This week we were asked the question: Can online social activism be meaningful and worthwhile?
I 100% think that it can be and it definitely has. I'd like to compare this question with one someone else may have. Is it possible to have an intellectual and meaningful conversation online through social media such as twitter? To some it would seem obvious that you cannot do such things. However, I know through experience that is not the case. For example with the Sasked chat that I participated in. It was a fully online chat through a social media platform. Now to go back to the first question. As long as you have the right people who are participating and are engaged with what you are trying to do it is possible to have meaningful activism online. And you see examples of this online all the time. Like with people starting online charities that people can donate to or groups that fight for something. Anything is possible as long as you have the right people involved.
Earlier today I attempted to do some coding over at the website https://www.codecademy.com/learn. I have never done any coding before however I did appreciate this challenge. This website breaks it down step by step in coding some html.
This was a fun little activity that I took place in. Really gave me appreciation for people who actually code all the time!
I think as we continue to develop into this technological age, I believe that coding is going to be seen as more important. I think we should have more of it in high school and earlier grades. Providing the students with an opportunity to delve into something that affects them everyday is pretty powerful. Also providing the students with more skills so it opens them up to more options later on in life is great as well. I also feel like a lot more students would be open to coding if they were exposed to it earlier on in life because most people just aren't exposed to it and by the time they are older they are more closed minded to the idea of coding.
Digital Citizenship is something everyone has to be aware of. If you are doing anything online that has information from you are a digital citizenship. With that comes the responsibility to monitor what you are posting so you do not post something could potentially harm you later on in your life. By maybe preventing you from getting a job because an employer saw a tweet you made several years. During the Ted talk How one tweet can ruin your life | Jon Ronson, Ronson tells a story of one unfortunate individual that made a misunderstood tweet about getting AIDS in Africa. Not only did this individual get a huge volume of hate tweets meant to shame her. She also lost her job. This just shows how one can't be to careful or mindful on the internet.
The conversation does not just stop with twitter. During the documentary Sext Up Kids it goes over the struggles the kids being sexualized via the internet and on social media. The need to constantly feel sexy is a huge thing for kids. And it is starting to hit them younger and younger. This is dangerous given all the sexting now. And the younger the people are who partake in this the less mature they will be. This can lead to problems down the road again. Because what happens if someone sends a private image to someone and that image that you thought was going to be private gets out somehow. It can really hamper your chances of getting a job if your employer happens to see the images. The amount of shame that would also come with that has unfortunately proven to be unbearable for some as well. Leading to unfortunate circumstances like with Amanda Todd.
So what does this mean for us? Again to reiterate what was said. It is important for us to be mindful when posting something online, or even sending "private" things to someone. Because you never know what could happen in the moment you send something.
Another aspect of the online spectrum which I have not spent a lot of time thinking about is the concept of Digital Citizenship. There are 9 elements to Digital Citizenship:
All these aspects are going to become increasingly important as we continue to advance our use of technology in the classroom and just in general! Some people may not see the importance in teaching these various ideas yet which will make trying to teach this at younger grades a bit more difficult. However, the benefits are there. People need to know these relatively basic concepts so they don't do things like infringing on digital laws and get in trouble for something as simple as using a picture without asking for permission. Or attempting to monetize something that may have copyright claims on it.
You may be wondering how would we even incorporate something like this into a classroom? Well it is actually quite simple. Many subjects could be used to incorporate this. Social studies is a good example. Perhaps a more obvious choice would be some computer class. Again easily incorporated into that.
Reflect on your own digital identity as a teacher in light of today’s lecture.
Through the years that social media has gotten bigger and bigger and the expansion of the web. I have never really thought of my own digital identity. I always knew that ones digital identity was somewhat important considering all the warning my parents gave me growing up; making sure I don't put anything up on the web that I would regret later on in life. So I always kept that in mind when uploading pictures for example on facebook or instagram. I have never seriously looked myself up prior to this class. Never really saw the point in it. But today I did look myself up. To see if there was any horrifying pictures of me or interesting information.
Once I looked myself up I noticed that there are 40,300,000 results for Noah Smith on the internet. I wondered if I would be able to find any information about me at all on the internet. Since Noah is a very common first name and Smith is a very common surname I did not have that much hope.
There are some University professionals with the same name as me. One activist with a large twitter following (almost 70k followers). No murders that I found, no Noah Smith has done anything particularly shameful. But there was also no of me. It wasn't until I eventually refined my search that I was able to find my facebook.