I feel like a pendulum
I had never seen the video, Everyone Knows Sarah, but I grew with the message portrayed by the video. I was always very weary of what I posting anything online. With MSN Messenger being popular in my elementary school years, cyber bullying was beginning to gain a platform, and that really refrained me from diving too deep into the online community. It wasn’t until last year when I became an educator and read An Innovator’s Mindset and the following quote:
“We need to make the positive so loud that the negative becomes almost impossible to hear.” – George CourosThe Principal of Change
Yes – there are so many negative things that can happen online, but if we empower students to become contributing members and active digital citizens of the online community, there’s so much potential that would otherwise go undiscovered.
Thinking in this way excites me and really pushes me to try new things with my students in class. I personally follow environmental hashtags to see different ways people around the world are increasing environmental awareness and demanding improved environmental protecting legislation. Altan mentions that discussion on social media networks led to actual change in China regarding the smog problem back in 2011. If it happened in China, why couldn’t it have a positive impact elsewhere?
Again, these ideas excite me and makes me think that engagement and increasing awareness is the way to go. Then my mind wanders to Facebook slacktivism that comes to mind when I think of Facebook profile filters. Does changing your profile picture really matter in the grand scheme of things? Are they all of equal importance? If we support one, are we obligated to support them all?
Catherine has outlined some good points of what activism on social media can do:
- Spread a message to a large audience very quickly
- Organize events easily (like the Women’s March)
- Allow marginalized groups to express their views freely
These points in themselves make social activism worthwhile. If social activism amounts to anything, even creating space for conversation, that will have been worth the effort. Katia Hildbrant’s thought provoking blog post swings me back in the direction thinking that it’s worth all it; that social activism is a necessity. She asserts,
“Edtech, at its very core, is about privilege. We preach the virtues of universal access to knowledge, but who really gets to be involved in edtech? Those with access to technology and good quality Internet, those who have the educational background to comprehend the material, those with the time to devote to studying. That I am able to sit down and write this post, that I have the time to tweet, that I have access to the tools that make these things possible: these are markers of privilege.”
This couldn’t be more true. I agree that we have a responsibility to not let our silence speak for us. If we have a voice, we should be using it to share issues of importance with others in order to create uncomfortable conversations that invite growth. In my opinion, these spaces for growth should be happening in our classrooms; however, like Daniel, I think my responsibility as a teacher really lies with fostering discussions, promoting good social media practice, and teaching strong media literacy skills. There’s no better way to create active digital citizens than providing others with the ability to think and speak for themselves.