This is our third podcast on the theme of power, and when you think about both the good and the bad aspects of technology and the Internet and social media over the last decade, it’s hard not to conclude that like it or not, the individual has much more power in her hands today than ever before. We have unprecedented power to connect, to communicate, to create and to publish, and the reality is that many of our young adults and even younger children are beginning to take advantage of that in powerful ways for both good and bad. Look no further than the ways in which students at Stoneman Douglas have used technology to create a movement around gun control, or how Greta Thunburg has amassed millions of followers from around the world to take on climate change. There’s no question that the potential of these technologies to empower every one of us to make change happen in the world is amazing. And it changes the way we think about power and success in the world today.
And that potential is an important context for the work we do in schools, right? It begs all sorts of questions about our responsibilities as educators in this moment in terms of how we should be preparing kids to use their newfound power well. Or about the literacies that we ourselves have to exhibit to help students understand these opportunities at a deep level. Or about the stories that we tell students about what a “successful” path forward looks like today.
Which is why I reached out to Dr. Craig Watkins to be my guest in this weeks podcast. Craig is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas in Austin, and he’s the author of five books that explore young people’s engagement with media and technology. He works with the Connected Learning Research Network, and is the founding director of the Institute for Media Innovation in the Moody college of Communication.
In this discussion we cover the changing nature of power in the world, how technologies are impacting the way we learn and interact with the world, how the concept of work is quickly changing, and much, much more. I think you’re going to enjoy it.