Monday, June 16, 2014

Vote for Philo

Last week, we had a provincial election. I was surprised by the results (a Liberal majority?) but now my attention is on a different election - and I need your help.

My students participate regularly in the Toronto East Heritage Fair and this year, one of my students attended the Provincials (June 14-15, 2014 in Toronto). He is also part of the Young Citizens Program. To quote the description,
The Young Citizens program focuses on citizenship and is a complementary component to Heritage Fairs, an annual event where students present the results of their research on Canadian heroes, legends and key events in Canadian history. Participants in the Young Citizens program make a short video about their heritage fair topic, much like an evening news report or short documentary. The student videos are posted online and reviewed by a panel of judges for a chance to win a trip to Ottawa to attend the Canada’s History Forum.
Part of the selection involves receiving online votes here at the Canada's History website. The link goes live on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 and voting ends on July 11, 2014.

Rob Mewhinney congratulates Philo

Philo's profile and video can be seen here. There are a lot of reasons why I believe Philo deserves this honour. He's a hard-working, thoughtful student and his video and research touched on an important issue. Selecting a winner is not going to be an easy choice. There are 139 entries from all over Canada. Helping Philo gain votes is going to involve mobilizing all my social media contacts and those of the students and staff at our school. I think this is definitely possible - we can encourage people to vote for our favourite candidate. After all, a group of our students won the 2014 Red Maple Marketing Campaign competition because of their wonderful work wielding digital media tools for promotion.

Individuals and groups are eager to capture the passion of large numbers of Internet users to help their cause. There is no denying that having a video go viral equals a lot of exposure. For instance, I was pleased to hear this talk show by John Oliver on HBO explaining Net Neutrality (in a comedic way but with methods that made the complicated issue understandable) actually crashed the website for the Federal Communications Commission of the United States when people responded in droves to give their opinions. The video is embedded below - but warning, some of the language is not appropriate for elementary school audiences.

So, like John Oliver, I'm appealing to those who pay attention to the media texts I produce online - if you can help me, and my wonderful student Philo, then please go to and cast a vote.

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