Social justice is something we preach to our students on a daily basis through anti-bullying and other tactics. However, with the increased use of technology and social media it is important for us as teachers to explain to students how to use technology appropriately in order to interact with the world in a socially just manner. Within the standards from the ISTE; students are expected to collaborate, communicate, think, design, construct, and be aware of rights and responsibilities within using technology.
Technology can help us reach our social justice goals through allowing students to interact with a more diverse population and be more aware of the world around them. Technology has given all of the world access to opinions, judgements, information, and people they would not normally be able to involve themselves with on a daily basis. One thing that students begin to learn when they are in schools that will teach them social justice skills is healthy debate. In the society we live in, where people can post their opinions and ideas everywhere, it is so important for the students to understand how to debate. This is the best way for students to exchange ideas in a socially just manner. “Teach them to handle these debates with grace, calmly stating their points rather than attacking the person who disagrees with them. An effective social justice advocate knows how to use facts to support their points” (Lynch, 2018). The best thing about teaching students these skills is that it will work not only through technology but also within their daily lives growing into adults. It is a skill they will need in order to communicate to others in the world; whether in their future jobs or just a dinner with family and friends.
Another aspect of technology that students can use to become more aware of social justice is being responsible technology users. This means that the students learn how to navigate internet and what sites they should or should not be using. Students can learn that what they are looking at online effects not just themselves but others around them. “Students can locate and verify reliable sources of information” (Digital Literacy, 2018). Students will need to be taught how to do research and decide how to backup their opinions with reliable sources. The students need to know what websites are not appropriate or do not display the right information they need to get their point across.
IS ISTE Standards for STUDENTS. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students
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/
Digital Literacy. (2017). Teaching Tolerance. Retrieved 12 September 2018, from https://www.tolerance.org/frameworks/digital-literacy