Initially, I thought I was going to be an innovator and start this blog post with an explaination SOPA in layman terms, specifically for use in discussing the importance of the protest today in your classrooms.
But many, many, MANY people beat me to the punch. And their explanations are WAAAY better than mine was going to be.
So I'm simply going to provide links to some of the better ones out there, starting with my old favourite, Gizmodo:
Here's one written by a teacher (@rachelcinis) for her middle school students:
So here we are, in the middle of the protest by bigwigs such as Wikipedia, Reddit and Google. Can't say you weren't warned. The internet communities have been buzzing with conversations regarding the protest, and many sites, such as Wikipedia, forewarned their readers of the impending blackout. Here's a screenshot from last night on Wikipedia:
And now, when you (or your students) attempt to access Wikipedia, here's the message you get. The phrase "Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge" is even a trending topic on Twitter.
What I find interesting is that Wikipedia is showing a blackout for all of its English viewers, but only putting a banner across the top for the rest of international community. Google.ca doesn't even mention SOPA, and because of my Canadian IP address, I can't even see what google.com is showing. Granted, it IS an American bill, but due to the fact that in a globalized world major bills such as this could have an impact on decisions made by other nations, I'm surprised that at least us, as the "US's little sister" aren't privy to some of the protests.
As a former Social Studies teacher, I love a good revolution, and even more so, a grassroots protest. So I highly recommend that even though many readers of this blog are in Canada, and therefore not directly impacted by SOPA, that you spend some time today discussing this phenomenon and debating the use of copyrighted material on the web.