Technology has been able to unite the world like never before. People are able to share up to the minute, first hand encounters via social media as in the case of Philando Castile. Castile’s girlfriend live streamed a traffic stop which ended with Philando Castile’s death at the hands of police officers in front of their child (Nelson, 2018). Eric Garner, an unarmed man was approached by several officers for selling loose cigarettes in front of a store. His murder by choking was witnessed by many due to a cell phone recording and viewed throughout the world (Baker, 2015). The reactions were instantaneous, insensitive and divisive.
Technology provides users that ability to experience situations in real time. Reactions are also given in real time with not much time given to process information. With the growing sophistication of technology it is becoming increasingly more difficult to discern fact from fiction. Images and videos can be manipulated to make it seem that individuals are present at a scene where they were not. Voices can be digitized and manipulated to speak words that were never uttered by a person and even DNA can be manipulated to appear in a place where a person never was. We live in a world where seeing is no longer believing. However, ultimately, there are real people, with real families and rights on the receiving end of ill-informed comments and unsolicited opinions.
Social justice goals as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes ideals such as Article 3 – “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person,” and Article 7 – “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination” (United Nations, 2015). As educators, if we are to foster learning with this concepts in mind, it is imperative to instill critical thinking skills, empathy and an awareness of their important role in the world. The Digital Literacy Framework developed by The Southern Poverty Law Center for Teaching Tolerance developed a digital literacy framework with seven keys to develop digital and civic literacy skills. Among these skills are valuable guidelines for evaluating sources for bias, displaying inclusivity, managing their digital footprint and recognizing the power of the internet for civic action (Teaching Tolerance, 2017).
When using technology it is important that students learn to authenticate and cross reference sources. We must teach them to acknowledge and be mindful of their inherit biases and to be mindful of how they respond because their digital footprint is traceable.
Technology has the capacity to bring awareness. Technology alone does not have the capacity to develop understanding or compassion.
Baker, A. Goodman, J.D., Mueller, B. (2015, June 13). Beyond the chokehold: the path to Eric Garner’s death.Retrieved September 2018, from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/nyregion/eric-garner-police-chokehold-staten-island.html
Nelson, T. (2018, July 16). Two Years After the Police Killing of Philando Castile, Justice Continues to be Denied.Retrieved from ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/blog/racial-justice/two-years-after-police-killing-philando-castile-justice-continues-be-denied
Teaching Tolerance. (2017). Digital Literacy Framework. Retrieved September 2018, from Teaching Tolerance: https://www.tolerance.org/sites/default/files/2017-10/Teaching-Tolerance-Digital-Literacy-Framework.pdf
Teachings in Education. (2017, 20 June). Flipped classroom model. Retrieved September 2018, from Youtube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCIxikOq73Q
United Nations. (2015). Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Retrieved 2018, from United Nations: http://www.un.org/en/udhrbook/pdf/udhr_booklet_en_web.pdf