Youth and Facebook

March 20, 2009 at 3:34 pm (Technology in the classroom) (, )

As a teacher, I feel that it is my job to encourage students to become active citizens in our society. I will use my class to promote civic engagement and social justice to teach the youth of our future to be politically, culturally, and publicly aware of what is going on in our world.  These days, with the Internet and all the different media, there are so many outlets for students to use to talk about how they feel and what they want to change. According to the article, the author discusses the popularity of participatory media, but the lack of social engagement from these same teens.  How are we, as teachers, supposed to promote using media to encourage social justice?


Right now, teens are using participatory media prevalently. Participatory media is defined as media such as blogs, wikis, social networking, podcasts, digital self-portraits,  mashups, video blogs, etc. These media are unique because they are often public on the Internet, and can be shared by many users. In addition, participatory media has the characteristic of uniting and relying on users. Participatory media is important because it allows children to express their ideas using an outlet that can be shared with their peers and youth all around the world.  It enables teens to connect with other users and share their ideas. Participatory media should be used as means to promote social change due to its large repertoire of users.


So this raises the question: How do we teach teens and youth to use media to be proactive and promote social justice? I think that once we implement so much meaning and weight to something, it automatically turns kids off. In other words, once we make blogging and writing wikis assignments, it takes away from the freedom and looseness that is commonly associated with these participatory media. Once students feel the pressure to produce something that needs to be something in content, they might be discouraged and unmotivated.  I think that it is crucial to encourage students to be critical thinkers, however allow them to do it on their own time and conditions.

Throughout the years, the youth have been mega influential when it comes to changing things and raising awareness. If we look at the recent elections in the U.S. and the effects of the hype and propaganda that was create by the younger generations, we can see how significant youth influence is. Now, we have to learn how to make these same kids channel their influence and power in a positive and monumental way. The kids need to stand up for what they believe in and we have to make them passionate about more than just or Britney Spears’ latest debauchery. Using the youth power through media to spread positive messages about social justice is the ideal way to use participatory media. Now it is up to us as teachers to make them passionate about and politically aware!



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Chomsky’s the Cheese.

February 6, 2009 at 8:00 pm (Reading Response Blogs) (, )

Noam ChomskyIn my three years of Education at McGill, these two readings may have been the most interesting and insightful readings I’ve done. Any student who has done their Bachelor of Education at McGill has read or heard of Noam Chomsky and his anarchist-ish theories on politics. Not only is he a genius in the field of linguistics, he is also very involved in social justice and world politics. To be quite honest, I think Mr. Chomsky is the cheese. His theories in linguistics and his leftist political stands are enlightening in a time where saying what he often says is oh-so taboo.

So now that I have finished my biased appraisal of Noam Chomsky, I will start off by discussing how I feel about the readings from Chapter 7. Although this chapter was short, I felt as though I learned so much from it. Each sentence was more interesting and informative than the last. I felt so involved and in touch with the readings, I even had to stop and call my father to discuss a particular passage from the readings. After having read about the American involvement in the Lebanese Civil War, it struck a cord. I had always heard from my father the details about the war, but I had never suspected such huge American involvement. My dad and I had a good chat about what happened in Lebanon during those years and the American involvement in other wars. It’s no secret that the latest war in Iraq was backed with an economic and imperial agenda; however, I hadn’t known the extent in other wars. The article informed me of the strong U.S. pull to convince the world that the Arabs were/are public enemy #1 not only this time around, but almost 20 years ago as well. The issues discussed are so real and relevant; it felt wonderful to be reading about this for a class.


Dr.Kincheloe’s article in chapter 6 was also incredibly motivating. His discussion about the U.S’ motivations in all the wars was fascinating to learn about. I was shocked to read about the American involvement in South America and the consequences stemming from these actions. This article made me reflect on the American trend. Every few decades there’s a new country to hate and to be afraid of. The Americans use media to infuse fear and hatred towards other countries, depending of the political gain. Starting after the civil rights movement, being Japanese was the new Black. Then being Russian, was the new Japanese. And now, being an Arab is exactly what you do not want to be. Regardless of your religion, of your ethnicity, or of your political view, if you enjoy hummus, you are a terrorist and the devil. Which is precisely what the American government wanted pre-911.

These articles make me wonder about the present American state. Although I am a huge Obama supporter, I can’t help but think about Kincheloe’s imperial puzzle. Now that Obama is in power and that the neo-conservatism is out, eventually the American “imperial mentality” will die. Will the new government need to re-establish this mentality at some point? I’m not sure if I’m making any sense, but I will leave it at that for now.

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