As educators in the present day, we have (quite literally) endless amounts of information at our fingertips. As do our students. Technology has allowed this. It has also allowed for the rapid transfer of information, which has shown to be powerful when it comes to social-media-organized rallies and protests over the last few years. A nation-wide boycott of Starbucks was organized within a matter of hours through Twitter. I believe as educators, we can use this as a lesson for our students: using technology to make a difference regarding social justice. It is not hard to have your voice heard, when it is a click away from being retweeted onto millions of feeds. It is an important understanding for students to have, that they are creators on content online (Costanza-Chock, et al, 2018). With all of that power comes a lot of responsibility, and it should be used in the most positive ways possible. It should be a basic lesson with internet and technology usage that students are now digital citizens, and must be ethical in the content they post, create, or share (ISTE Standards For Students, 2018). This technology also allows for students to get more involved with their community. I have witnessed this firsthand when a 12th grade student of mine got involved in discussions online, which turned into meetings with groups of people with shared concerns, which then turned into this student speaking at the podium of the March for Our Lives Rally in Albany back in the spring. Her feelings of concern and worry for the safety of herself and her fellow classmates caused her to act, and with the help of technology and social media, it was able to snowball into something much bigger and more impactful than she could have ever imagined. This is something I will tell my students every year from now on. I want them to know that they may not think they can make a difference or be impactful, but it is far easier to do so than they think. While social media and other platforms have their downfalls, I think as educators, we need to make it a goal to use this resource as much as we can, because there is so much to learn about social justice through social media.
Costanza-Chock, S., Wagoner, M., Taye, B., Rivas, C., Schweidler, C., Bullen, G., & The Tech for Social Justice Project. (2018). #MoreThanCode: Practitioners reimagine the landscape of technology for justice and equity, 1-130.
Digital Literacy. (2017). Teaching Tolerance. Retrieved 12 September 2018, from https://www.tolerance.org/frameworks/digital-literacy
HENTGES, S. (2016). Toward #SocialJustice: Creating Social Media Community in Live and Online Classrooms. Transformations: The Journal Of Inclusive Scholarship & Pedagogy, 26(2), 230-238.
ISTE | Standards For Students . (2018). Iste.org. Retrieved 12 September 2018, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students
Lanae Spruce & Kaitlyn Leaf (2017) Social Media for Social Justice, Journal of Museum Education, 42:1, 41-53