Journal Entry #1 How Social Media Can Make History

Clay Shirky discusses the transformed media landscape, saying that if you want to get information or a message out to anywhere in the world you can do it now through our shiny new tools.  However, he goes on to say that it is not when the shiny new tools shows up that we can take advantage of it and get messages out – it is when everyone has access to these shiny new tools.  He goes on to give examples of this through a disaster of an earthquake in China and how fast this news got out through technology because most of the world now has these shiny new tools.

What I thought about right away is the fact that I cannot take for granted that the students I deal with have these shiny new tools or are connected electronically.  Although most of our homes here in North America seem to have at least one computer in the home, and most times more than one, this is not the case with people who live on First Nation reserves.  Poverty prevents them from being connected in this way – electronically.

I travel to Aboriginal communities all over British Columbia to encourage education by talking to band members about education, completing academic assessments, and helping the members make plans on how to achieve their goals and dreams.  When preparing the students to write the math and English assessments I often talk about resources they can find on the internet such as “Math is Fun” which gives step by step instructions on how to do a variety of math equations and concepts.  Many times I find the students responding with the fact that they do not have access to the internet.  The other issue I have found when trying to communicate with the learners after I leave their communities is that even if they provide me with an email address I cannot count on them getting my emails in a timely manner.  The reason is because they do not have computers in their own homes so they have to check their emails when they can get to the band office where there may be a computer they can use.

Knowing that some students may and some may not have access to a computer I still share the internet resources, but I also go over what I want them to learn from these resources as much as possible.  When communicating with these learners after I leave I still use the old snail mail and the telephone.  I know that my communications will get to them through these old but reliable modes of communication.

I’m hoping the future will be economically better and brighter for this group of people as I feel they are missing out on a wealth of useful information and social connectivity.  As my husband and I felt left behind when our children all had access to “Face Time” through their Iphones and Ipads I’m sure the Aboriginal communities are feeling like they have been left behind as well in not having access to the internet.  I’m hoping that the people living in Aboriginal Communities will soon be able to take this connectivity for granted like most of the rest of the world.


Clay Sharky: How Social Media Can Make History

Filmed Jun 2009 • Posted Jun 2009 • TED@State’

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