Leveraging Edtech for Social Good
The nature of edtech is such that its uses in STEM fields seem rather obvious. It takes perhaps a bit more thinking to see how to leverage edtech for social good. But wise teachers realize that it is worth the effort to ensure that their students view edtech not just as something that will enhance their own career prospects, but also as a platform that they can use to improve the world. Here are four suggestions for using edtech to change the world:
First, epals is a website that can be used to connect your classroom to other classes around the globe. Virtually any activity that engages a classroom with another one in radically different circumstances will lay the foundation for the global mindset that students will need to work for social good. But certain projects designed specifically to expose students to struggles faced by others will do even more to open their eyes to global disparities. For example, a class that learns that their epals can’t gather for a political demonstration or don’t have reliable electricity will learn a valuable lesson.
Second, students can use digital communication in order to advocate for social justice in their own communities. Whether they use Google Slides to develop a presentation for their city council or they record the next viral YouTube video to advocate for cleaner water, creative students and teachers have a nearly infinite variety of options when it comes to using edtech to advance their chosen cause.
Third, students can stay aware of current events and creatively respond to them using edtech tools. Whether it is the Arab Spring or the #MeToo movement, most modern movements have a significant social media component, and students will need to learn how to not only become aware of the world around them but also how to critically evaluate information that they find online. One of the key tasks of digital citizenship is the ability to assess digital information—since no one else vets it except the consumer.
Fourth, tech-savvy teachers can help students engage with apps designed to promote social welfare. Whether it is an app that marks businesses with pro-social policies or an app that helps users recycle, teachers can plug students into apps that reflect the students’ interests and concerns. And, if the app for the students’ concern doesn’t yet exist, teachers can help students develop it. While it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the variety of tech tools that exist, we can’t lose sight of what amazing opportunities are available to leverage tech to do good in the world.