Forum Friday – Reality Check…or Real Pirates Aren’t in Disney Movies

On most Fridays I like to pull a resource or interesting topic of discussion from either the nearly defunct forum here on the site, or from elsewhere on the Internet. Since most people have better ideas or resources than I usually do, it’s nice to get a different perspective on a resource or teaching tip. This week Several months ago I found an interesting resource on the Google Earth Blog by Frank Taylor about Somali Pirates. I’ve also been listening to special NPR stories on pirates that use the lawless country of Somalia as a base of operations.

My biggest “beef” being an elementary teacher, is that my students are usually almost always too young and naive about the world to talk about global issues with any real substance. To them pirates talk with British accents, and fight zombies, ninjas, and other pirates (though not necessarily in that order). Global warming is something “bad”, and copyright infringement means  don’t cut and paste information from Wikipedia into your report. Very rarely do I have the opportunity to engage students with any deeper conversation beyond the superficiality of placing events into good and bad categories. I know that part of this is a product of the time I have to interact with students (only 45 minutes a week in the computer lab), and structuring lessons to meet their developmental needs (5th graders really don’t need to be engaged in a conversation about whether merchant vessels should be carrying armed escorts).

However, I do come across resources that I think would be fabulous in a middle school or high school setting that accomplish two tasks; first of all, add a visual or aural element to help aid in global awareness, and secondly, help dispel stereotypical archetypes of popular culture that cloud perception of reality. So without much further ado, I submit a few resources to help better understand how modern day piracy is both similar, but also very different, from Disney’s version of old world piracy:

Somalia Piracy Map in Google Earth (from November 2008)

NPR News Stories on Piracy (over 1,100 articles, some of them dealing with I.P. piracy)

LIVE Piracy Map (an excellent Google Maps Mash-Up)

ICC Commercial Crimes Services (A corporation dedication to “helping business stay in business”). A great look at the other side of piracy; how people make money from the problem.

1 comment

  1. I missed the Google Earth file. I like that. I’m messing around with information fluency a lot and I’ll use that for sure. You might be able to do something with this article as well. I found the business end of Somalia pirates pretty interesting.

    Toms last blog post..The Future of Search

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