The goal of this page is to prompt students to think about how the mediums of communication limit the nature of what people can and cannot communicate to each other.
A second goal is to prompt students to think about the way that communication technology (and software in particular) is playing an increasingly important role in providing the mediums of communication and to ask students to ponder the impact of technological decisions on communication.
This section may be well served by the Software Freedom/Controlling Communication Activity.
Alternatively, the following related activities or explorations might help the students explore and discover the key concepts in this section. Each is framed in terms of the key questions it raises.
An activity or discussion around an actual communications technology that has been intentionally designed to prevent a certain type of use.
Some good examples include Digital Rights Management technologies that prevent copying or types of copying. Questions to raise in discussion might include:
This might also involve an experiment that prompts the users to modify an existing communication program on their computer (e.g., through the creation of "filters"). This might be as simple as an email filter that hid, redirected, or changed incoming messages. It might also be a filter for the IM client that made a superficial or meaningful change. It could be something more complex as well.
Students would then be asked to share their projects with each other and reflect on issues that each one raised:
An activity that prompts students to compare any previous background or reading they have done in the area of censorship with the idea of network filtering or more "innocent" changes to communication technology that alter the terms on which students communicate.
Student could walk away from this section with: