A Powerful Educational Use of a Blog in Manila

So my friend Phil is a sociology professor at Ateneo Univeristy. Last Sunday March 1st, 2009 he took his university students to the National Museum in Manila planning to give them a guided tour. There were over twenty students in the group and four parents. The guard refused them entry into the museum saying that groups of over ten people had to pay to use their guides. You can read the full story here.
Phil is the wrong guy to challenge when it comes to human rights. He asked his students to take out their cell phones and record the conversation on video so that they could later post the videos on YouTube. Here he is reading the guard the constitution of the Philippines (yeah, he’s a well prepared fellow!):

The group was eventually let in to the museum, only to be confronted by another guard in another section of the museum, however they prevailed once again.
Later the following week, Phil had his students post their videos on the net and he posted them on his blog which I linked above. He also received correspondence from the Senior Consultant of the Museum acknowledging that there are no such rules restricting groups to ten people.
The most beautiful part of the whole story, which warmed my heart, are the students’ comments at the bottom of his blog:

Dear Dr. Truscott,
I have to admit that tour was unforgettable. Not only was I impressed that you know so much about the Philippines, I was actually more surprised you were prepared to stand up for our rights. What happened at our National Museum is sad, and I think … if I were hypothetically alone and banned from entering our museum, I would have just went back another day, or paid a fee. What truly struck me is that it took a foreigner like you to remind everyone of our rights as citizens[many of us were surprised you had a copy of the 1987 constitution at that time]. You have taught us a very valuable lesson which I hope we never forget.

Cool Stuff

What better comments could an educator hope for?

Did Phil win this battle because of his blog and his use of technology to put pressure on the museum, similar to the pressure which the media uses to win justice in North America or would Phil have won this battle without his blog? Would the Senior Consultant of the Museum given him the time of day without it? Would his story have been as easily shared with everyone without his blog? Does it encourage us as educators? Is it of value to us? Is it of value to his students?

Tomorrow, Sunday March 7th, 2009 he is going back again and I’m planning to attend this tour (I’m told that it really is most valuable to see this museum with a guide). Stay tuned to hear what happens . . .

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3 Comments

  1. kerrieedwards1 said,

    April 2, 2009 at 4:30 am

    That is awesome! I would love to have the confidence to do something like that. Its also a reallly good way of getting the students involved in loading and displaying videos. Your friedn is awesome! 🙂

  2. teachermac said,

    April 8, 2009 at 1:54 am

    Yeah, the video upload thing is kind of funny. We sit and try and think of ways to blend technology and other subject areas into our classes to make them more holistic, and he got them uploading for a realistic reason with no purposeful planning towards the educational value of posting videos. It’s always kind of neat when those connections happen naturally.

  3. tommclean21 said,

    April 11, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Nice story. I be carrying a copy of the Philippine constitution in my back pocket from now on.


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