Ann Henderson hopes five wall-mounted touch screens change a culture in which many young Floridians never cast a ballot and political debate is tinged with condescension and disrespect.
Henderson, director of the University of Florida’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service, launched the Civil Debate Wall this month. Florida students and other Floridians ages 18-29 are encouraged to answer questions like “Is Occupy Wall Street the civil rights movement of our time?” and “Is wealth distributed fairly in the United States?”
Here’s how it works: Someone at the Gainesville campus' Pugh Hall goes up to one of the screens and replies either to another commenter’s post or the Wall’s current topic. A wall-mounted camera then takes a picture and posts the comment along with the person’s first name. Commenters can also log in through Facebook, and Henderson hopes to have a mobile app functioning in the next month. In time, she wants to connect all of Florida’s public universities with the Wall. (Though there are Facebook and Twitter pages for it, they don't post real-time reactions.)The Daily Show recently did its own take on civil discourse: