Final Reflection

Throughout this course I have been exposed to many new perspectives and aspects of social justice. More than any other assignment however, the field experience and group work is what was really significant for me. It was by no means a simple task but creating our own set of social justice objectives took a good amount of research and collaboration. The goal was to come up with a set of objectives so that anyone who read and followed them would be effectively enforcing a socially just classroom and/or work environment. Working with group members made this experience much more effective in that we were able to bounce ideas off of one another and suggest small changes to each others objectives when necessary .

What I thought was the most difficult aspect of the group work was to come up with educational games that could help others understand ELL learners while also having a content connection. This really tested me as a technology professional and a teacher in general as I had to get creative to make some tools meet the criteria. Meaning that while I did find some games that fit the bill and should work great in a classroom, I also found some great tools, not meant to be games, that could be implemented as such for an educational purpose. I think the rest of the group also found finding just the right games to be difficult as well but overall we came together and were able to help each other finalize our list of games.

The last aspect of the group work, making recommendations on the lesson plans for EDU 577 students, was what I enjoyed most. It was interesting to see what the other students had in mind in terms of implementing lesson plans that incorporated social justice aspects. All of the lessons I reviewed were very well done and I was impressed with some of the ideas used. I really just tried to work off of their pre-existing ideas to enhance the lesson with technology that lead into social justice components. The rest of the group also had some excellent recommendations which I may even try to use in my own classroom.

Our group almost always interacted by using the group discussion board and using google docs to help streamline all of our ideas and contributions. I thought it was a great way of doing things and it helped to accommodate everyone’s busy schedule. Even though we all had different things to do, I could always pop into the google doc if I had some free time to add some feedback or post one of my games or lesson recommendations. Everyone seemed to work together efficiently and I don’t think there were any conflicts whatsoever. Everything really operated in a professional manner and I think our final products showed that.

Overall, I always believe that group work is an excellent way to foster higher level learning. I believe that students who truly care about what they are learning are usually excited to work with others who feel the same way. As a math teacher and a future technology professional I have gained some invaluable insights on social justice and education in general, not only in the past 4 weeks but throughout the entire course. I hope to take what I have experienced and share it with both my class and my colleagues to continue to improve as an educator and spread good practice to others.

Social Justice goals through tech standards.

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)

References

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.