How to empower students to use technology to positively impact the world and exercise empathy?

One of our biggest challenges will be to provide accessibility to technology for all students including lower income students who are at most risk

Going into the future we will face three huge challenges as rightly stated by the research paper Confronting the Challenges of Participatory CultureĀ .

One of them is equal accessibility across the the board for all socio-economic levels in the USA. These are concerns of a developed country but imagine, the concerns of a developing country that cannot even begin to bridge the gaps between higher income brackets and lower income groups. These countries such as Pakistan, have a slim middle class group of students who are also disadvantaged. Thus the education gaps will increase.

How do students learn to recognize how media shapes their perceptions of the world and that it may be a biased view of the world depending on the perspective.

This is the second challenge that we will face as digital media does not replace the need to think critically, find evidence to support one’s claim, be able to research, recognize different perspectives and how it shapes what we hear, see and learn etc.

How do we train students to use the internet ethically?

The third issue is to use the internet ethically, to make the world a better place and to make a positive change. In this regards, the TedX talks by Greta Thumberg makes one think of the inability of the world to not take action. When all we do is ‘hope’ which is the same a coffee table talk about politics where we vent our views, argue and agree YET we take NO ACTION. Action is what is needed when we talk about climate change.

Similarly, ACTION is what is needed to make sure that we are able to provide first, equal access to technology for everyone, second, educate students how media can manipulate or educate and last, and third, to ensure we use digital media for positive change.

We need to rethink our AUP (Acceptable Use Policies) in school to not restrict but steer or show students how to use the internet for just extracurricular use to curricular use. Scott McLeod recounts countless examples of youth who have challenged themselves and used the internet for doing good.

5 thoughts on “How to empower students to use technology to positively impact the world and exercise empathy?

  1. I really like your post and that you have addressed the concerns of a developing country, who seldom get the spotlight when it comes to research papers. Having taught in Cambodia, where the gap between the haves and have nots is huge. Although smartphones are cheaper and in turn much more accessible, the education in media literacy is simply not there and it is those who are less fortunate than us that are the most vulnerable and need protecting.

    Reading down through your post makes me think about the need for not just a school AUP, but a societal one as well. A bold statement, but it makes for an interesting talking point, and as I mentioned in a previous blog post some governments are taking action against the spread of fake news, but I am afraid of where this path might lead us.

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