SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Social Dilemmas No Problem For Modern Students

07-Nov-2011

Knox Grammar School, the Values Exchange’s founding school is leading the way in the use of this powerful tool in the classroom. Dubbed social networking with brains, the Values Exchange is a dynamic website that supports students to think deeply and transparently. Students are challenged to state their feelings and reasoning about a vast range of social issues across the curriculum and beyond.

Any school worldwide is free to sign up to the Values Exchange and to explore any case of interest, with the Values Exchange Community launched at Knox on 21 October, 2011.

Teams of ten students representing at least four Year groups and up to three staff members from Ravenswood, Roseville College, MLC School, PLC Pymble, Queenwood, Newington and Newcastle Grammar School engaged in lively and interactive debate, decision making, collaboration and teamwork.

The participants considered a pre-commitment scenario for anyone under 18 years of age using the internet after reviewing the case studies relating to cyber-bullying in a fictional school. As background, the students also looked at the pre-commitment proposal put forward by Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie requiring poker machine players to set limits on the amount of money they’re prepared to lose.

As soon as students submit their views on a particular issue, they have access to a huge reservoir of comments and charts, which they can explore creatively to understand the complexity of the issues, and to work out practical solutions.
Students work individually and in groups, and are challenged to present information and solutions from within the data submitted. Everyone can use the Reports Wizard to investigate hundreds of reports – both for single cases and across many cases and groups.

At Knox the Values Exchange is currently being used in Science, Christian Studies, Design and Technology and English with more subjects to be added. As an example, Year 9 Science students considered the ethics of designer babies as part of their unit on reproduction while Design and Technology students looked at digital manipulation by journalists.

The Values Exchange sees teachers and students encouraged to reflect on ethical and social issues with real confidence, and students can debate routinely and intelligently with students in other schools, even internationally.

The Values Exchange has grown out of the philosophical work of Professor David Seedhouse, which has previously been applied in the field of health promotion, the philosophy of healthcare, and medical ethics. David Seedhouse is best known for his writing on health and ethics, yet his work straddles many areas of social, philosophical and political concern.
Anyone is welcome to contribute to the posted cases at http://knox.vxcommunity.com/