural shortcoming” (
Such observations may be, in fact, societal, extending across sectors, and public school education topics are where solutions to the identified problems can be arrived at. Regarding the secular and multicultural digital textbooks for the needed curriculum, beyond the textual content topics, there are multimedia topics, video topics, and, if textbook production teams want to include interviews with people, there are additional sociological and political topics.
Some possible uses of video in such digital textbooks include:
(1) Narration of textbook content, reading hypertext passages.
(2) Scenarios with actors doing group sketches for classroom discussions.
(3) Interviews with people from society relaying their observations or wisdom, including scholars.
With regard to (2), we can observe correlations between such classroom activities and other important skills with students observing and considering the behaviors of people depicted in videos and discussing topics comfortably with classmates.
With regard to (3), we can observe that a sociology of celebrity or politics of celebrity has existed since before radio and television. Furthermore, some have commented about which guests have appeared on television news shows and we can observe that a subset of all possible guests have appeared on the History Channel. However, with digital textbooks, each of numerous production teams can choose whom they would like to interview and each interviewee can choose with which production teams they would like to participate. In my opinion, exploring the breadth of society for such interviews would result in higher quality digital textbooks. People from all walks of life can be interviewed: businesspeople, scholars, scientists, policemen, firemen, military personnel, from accountants to zoologists.
Multimedia digital textbooks, containing hypertext, video and 3D graphics, could be larger in size, for example on BluRay discs with 50, 100, 128 or more gigabytes of storage. Additionally, digital textbooks can hyperlink to Web content. With extras sections or supplemental discs of content for teachers to browse for classroom use, with students able to study independently, and with hyperlinked Web content, the total content per digital textbook product can be much more than can fit into the total classroom time of a quarter or semester.
Argumentation, argumentation about ethics, can be described as an alternative to moral absolutism and moral relativism. Future Americans, skeptical, critical thinking, Americans, will reason about matters of their day, matters of importance including morality and ethics, individually and in groups, assemble and speak freely, engage in civil discourse, argue and debate with one another in new ways utilizing technology.
With upcoming technologies, we can expect empowered communities, consumers, parents, and teachers, and enhanced educational systems. With the new topics of multimedia and video with digital textbooks, capitalist marketplace, digital textbook selection processes, consumer feedback, and consumer advocacy are posited to ensure numerous competitive, quality options for empowering, equipping and enhancing communities, consumers, parents, teachers and educational systems.