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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beyond The Black Letter

So last week, I was the only one home and was doing some work around the house. I turned the TV off, and put on the good olde SiriusXM. My go to channel on SiriusXM is PRX, Public Radio Remix, which is affiliated with the Public Radio Exchange. It's a great organization where audio producers can submit their creations, and radio stations nationwide can purchase their work and broadcast it.

On this particular evening, PRX aired a story entitled "Clear and Present Danger". This production was created by Beyond the Black Letter. Here is some background information on Beyond the Black Letter as it is found on their website:

"My name is Zach and I’m a law student at UCLA. Tired of memorizing boiled-down rules and case holdings (aka “the black letter law”), I’m trying something a little different. Let me know what you think."

I cannot say how much I love this concept. When we think of learning and the learning process, we usually think of writing papers, taking tests, creating dioramas, etc. While these are an important parts of assessing the learning process, they aren't the only way of assessing learning. With the advancements in digital technology, it is almost limitless how we can assess students learning processes. Student created documentaries are a new and exciting way of assessing students' knowledge, and listening to Zach's production showed me how much he understands the concepts of law. (This documentary/commentary makes the topic come alive for me.)

"Clear and Present Danger" explores the topic of free speech during times of national conflict. The show description follows:

"On this episode we explore the outer bounds of the right to free speech. How does the law tolerate speech that calls for lawlessness? It’s a journey that begins during the fervor of World War One and ends, for now, with a televised Ku Klux Klan rally in the 1960s. We meet a courageous federal judge, and a Supreme Court justice slow to understand the importance of free speech, and wonder why both would eventually defend the right of radicals and dissidents to venture out to its very edge."

With the current state of our democracy and our world, this is an especially relevant topic. Is there such a thing as crossing a line when expressing your opinion? Is there a time and a place for free speech? What exactly is free speech? These are just some of the topics this program explores. Please take thirty minutes out of your day and listen to this fascinating topic. 


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