Today, people of all ages, cultural backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, religious affiliations, and political views have access to the internet. The internet, particularly social media, has created a platform for people with diverse experiences and backgrounds to share their opinions, thoughts, and struggles. With this medium, many people are now able to actively participate in a conversation about the plethora of current issues that are in society today. Technology allows people of all backgrounds to be able to discuss social injustices together and perhaps see an issue through a different lens. The seventh goal of The Teaching Tolerance Digital Literacy Framework (2017) states “students can evaluate the value of the internet as a mechanism of civic action.” By participating in productive conversations about issues of social justice, students can begin to appreciate the importance of their own voice and use it as a mechanism of civic action. Technology can provide students with a way to initiate conversations and inspire them to take action for social injustices they believe in.
Technology can also help students in combating the distribution of incorrect information available on the internet. Despite being an issue for as long as real news has existed, fake news has become a buzzword in today’s media outlets. The internet has contributed greatly to the circulation of false information, rapidly and efficiently. Fake news is “often described as intentionally trying to deceive readers, creators of fake news use clickbait (scandalous or enticing headlines) to drive up traffic and to appeal to readers’ emotions” (Mgongolwa, 2017, para 2). According to a Stanford University study performed in 2016, an overwhelming amount of teenagers cannot differentiate between a fake news story with a real one, roughly 80% (Wineburg, McGrew, Breakstone, & Ortega, 2016). When students are able to identify fake news stories or websites, social justice goals are that much closer to being met. Emotionally charged, false stories are extremely damaging in the fight for social justice. Students must be able to use technology to identify factual stories and accredited sources. With the truth and facts, more actions and solutions can be created to meet the social justice goals.
Digital Literacy. (2017). Teaching Tolerance. Retrieved 12 September 2018, fromhttps://www.tolerance.org/frameworks/digital-literacy
Mgongolwa, K. (2017). Fake news and teachable moments. [online] Teaching Tolerance. Available at: https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/fake-news-and-teachable-moments
Wineburg, S., McGrew, S., Breakstone, J and Ortega, T. (2016). Evaluating information: The cornerstone of civic online reasoning. [online] Stanford Digital Repository. Available at: http://purl.stanford.edu/fv751yt5934
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