Reflection

Throughout my coursework in EDUC 581, I have had many worthwhile experiences that have enhanced my understanding of social justice and how to use technology to better convey the topic to students. Working with undergraduate students through our fieldwork has given me an insightful perspective of what it means to be a Technology Specialist. Reviewing lesson plans and making recommendations to incorporate technology was something that I have not had experience doing until this course. There are a plethora of tools and programs I have learned about through the program. The opportunity to make recommendations taught me how to connect what I have learned throughout my coursework to real-world lessons and curriculum. It was sometimes difficult to be able to connect and apply the EdTech tools but I have learned to be a successful Technology Specialist one must be creative and see lesson through a different (technology) lens. The role also requires a lot of research and ingenuity. Reviewing games and finding different applications that connected to the topic of social justice showed me how many resources are available and how to identify if they are a good match for the topic. A good Technology Specialist should build a metaphorical ‘toolbox’ of EdTech resources. The more ‘tools’ the better equipped a technology specialist will be. Throughout this course, I began to make a document of all the technology tools I have learned about. I have begun to categorize the resources into subgroups and have noted successful ways to implement them into the classroom. There are so many ways that technology can enhance the standards and topics that are being taught in the classroom, and as Technology Specialist, one is responsible for identifying the best tool to bring the topics to life.

Working with a team of Technology Specialists was also a wonderful experience. As I said, being a technology specialist requires a person to look at material through a creative and technological lens. While working with the ELL group and participating in the discussion board each week, I found that my classmates were able to be resourceful and create recommendations that I did not necessarily think of at first. Working collaboratively allowed me to view the lessons and topics from a different perspective. It also gave me many new resources and tools for my Technology Specialist ‘toolbox’. This experience taught me that collaboration is key and it is imperative to discuss challenging topics and pedagogy with our colleagues. Our students, especially ELL students, come to class with many different experiences and challenges each day. Speaking to other people in the profession helped me to create new values and goals for my teaching practices. By doing this, I am able to better support my students in the future and have a better understanding of their daily lives.

Overall, this was a wonderful course and I have learned so much from of each of you, and of course you, Lee. Thanks for an amazing semester!

Checking the Facts

person reading the daily fake news newspaper sitting on gray couch

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.

 

References

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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