Social Activism Online

Can social activism be meaningful and worthwhile online? Yes, it can. There is a concern that internet activism is creating a generation of lazy, good-for-nothing re-bloggers and re-tweeters who will do nothing more than click a button. I will not argue against that fact because it is true. There are plenty of instances in which the modern brain has tricked internet-goers that re-tweeting #blacklivesmatter is the same as actually doing something about the systemic racism and inequality that society faces today. However, the modern brain is not entirely wrong, either.

By re-tweeting and sharing movements, you are doing something. Granted, you could do more, and you should do more, but by tweeting and spreading the news, people will do more. By sharing and spreading these stories, people increase the involvement and population of the movement. By creating an online community that supports whichever movement it may be, it will extend the lifespan of the movement by keeping its followers up to date with any new information on the matter. Internet activism spreads information across the entire world. Therefore, millions more people can become involved. Compare it to the past:

Did information get immediately cast across the world through articles in a newspaper? Did delivery boys teleport across the world to get a letter to somebody? You know the answer to that. While it was not impossible to spread such information, it could take way too long for the information to spread, and it could easily be silenced. Letters burned, journalists fired, all sorts of things could prevent social justice movements from happening. With the internet however, it is nearly impossible to prevent the outburst of information. Even if an article is taken down, millions of people had the opportunity to respond to it, or take a screenshot to store the information for themselves. People cannot be effectively silenced on the internet, which means social activism has its place on the internet.

People take action when injustice has taken place to promote change in order to correct the injustice. Silencing the people is what prevented social activism. The internet considerably makes that less of a problem.

So yes, there is #slacktivism happening, but those who complain about it may guilt or spur any number of people into serious action because deep down they know that merely re-tweeting something about #feedthestarving or #blacklivesmatter doesn’t actually solve the problem.

Social activism and the internet get along great. It makes many things possible which haven’t been possible before. It gets more people involved, and it extends the lifetime of movements.

Online activism is more than worth it. 

Digital Citizenship

Something I would like to focus on in my future classrooms is showing students the many different ways that the internet can be used to further their learning. In grade ten I took a German studies class. My teacher was younger, and always excited about implementing different technological strategies to see what worked the best. Sometimes it was detrimental to our learning because simply learning how to operate the rather poorly organized platforms was such a pain that it made learning difficult rather than easy. We created a wiki space but I did not see the point of using the space because we essentially had no use for it. We used it to send in our audio clips of conversational German, but I always thought it strange that we couldn’t just email it to our teacher. It wasn’t like we had public settings so we could benefit from listening to each others’ clips, either. It was just a really backwards way for her to have all of our submissions going to a separate email and being organized on one site. It was useless to us, but useful for our teacher at the time. Now there are resources like Google Classroom (check out this video if you haven’t heard of it before) and other such platforms meant strictly for educational purposes. There is a website called Academia.edu  where scholars, students, professors, and passionate individuals can share their essays and articles on varying topics that are organized through tags.

Specifically, I think of our inquiry-based learning project that we are working on  throughout this course. I would like to do something of a similar nature with my students but in order to do that, I must first teach my students digital citizenship. I must show them how to narrow the entire internet down so that when they inquire about their topics, they use educational resources instead. No reddit threads, no wikipedia articles. Instead, I want them to learn from other people on the internet who have documented their growth and understandings on topics similar to my students’. The internet has such an abundance of resources and has become such an integral tool in the parts of the world that have access to it. It would be a disservice to my students to not teach them how to effectively utilize the internet in ways they’ve never imagined before. While I see the benefit of the “two lives” perspective mentioned in this article, I think it is unrealistic to ever consider separating digital citizenship from any form of education in communities who have access to such technology.

Another benefit to using the education for inquiry-based learning is that all forms of learning styles can be incorporated. Do you work better when you listen to instructions? Perfect, there’s audio clips for that. Do you work better when you see a visual example? Check out YouTube. Do you prefer step-by-step images that you don’t have to pause videos for? Perfect. Wiki-how has got your back. Do you require immediate feedback in order to feel comfortable in proceeding with your assignment? Join some online communities and forums in which the participants would gladly critique your work! There is something for everybody, and students deserve the chance to experiment with different digital styles of learning so that they can carry these skills forward into their lives.

In this article, the author (Mike Ribble) wrote, “Now everyone has the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with anyone from anywhere and anytime.” It would be a shame to ignore the possible implications of cultural diversity that is present in the online community. We could use this as a way to teach cultural diversity as well. Students would have the opportunity to see cultures and individuals from all over the world in a way that is much less dehumanizing than the typical news stories that typically misinform the masses anyways. For these reasons, I plan on teaching digital citizenship to my students as a means to create efficient internet-goers who can then use the internet to independently further their own education.

Vlogging Is Actually Rad

But, just as is suggested in this video, it is awkward at first, too.

I got really excited about this whole vlogging thing so I made another one. I really want to get into this for my learning project because I think it will be a great way to share the literal, physical process that I am going through.

Just taking a picture of the result does not give an accurate portrayal of how long and gruesome art can be. So, recording the actual process is a lot better in demonstrating the time and care that goes into art. Here’s the new video:

 

Thanks, and let me know what you think. Give me advice on how to vlog, do art, or even just random advice to help me live my life. Until next time!

 

Who wants to be Vlog bros?

Just kidding. For my response regarding digital citizenship and communities, I decided to join the YouTube community. I joined the culture of participation. Check out my brief video below. Maybe join me in joining the community.

 

Okay, but seriously.

Who wants to try joining the community? What I would like to see is how difficult it is to get into the YouTube community. Will there be reluctance? How much effort on my half do I have to put forward to get people to notice my vlogging? My assumption is that I will be one grain of sand on a beach and it will take either something incredibly disputable or a lot of reaching out to get my videos and posts out there.

Or, something original. Hmm..