Technology and social justice
This week debate was about “Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice.” Yes or No?
Jacquie and Amanda took the pro side and Ramsell took the counter side.
First of all, what is meant by social justice?
“Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities” as SDF (2016) represents it.
According to Marx (2019) technology can enhance the user’s identity which results in a more equitable society. The significant role of technology in making schooling available for everyone is non-negligible. The marginalized individuals can take advantage of such formal education. They can be international migrants, women with children and domestic obligations, and people living in rural and remote areas. However, informal education can take place daily by means of mobile phones and computers.
Maiese and Burgess (2003) identify four types of justice: distributive (determining who gets what), procedural (determining how fairly people are treated), retributive (based on punishment for wrong-doing) and restorative (which tries to restore relationships to “rightness.”). Social media can affect all these four.
This kind of literacy can be assigned as a duty to school divisions. As I read in an article, there are two levels that school can target promoting social justice. First, the higher level is the administrative one which is about setting policies to guarantee the equitable distribution of resources and treatment to all students. The other level is the classroom one, through which schools “can be inclusive in their teaching and engage students by teaching multiple perspectives on issues, helping them understand their place in the larger community, and incorporating their lived experiences into the curricula.”
Therefore, Blake (2023) discusses, the task of educators is not only teaching learners academic issues but also make them critical thinkers and lead them to feel so safe to share their ideas and thoughts despite disagreements and oppositions; so that they can bring positive changes and create a better society. So, educators can act as models to literate their learners regarding social media skills and online campaigns to be social activists rather than neutral individuals. Educators can share their own ideas and experiences online to make their learners more courageous and powerful. Although it may foreclose their privacy and lead to more discussions, this is the demanding job of teaching.
Some social justice movements invoked by social media
Lots of protests and changes were not aroused by the traditional posters and word of mouth but by technology and online activities. In September 2022, a revolutionary movement started in Iran, called woman, life, freedom, which was mainly due to the publications and announcements in social networks such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. This Ted Talk describes in details the reasons behind this social movement.
In that movement, teenagers and young people played a key role which emphasizes the online social literacy even more. The following video, published on March, 8 th (International women’s day), is showing a kind of Iranian teenage girls’ social protest spread in social media. They ask for social justice and women’s rights which are banned by their regime.
Moreover, Scherman and Rivera (2021) refer to the social movement of youngsters in Chile who did not even have a social leader as the result of social media and technology. Two main hypothesis form this article: Individuals who use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Whats App are more likely to participate in protests than those who do not use them and that individuals who use social media for political goals are more likely to participate in protests than those who use social media for other purposes. Do you agree with these assumptions?
Which other movements in your region or country owe a big deal to social platforms?
Although I believe teachers don’t necessarily have a responsibility to use social media to promote social justice I have seen many examples in my community where social has supported important movements including the Black Lives Matter protests. The use of social media in instances like this is definitely positive. Another example was the freedom convoy which in my personal opinion was not such a positive use of these platforms. In many instances social media is used to promote issues that conflict with my view of social justice.