I learned an important lesson from the Kony 2012 viral video. I learned that I’m not always critical of information I get from Social Media. If I’m not critical it’s likely that my students aren’t either. So I used this lesson as a teachable moment for my grade 8s.
On the Friday before March break the students are antsy. So instead of a math lesson, we had a media lesson. A fun and engaging one.
I showed them the Kony video (about 1/4 had already viewed it). Their reactions were what you would expect: horror, outrage, a desire to help. We had a discussion about the issue, what Kony was doing, what a bad guy he is. Then I filled them in on what little I know of the issue, with an emphasis on how little I know and how unqualified I am to comment. I showed them my blog post on Urban Moms. We discussed how I shared the video before I read any of the other information out there. I told them I regretted sharing it so fast.
We looked at the contradictory information out there and most of them decided that they would not buy the package from Invisible Children without some more research. That was my goal. To have them think critically before doing anything like sharing or spending money.
This is not a criticism of Invisible Children or the Stop Kony campaign. It is about how my own personal reflections became a spring board for a discussion of media literacy and critical thinking. I think Social Media is a fantastic way to spread messages, but that is only slactivism. Sharing on Facebook is not activism as it is not “doing”. We only bring about change by caring first and then doing something.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” The Lorax