As we get started on Week 5 here’s a quick run through of what you should have done so far:

  • Four blog posts
  • Four comments (comment as much as you like but you only need to add four of them to your grade sheet)
  • Connected with someone else from our cohort to partner up for your final project (please email me if you haven’t done this so that I can help you out!)

Create opportunities for Change Using Social Media

This week we focus on the power of the digital tools that we have at our fingertips as we unpack the essential question of what makes the web so powerful? and work toward the understanding that there are communication tools that exist today that are powerful mediums to help spread positive change and global awareness. We have spent the last few weeks writing about some of the dangers of the internet so I think that it’s a nice time to revisit Jennifer’s post on “Digital Citizenship in Action” and our Digital Footprints to help us step away from the DO NOTs. In her post, Jennifer invites us to read Kristen Mattson’s book Digital Citizenship in Action which she says includes some great advice on how to avoid teaching students to be fearful of the internet, and instead, it suggests ways to take positive action using the internet. There is a great expert from the book on the site which could be a great addition to your reading for this week (or buy and read the whole book!) This excerpt makes a strong connection between Digital Citizenship and learning to be a member of a society and the featured activity looks to be an excellent middle or high school lesson on social activism. I’m not going to share the Saturday Night Live video (from the featured lesson) as I can’t handle the irony of C.K. Louis involvement in this video and his participation in the #metoo campaign – but I do love the idea of chatting with students about slacktivism.

The Hashtag

When I think about social media and its impact on society I think about the power of the hashtag and how it can define a movement or characterize a community. (Actually, I just discovered that Hashtag Activism is a term that is used enough to warrant its own Wikipedia page). From #blacklivesmatter to #maga to #metoo, social media can give a voice to anyone and everyone and can be used to empower members of our communities. How can we encourage our students to engage with community movements or, even better, start their own? Does your school set aside a hashtag for service learning projects? Do you have examples of students using social media to create a movement? The article “Social Media as a Formidable Force for Change” highlights some of the most powerful and moving hashtags and the author states that

One of the most powerful aspects of social media is that it provides an environment and a medium for people to express themselves independently, and yet find community. This “hashtag unity,” to coin a term, is as real and as powerful as a group of people physically gathered in the same space. It can educate, heal and provoke change by sheer strength of vocal numbers.

I’m excited to read your examples of the internet creating positive and powerful change in your classrooms, communities, schools, and the world!

Featured image from Unsplash by