Using Social Media in Education to Effect Positive Global Change

02 Feb
Using Social Media in Education to Effect Positive Global Change

There is no doubt we now live in challenging times on Planet Earth.  Our burgeoning human population is seven billion and rising.  Resources are diminishing and our iconic species are disappearing at an exponential rate. We do not have to stand by and watch our beautiful planet destroyed and trashed.  In addition to reducing our own environmental footprint and teaching our students to do the same, we now have the power of social media at our fingertips to help raise awareness of important issues right around the world.  This beautiful image appearing in the Arctic Ice before the Sea Shepherd has become a powerful symbol and rallying flag for the cause of our wonderful marine mammals:


When environmental disasters occur and there are social uprisings of oppressed peoples of the world, no longer do we have to rely on mainstream media, which are often in the pocket of powerful political interests.

We now have Twitter, which in my view is one of the most powerful tools for social change and raising global awareness we have ever had!  Through my own proactive participation on Twitter, I have been able to take part in positive social movements for change in unison with those of like mind.  

One of my most passionate concerns is for our increasingly fragile ecosystem.  Through Twitter I have witnessed the power of the people to shine a light on ecocide and to pressure governments and organisations to change destructive practices.  WE are able to connect with those of like mind and have the power to directly contact news providers and celebrities who have great power and massive followings.  Twitter is an immediate real time global conversation.

Just recently the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, and the captivity of highly sentient orcas in marine parks has triggered global outrage.  Twitter is playing an enormous part in bringing the plight of these wonderful creatures to the attention of the people of the world.  Groups have been able to organize and participate in a new phenomenon known as Tweetstorms, where many people act in union to make a topic trend around the world. For example the topic #tweet4taiji trended around the world for several days, and resulted in worldwide mainstream media coverage. We all have power when united on social media.  Every individual counts.

OUR students will inherit many difficult political, social and environmental problems, the severity of which we can only imagine.  We are truly derelict in our duty if we fail to empower our students to raise their own voices in the fight for our precious planet and the generations to come.  I intend to initiate a project involving my students researching, debating, creating digital projects and then using Twitter to raise awareness about the shark cull my own government has embarked on in Western Australia.  Using Twitter will enable my students to not only access an authentic global audience, but also to effect real change.  Other schools will also be doing similar projects.

Images and symbols are important in global Twitter campaigns and give students and people a strong focus.  Twitpic can be used to add images to our posts and we can also add links to youtube videos, online flyers, Thinglinks, Padlets and other digital media created by students.  Platforms like TweetDeck and HootSuite enable users to organise their twitter stream into topics and schedule their messages.  We need to teach our students how to use these features.

Never has a generation needed a voice more than now.  We are on the cusp of a major paradigm shift in the way we as humans view and treat our fellow creatures and our environment.  Our students need to become the stewards of the earth not it’s conquerors or exploiters.

===> WE need to teach them how to use social media like twitter safely, responsibly and powerfully to help protect and nurture our planet. <===


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