Selfie, Youth, Society and Education

Dr. Joy Lopez and Dr.Browning Neddeau’s conversations on some educational projects in schools has made me go selfie friendly!The Marriam Webmaster’s Dictionary defines Selfie as an image that involves oneself (the person could be alone or he/she could part of a group) and is taken by oneself by using a digital camera for posting on social networks.(Merriam Webmaster.com, 2019). This definition is important to reflect on selfie in education. I think the given definition of selfie is not static. it is dynamic. And can be even expanded.Most of the time I have tried to take selfie alone or with others I was enraged against my phone and somehow against myself! “Gosh, this phone is out-fashioned. It takes bad selfies.”.. “Gosh, Selfie is hard to take, how one could take his/her own picture, holding a phone and looking at him/herself?” “Am I not becoming narcissist”! Gosh, Selfie is not good at all, it makes me a bad looking guy”! these reactions did not let selfie friendly before I listen to Browning initiative of making Selfie as a digital learning tool.

I think this occurred because I have not taken enough time to reflect on the importance of selfie in the modern learning. Today, I did not yet have an opportunity to read more on what Dr. Browning wrote in the chapters where he reflects on the usage of selfie in digital learning.

The present reflection resonates Browning’s idea by which selfies can help in digital learning. Still I think selfie has a larger implication larger than taking photos for oneself. Browning insights in using selfie in educational technology could be extend to using selfie in different aspects. It could be in the areas of political and social engagement, in medical research, for personal and social encounter. With political and social engagement, I think of youth engagement in social justice and ecology movements. For example, each involved youth could use selfie media to convey a message either by, taking a selfie and post it on Websites or on a social media. If every young person does such a selfie, I guess it would be a strong message to shake mind of political leaders in matters such as climate change politics and immigration issues. Selfie can also be used in medical field. Some diseases can be diagnosed as the patient take selfie with concerned organs and send them to doctors. This is already performed through medical apps as it is used in telemedicine.

Yet there is a need to have a certain ethics in ways in which selfie is used by youth. It is very risky taking selfie while driving or when one is standing in a dangerous zone such unprotected zoos or high altitudes without barriers. As I think of selfies as an educational tool, need is also to instruct youth the pros and cons of using selfies. These considered, the usefulness of selfie for youth need to be more explored. Selfies should not be limited to images. it is, an art to learn as Veleria Safranova recommends in The New York Times (Safranova, 2019). Selfie could be in different forms such sounds (audio selfie). It could be individual or collective. These considered, selfies could be digital tools that youth could use and be engaged with their lessons and society in a constructive and enjoyable pedagogy.

Reference:
– Dr. Browning Neddeau & Dr. Joy Lopez. Recorded Session. https://usfca.zoom.us/recording/play/VFA4H0jRnX_EO_T2h28GG8BlOkuVItvXH5YBnuDu5gn7UNrDg0AZlzGtOojvQut.
– Valerie Safranova, “How To Find Your Better Side and Take a Selfie” The New York Times, February, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/13/style/how-to-find-my-good-side.html.
– https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/selfie.

Websites

A. Jesuits

1. Discerning Leadership: a Jesuit contribution to the Church.Click here:
Discerning Leadership with Jesuits

2.Go to Flickr and find the Jesuits Global photo stream (type “Jesuits Global” in the search area for people) Click here.
Jesuits on Flicks

3. Resources for learning, change and growth
Click here:Jesuit Leadership

4. Jesuit activities worldwide and the Universal Apostolic Preferences.
Jesuit Global

5. Go to Twitter and find the page dedicated to the Jesuits (type “thejesuits” in the search area)
Click here: Jesuit Twitter

6. Go to Facebook and find the page dedicated to the Jesuits (type “TheJesuits” in the search area)
Click here: Jesuit Facebook Wordwide

7. Go to YouTube and find the Jesuits Global dedicated channel (type “Jesuits Global” in the search area)
Click here: Jesuits on Youtube

B. Youth & Ecology
Many young people in Africa are actively involved in safeguarding the planet earth.

Click here: Educating Youth for Ecology

C. Digital Privacy.

Learn from Experts how to use digital media and keeping privacy of the data.
Click here:
Digital Privacy

College Admissions Scandals: What Ought to be done?  

Accessing to quality education; benefiting from high knowledge from the best professors of the world: who would refuse it when means and opportunity allow? According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, providing education must be an undisputable duty of every politician, for all citizens aspire to knowledge (Aristotle, trans, 1989). Yet is it worth spending all possible means to justify that one has accessed to education? How to fairly and equitably access to knowledge? Are all kids welcome? Why could the kids from the well-off families study in a poor community college when there are ways to enter into Yale or Stanford? These are some of the questions that provokes me while watching the TV series “The American Greed- The College Admissions Scandal” – Question that preoccupy today’s generation, parents, and educational leaders. Money fix everything. This is our common saying! Yet does money suffice to make student a graduate of the university of his/her predilection? If not, what ought to be done to address the drama into play today? Who is losing, who is gaining amidst of this educational scandal? My short reflection may assess all arising questions. I would rather want to sum up them into two main questions: What are the illegal pathways which have been used, and what are the charges of the wrongdoers? How was the issue to solved?

Tacking this issue, the unusual way of admitting students to universities was done through the so-called: “The Key Worldwide Foundation,” by William Rick Singer. As reports American Greed: College Admissions Scandal (Keach S, 2019), the mastermind accumulated $ 25 millions, by asking $2,500 dollars from each client every year, a sum which helped to break through the gate of the best-known universities. At the first glance, the so-called foundation was viewed as a way of assisting underprivileged families. It was not so. Keach alleges that the foundation was gaining from the well-off families. By requesting a great deal of money from elite parents, Rick Singer succeeded to get admissions of a number of students in the elite universities such as Georgetown University, Yale and Stanford, among others. When a number of universities in the U.S would seek athletic students, Rick Singer bribed university recruiters to consider non-athletic students as athletes. It works today. Through graphic design, one could easily be designed as a pro-swimmer while he/she has never even stepped in pool’s washrooms! The issue was all about using big donations as bribery.  In a state of desperation, searching for quality education for their kids, rich parents including movies star such as has Felicity Huffman, found themselves inside the trap. One would rightly observe these parents have been cooperators in this affair, and the large system of universities did not resist such a temptation.

The fraudulent admissions of some U.S universities could be seen as mirroring social imbalances, a disconnect between students from privileged and underprivileged families. In keeping with what Aristotle proposes as regards to public education, its ethics and politics (Aristotle, trans, 1989), I would underline that:

– All students should be given equal access to quality education, not by the amount of money they provide, but their knowledge, their skills, their competence.

– Legislators should put fair mechanisms and procedures that assist all parents and students to that aim.

– The root cause of the problem could be viewed in a society which put money at the center of education. Money is crucial for our flourishing but it should not be a solution for everything. As long as bribery will infiltrate education, the whole system will lose its power and influence.

-The judiciary should make further investigations to prosecute the wrongdoers. Need also is to differ with educational injustices by talking about it.

– Last but not least, comprehensive reforms in universities are required: that give an inclusive education, knowledge and skills based, not money oriented.

 

As I look at the magnitude of the issue, the aforementioned propositions may not be enough to solve the problem. What do you think parents and political leaders must do so that the current generation equally and justly access to universities of their dream?

 

Reference

CNBC “The American Greed, The College Admission Scandal”https://www.cnbc.com/american-greed/

Barnes, Jonathan, ed. The Complete Works of Aristotle. Rev. ed. Translation, Princeton: Princeton University, Press, 1989.

 

Digital Leadership

Virtual Technology: A Double-Edged Sword in Schools

As I investigated my digital footprint, I realized how much I have been using social media and other times let myself be used by them. There are a number of social networks I have used to mention here: Facebook, Instagram,  and Whatsup. What I am going to say sound like a confession or an invitation. I personally got to know that most of the times, while using social networks, I have often confused what is meant to be my private life and what it has to be public life. I got to better understand that digital technologies represent a tremendous resource, but it does not replace human beings. The temptation for us students today is to think that we can get everything from internet and get rid of classes, from teachers. I think this cannot work. Internet is not self-made, it is rather made by human beings, by professors, by students, by many people around the world.

The first reason, I think so is that, on the internet, we find things which are authentic, but we find others which are unauthentic and disastrous for learning.  We can find many grammatical errors, conspiracy  and unfair theories or wrong ones.

The second reason is that digital learning, helpful it is, it does not replace direct contact with people. Allow me to explain myself. As one is in a direct contact with a professor, there is verbal and non-verbal communications, there exchange of gestures, there is intonation, there is an expression of face which may not be felt with virtual contact. I think has a power to mobilize a learner and stimulate curiosity for the search of knowledge.

Despite a number of lacunas highlighted, internet has advantages to be considered. It is an open space where knowledge could collectively be found and elaborated. As I search a meaning of this or that word on internet, I get many suggestions. I guess these suggestions came from different contributors. It is not an easy task to know which is the best to stay with. To me this is positive. It engages my acquired knowledge and my capacity to discern the false from the wrong.

Thus young learners can find the benefits of internet by making it a creative space. For instance, there are a number of young students who have got talents to learn and express themselves through images. Most of the time these students do not find a prosperous space to express their talents. Internet could be that space. These students could be helped to construct such media industries, and this could become a space for their esteem and growth. Schools could reinforce mutual exchanges in that realm of virtual imageries produced by their own students.

As they use the benefits of digital technologies, young learners need to differentiate the public from the private.  In today’s era of social media and internet in general, youth are growing with an environment where what is public and private are confused, – confused by different media, by T.V shows, social, by some magazines, many things going on in our society. We become sons and daughters of our time.  It is important for youth to know today that nothing could be done with our digital contact on internet and stay private. Would I be wrong to day that everything we put on our internet is public!  For instance, the blog I’m creating now, it is no longer my personal property. It is public.

The reflection elaborated above could sound somehow moralistic. It is not my intention. I may call it one of today’s disturbing realities. And I share with youth the same reality in the world of digital media. With these in mind, I came up with a number of resolutions:

First, I have come to understand, first, that I have come to understand that not everybody has good intentions as regards to the information shared on social media. There is a need to have a positive hermeneutic of suspicion and keep some information absolutely confidential. One is not supposed to reveal too much information as regards to his or her private life on internet. It would be today unwise to share information and photo to everyone.

Second, It is needed to take a time to put order and take control of one’s profile and its related files. That would hopefully prevent maleficent searches or posts. It is important restrict unwanted entrance our contacts.  For instance, I got to know that there are functions to make my social media private or public, to select friends, or even to block a person.

Third, It is important to know to whom I communicate. I may be communication to a close friend, to acquaintances, to my family, to my classmates. Before I post something, I need to whom I want to show this or that photo or communicate this information.

Fourth, I got to understand that it is need to security on the social media I use. I have to secure my profiles, by creating strong passwords.

Fifth, I need to take control of my presence on the internet. I have not stay connected when I’m not using internet, to click “Logout”.

Sixth, we find in the digital media what we put into it. Not everybody has good intentions as regards to the information shared on social media. There is  thus a need to have a positive hermeneutic of suspicion and keep some information absolutely confidential. One is not supposed to reveal too much information as regards to his or her private life on internet. It would be today unwise to share information and photo to everyone.

To conclude, as a rwandan proverb says, “an uncovered stone would no longer damage a garden hoe.” The downside of digital technology could be addressed, and upside of digital technology need to be upgraded. In keeping with Narendra Modi, I dream of a digital world “where quality education reaches the most inaccessible corners driven by digital technology.”

References

 

 

 

Digital Equity

Bridging the Gaps in  Digital Divide 

In the recent Ted Talks, Ramesh Srinivasan alludes on the inequities entrenched in digital technologies. He adds that between two and three millions of people are today using mobiles phones, and most of these phones have access to internet connections. Arne Holst (2019) estimates around three hundred millions of computers sold around the world from 2006-2018. These statistics show a promising future of a more digital world . Yet, the digital divide and inequity run the risks to become bigger and bigger if no sound approaches are taken.In the present post, looking at that status quo of the digital divide, in the lens of a professional educator, I would like to underline three pregnant issues in the area digital equity.  I explain why the three are most significant and  propose possible solutions—especially solutions that you can help in implementing to mitigating the situation.

1. Disparities between genders. Dr. Joy, a professor Digital Leadership, rightly  points at some courses which have become as a reserve for male students, she reminds us some scenarios when one enters a class of Robotic and cries out  “it smells like boys”! I agree with her. This example applies to learning digital technologies. There is a disconnect between male and female learners/users in the area of digital technologies. And this become manifest on technology job market. It is for instance hard to find females who running a Cybercafé, females who are technology oriented technicians, females who have created Apps. I think this is related to some education policies which have for many years conceived some courses as a reserve for male learners. For instance, in my secondary school in Rwanda, when I was finishing school, my school had only two females out of 25 male students in the department of school science and technology. One female student got a scholarship to pursue technology at the university level. This quandary could be addressed by dismantling taboos that women are not made for science and technologies. Female students have to be given opportunities to learn technologies in schools and get access to higher scholarships.

2. Imbalance of robust infrastructure. I see this disparity in the context of the sub-Saharan Africa and in Global South in general. While more than 90% of students could be found in rural areas, most of rural schools are not equipped with internet-connected computers. The few computers available are either connected to unstable internet rooters which could hardly serve for learning purposes: One may hardly download a pdf document or watch a Youtube talk. The remaining 10% of students who are in the urban areas could easily access digital technologies, yet their school are not equitably supplied with computer facilities. I was recently alarmed while talking to one the students in Rwanda. He wanted to apply to Kigali University. I checking on the internet whether the university has an online registration service. What I luckily found. I told him that he can actually apply online. The young man replied that he cannot get an internet connection from his residence. He was obliged to go near administrative offices, where he can get an affordable and accessible educational technologies.

To respond to this imbalance, there is a need for governments to expand broadband connections not only for administrative services but also for state and private education. Education is a human right. What make that very education available such as digital technologies should thus be a right to be rendered to each and all citizens. The more digital tools are made available to a given place, the more people will be taught and get to learn technologies. To attain many people, educational technologies have to be made available to the most possible learners, especially the less-privileged families and communities.

3. A deep breach in the usage of the benefits of digital technology. I suspect digital technologists did not conceive Google and its various functions for unhealthy usages. I am tempted to think that the inventors of Social media such as Facebook, Whatsup, Instagram, Snaptchat and others sought to help people  socialize, communicate, to deal with this  rapidly growing and moving world. The question is how one should use social media and other digital tools. Should they be used for whatever ends? For a passive consumption? The tendency is to enter into this digital world, and enjoy its the flow of information, consuming them passively, without contributing into it.

When I look at the context of Global South, there is significant percentage of people who have smartphones, internet connected computers iPads, etc. But how are these gadgets being used? When in the Global North technologies are being applied in commerce, in medicine, in transportation, in education and research, millions of people in the Global South possess digital gadgets to use two or three Apps: emails, and calling! Androids and phones are bought at a higher price, yet to be used for calling and picking up calls, for messaging, for downloading movies published on Youtube channels. When students could access their syllabus through their phones and iPads, many universities in the Global South are still lagging behind digital learning.

This predicament could be overcome by an extensive educational technology. It includes training technologists in different areas, cultivating into young people a healthy and innovative usage of technologies, such as creating websites for publications, creating Apps, it calls also all learning and administrative centers, schools and offices, to offer services and products facilitated by technologies. In keeping with National Educational Technology Program, 2017 (11) “There is a need to train student to a digital citizenship curriculum for students technology standards, from the international society for technology in education.

Reflecting on EdTech: Navigating the Divide

Building a Professional Network.The question of building a professional network is in order. For me to become a professional in the digital world, different things are required. I would mention some features. First, I need a robust technological tool such as a connected computer and laptop. Internet has nowadays become a necessary commodity at any time. We unceasingly consume it as water and air.  It becomes frustrating when one is placed where there is no Wifi connection. For some viewers, especially in Global North, what I’m expressing may sound incredible, but in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is a common experience. Second, as a professional learner, I need to be frequently accessing internet, updating myself and in many cases sharing with other some information. Third, knowledge and skills. I need essential skills of digital technologies that allow an efficient and productive use of technologies, for my personal development and for the flourishing of the larger community. Fourth, I need time and space. Becoming a professional learner and instructor requires substantial time and space. The fact of dedicating time, and accessing to physical and virtual milieux which can empower and enhance the carrier. Fifth, I need money. Investing in the digital world is not a cheap affair. Professional digital gadgets cost a great deal. One cannot enter the digital world with empty pocket. Looking for Help from a Professional Community. I need experience and knowledge from a professional community to assist me answering the needs of the post-modern society. My view of a professional community goes to my instructors in my program of educational technology. I am looking for transformative experiences and insights, guidance, pathways, impactful readings. My professional community involves also e-learning resources found on LinkedIn. These can also be a resource for building my digital professionalism.

My Contribution Is in Order. I would describe it with three points: First, creativity. Motivation to come in this area of digital technology is required as it fuels one to be creative in different ways, such as writing, designing, analysing, conceiving forms and platforms for learning and disseminating knowledge. There are plenty of things to educate and communicate, but most of the time people lack good ways to deliver them. I envision to give my personal contribution through digital innovations and creativity. It may be in the forms of digital platforms such as websites, blogs. This can be through class presentations, brochures, data analysis, web-designs, and it requires training further trainers to integrate digital technologies our educational paradigms. It could be also through project proposals for schools to integrate educational technologies in their conventional education systems. Where Do I Belong Now? So far I belong to many educational communities. The biggest online community is the Jesuits (The Society of Jesus). Jesuits have been for 5 centuries in education. I believe that digital classrooms can help Jesuits educate many people, especially the under- privileged. Jesuits count around 15,000 men across the world. We stay in constant exchange of information, through emails, blogs and websites. Such a multinational community highly rely on the digital world for exchanges of information and leadership. I belong also to many communities which considers the issue of climate change. One of them is Catholic Youth for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (https://cynesa.org). Most of the time we interact through skype, video calls, Instagram and Whatsup. We regularly get to meet them during international conferences. Another educational community where I belong is St. Ignatius High Schools in Rwanda-Burundi as one can whatch on these attached links: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZPj-sM3BqE)/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30zNuLXLUBw. furthermore, I follow the development of our educational projects through Twitter and Facebook and websites. Our school shave a website where we can get information. Our young students are thrilled to learn digital technologies, applied sciences, social sciences, yet they do not find well-trained instructors, or have access to adequate infrastructures. And that divide create a big gap between students who study in a technology equipped schools and students studying in schools deprived with educational technologies. There is a need to address that divide, and I believe many youth around the world could gain main skills by investing themselves into the digital learning.

The Spirit

As a lost but now found

I was downstairs

You took me upstair

not to make me a millionaire

not to become an extraordinaire

 

Every memory of your being wakes up

Each of your envoys came to pick me up

purifying the bad what is not mine

your light touched to my eyes

opening my shut-eyes

You called me come to life

For you want each of us to be oneself

You gained me to recover my real self

As you son who was getting away

As you beloved seen far away

San Francisco

The abode of coolness and warmth

The spectrum in which all colors radiate

Where day and night mingle

The embrace of Pacific waters and stubborn skies

The harbor of sea lions and sharks

 

Ever shining, hidden from the nights

Undying light of Human Rights

The spring of the United Nations

The paradise of diverged nations

A conservatory of diversity and inclusion

 

 

 

 

Amidst Golden gate bridge onto the west

San Rafael and Oakland bridge onto the east

Conceived at the bosom of Bay area

The arena of sightseers over sears

 

A city that shines more than a crystal

A city that speaks louder than senators

A city, mastermind of others

A metropole of East and West

The test of the past, the hope of the present