Just like anything else in today’s world, social justice can be both promoted and enforced with the help of technology. One of the best demographics for teaching and spreading social justice are students. The ISTE technology standards for students contain various components that contribute to the cultivation of good social justice practices. Some of these standards include being a good digital citizen, being a creative communicator and being a global collaborator. (ISTE, 2018) These standards guide students to conduct safe, ethical online activities while also using communication and collaboration skills to seek out new perspectives to enrich their learning and express themselves. While these standards are excellent guidelines, they alone cannot be relied upon to help us meet social justice goals. Students need to learn the proper skills in order to safely navigate the internet as well as seeking out social justice and being able to promote it. Students need to evaluate sources for reliability, learn to choose quality information sources, identify bias and hate, and be able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of digital strategies/methods to combat injustice. These specific skills can become invaluable to a student in making them a more complete digital citizen as well as helping to spread social justice. (Collins, 2018)
A big part of being able to effectively meet social justice goals is to understand the current landscape of the technological field. It is important to know that like many other jobs in society, the technological field is not without its biases. ” Many practitioners (about 50%) shared experiences of intersecting racism, sexism, classism, ableism, transphobia, and other forms of structural, institutional, and interpersonal oppression while working in this ecosystem.” (Chock et. al, 2018) One of the best ways to combat this is to identify the issue and call attention to it. In order to do this, there needs to be a lot more demographic information recorded at job sites and other areas of work for the technological field. By doing so, a plan of action can be put into place to help those marginalized to seek out equality in their field and/or place of work. (Chock et al, 2018) As time goes on, we seem to be heading in the right direction. As technology advances, so does opportunity for social equity advancement. According to fordfoundation.org, we can expect an increase in digital rights privacy battles on the local, national and global stages. ” The end of net neutrality has shifted to the state-level (California, New York, Oregon, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey are at the forefront) where legislation is being sought to hold Internet Service Providers (ISPs) accountable for discriminatory practices.” (Negron, 2018) In fact, some innovators are going so far as to try to develop technologies to meet social justice in areas where technology is seldom seen. ” According to Freeman Dyson, we can use three technologies – the sun, the genome, and the Internet – to help poor villages become sources of wealth.” Some ideas would essentially be to genetically engineer plants to make them produce clean fuel from the sun, thus helping villages generate effective, cheap power. Dyson also believes that by spreading the internet to poor villages, they can be taught to network and reach out for help when needed. (Austin, 2013)
Austin, M. (2013, February 19). Technology and Social Justice. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ethics-everyone/201302/technology-and-social-justice
Collins, C. (2018). Digital and Civic Literacy Skills. Retrieved from https://www.tolerance.org/frameworks/digital-literacy
ISTE Standards for STUDENTS. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students
Negrón, W. (2018, April 06). 10 tech trends that will impact social justice in 2018. Retrieved from https://www.fordfoundation.org/ideas/equals-change-blog/posts/10-tech-trends-that-will-impact-social-justice-in-2018/
Sasha Costanza-Chock, Maya Wagoner, Berhan Taye, Caroline Rivas, Chris Schweidler, Georgia Bullen, & the T4SJ Project, 2018. #MoreThanCode: Practitioners reimagine the landscape of technology for justice and equity. Research Action Design & Open Technology Institute.