The Internet has transformed society in so many ways, and that’s bound to continue. The aim of our Big Tent events is to bring together people with diverse views to debate some of the hot-button issues that transformation raises.
This week we hosted our first Big Tent event stateside at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. The theme was Digital Citizenship, and over the course of the day we discussed child safety online, the most effective ways to incorporate technology with education and what governments and civil society can do to maintain a responsible and innovative web.
The policymakers, commentators and industry members who attended heard from a variety of speakers, from child prodigy and literacy evangelist Adora Svitak to filmmaker and Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain. Wendy Kopp, the CEO and founder of Teach for America, gave a keynote about the need to integrate technology into education thoughtfully, not as a panacea, but rather within a greater context that supports critical thinking and other crucial curriculum goals. In a fireside chat with David Drummond, Jennifer Pahlka, the founder and executive director of Code for America (which takes the idea of skilled service from Teach for America and applies it to programmers) laid out her vision for a growing corps of young coder volunteers with an “agile, maker-and-doer mentality” that can help local governments better serve their citizens, and help citizens better participate in their democracy. “Instead of a chorus of voices,” she said, “I’d like to see a chorus of hands.”
We also launched a new Big Tent YouTube channel with a collection of content from past Big Tents and information about upcoming events around the world. Visit the channel to watch speaker videos, participate in the debate via the comments, get more information on the presenters and see how different communities approach many of the same issues. Stay tuned for future Big Tents, both here and abroad.