Education,Technology, and Social Justice

Current technology standards for students range from digital citizen to innovative designer and global communicator. A common thread among all standards is that students are utilizing technology to better themselves and the world around them. While the phrase “social justice” does not appear within the standards, it is an important aspect of how we as teacher’s model technology provide opportunities for our students to work towards social justice utilizing technology as a tool. According to Snelling the “Student Gallup Poll found that 42 percent of students in grades 5-12 aspire to create something that makes the world a better place” (2017). Providing opportunities for students to choose authentic topics that are interesting to students can spark an interest for students to feel passionate to make a change.

According to Snelling, technology can provide students “new ways to communicate” and enhance how students demonstrate their learning (2017). Students may create a project that allows for global collaboration with students in other parts of the world (Snelling, 2017). “Advocates for social justice now have the ability to reach a much wider (even global) audience via the Internet and social media platforms” and therefore students have this ability too (Lynch, 2018). Students need opportunities to practice and learn how to communicate globally through social media and how their words create their digital footprints. These lessons can also address how biases may be perpetuated through social media and technology. We as a society are often too quick to type our thoughts and hit send. Teaching and modeling digital citizenship and communicating thoughts that may differ from others in a respectful way is a critical teaching component with the use of technology in education.

Opportunities students have using technology for social justice reasons increase the chance for social constructions and government agencies to reflect this mindset as students enter the work force (Costanza-Chock, Wagoner, Taye, Rivas, Schweidler, & Bullen, n.d.). If students are learning about social justice starting at a young age and viewing how technology can impact social justice, their interest within the technological world may be sparked. As there are gender, race, wealth, and identity barriers within the workplace of tech jobs, equitable exposure and access to technology could contribute to breaking these barriers (Costanza-Chock et al., n.d.). The more opportunities our students have to use technology to make a difference in their own community, the more inspired they will be to try to make a difference at a more global level. Technology is here to stay and we have the power to really impact our world through it. It is our job as the people of this world to determine whether we will make positive or negative lasting changes through technology.

References

Costanza-Chock, S., Wagoner, M., Taye, B., Rivas, C., Schweidler, C., Bullen, G., & The Tech for Social Justice Project. (n.d.). #MoreThanCode: Practitioners reimagine the landscape of technology for justice and equity (Rep.).

Lynch, M. (2018, July 17). How to Teach Kids Social Justice in the Digital Age. Retrieved from https://www.thetechedvocate.org/how-to-teach-kids-social-justice-in-the-digital-age/

Snelling, J. (2017, October 2). Students use Technology to do Good in the World. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=1066

 

-Natalie Tuites

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