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The number one benefit of educational technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential. – Steve Ballmer
A thousand years ago, books were accessible to a select few. Often, you needed to be part of a certain social class, ethnicity, and profession. Knowledge was not available to the majority of the world. I feel incredibly blessed to live at a time when technological developments continue to strive to provide access to the entire world. The most powerful learning and communication tools are in the hands of millions worldwide. Individuals can take classes from MIT professors or connect with the greatest minds, like Neil Degrasse Tyson, through social media.
In addition to having access to incredible learning, we have the potential to impact the world through social media. Each tweet, Instagram image, Vine/Youtube video, and status update has the potential to go viral. It will be shared. It will spread. If our messages and digital behavior have an audience, then we need to make them matter. What will our students do with this potential? We need to get our students to realize their byte-size potential and feel the weight of this potential. They need to realize the responsibilities that come with their digital actions and also realize they are privileged to live in a world of access where they can truly pursue their passions and make a meaningful impact.
What are learners currently doing with their access?
Anyone, anywhere in the world has the potential to be viral. They can be the next Idol, X-Factor, Youtuber, Viner, Meme, gif, trend, or hashtag. Kids and teens already use their access to impact millions with the messages they spread. They have the power to incite their followers to action. For example, the most popular Viner is 16 year-old, Nash Grier, with over 7 million followers.
The education system has failed them. Even now as they craft their next 6-second video, tweet, snap, post, status update, hashtag, and meme they won’t carry the weight or compassion of their privilege and position to be the first generation able to create viral action and messages. The movements they incite have the potential to heal, inspire, or destroy people. We will feel this as another cyberbullying incident or sexting scandal arises. Teachers have the ability to change these behaviors by teaching citizenship daily. We can inspire our students daily to publish, post, and spread in meaningful ways.
Join my movement with these free resources
I realize many teachers face barriers when teaching citizenship. They may not be allowed to teach with technology, have proper training, lack a digital literacy and citizenship curriculum, and be short on time. My goal this year is to help teachers inspire their learners to make their digital behavior matter. Currently, I am working on a book with 50 ways to get our students to spread compassion, caring, and kindness on the web. The book is based on Ed Lorenz’s Butterfly Effect and also my 30 Goals Challenge for Educators experience. Right now I’m sharing these ideas in various ways. Find them in my recent Reinvent the Classroom Keynote: Byte-Size Potential. Below are the slides to download and a Youtube video of the keynote. You can also access the recent Twitter Chat transcript for the #Edtechchat I hosted, which is full of resources from over 400 teachers. I also have created a new category on this blog, Byte-sized Potential, full of ideas on how to get our students using their access responsibly. You will find free digital citizenship and literacy resources as well as ideas like teaching with Vine, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Will you join me this year in getting our students to help spread compassion and citizenship?
Video Recording of the Keynote
cross posted at teacherrebootcamp.com
Shelly Terrell is an education consultant, technology trainer, and author. Read more at teacherrebootcamp.com.