For the connected learning project completion aspect of the Connected Learning Badge, I decided to try out the Do Now website which allows students to engage in public discussion and activities surrounding current issues that interest them. I thought this resource was amazing. I love how it provides multiple topics for students to choose from in which to engage in discussion with their peers. I looked through the topics, hoping to find something that would spark my interest and engage me, just like I hope to someday engage my students in digital learning and peer supported activities.
I chose to listen to a podcast discussing the role of feminism in the current election. I thought this would be a great topic for me to explore, since I am very passionate about societal inequities, and because I am a woman who will be voting in the upcoming election. The podcast talked about the wide spectrum of opinions represented in the female population of voters regarding Hillary Clinton, the potential first woman president in the United States. It discussed the two sides of the argument, one that voting for Hillary just because she is a woman would be incredibly irresponsible since there are broader issues being discussed in policy reform and candidate beliefs, or that voting for Hillary because she is a woman is the most powerful feminist change you could enact as an individual in the United States making it the superior feminist decision.
The Do Now website asked students to answer the question “What does feminism mean to you in this election?” and to hashtag the responses #DoNowFeminism. I promptly signed on to my twitter account to engage my peers in discussion. I found the question quite challenging, though, since both sides have their merit. Voting for Hillary simply because she was a woman would be overlooking the potentially superior plans of action of other candidates. However, voting for her would be an incredible breakthrough in the gender gap, ideas of gender in the U.S., and could potentially work towards shattering the “glass ceiling.”
If your only agenda in voting were to work towards the advancement of females as a social group, voting for Hillary because she’s a woman would be your most effective mode of action. It would be an impactful example to the U.S. and the world that women can be independently thinking, smart, powerful individuals. Putting a woman in a position of such power would validate the gender equality that the U.S. claims to adopt. If your goal in voting, however, was to elect the superior candidate, you would not let gender have any impact on your decision and choose whichever contender you believe most fit whether they be female or male.
The way I decided to respond to the prompt, then, in 140 characters or less was: Feminism in this election means judging candidates based on their credentials and beliefs, not their gender. I chose to respond this way because although I believe women should be placed in positions of power, making this decision solely based on gender would nearly combat the aims of feminism. Explicitly, yes it would allow for the social advancement of women, the aim of feminism, but implicitly it would be making a decision that combats the democratic model and the integrity of critical decision making of voters. It gives as much bias towards men as women are presently receiving. So, if Hillary is the better option, go with her. If not vote for someone else.
This is not the opinion of every person out there, which is why it is a good issue to take to social media. Everyone will have something to say about it, engaging my peers in discussion. This activity of reading and commenting on the podcast demonstrated all six aspects of connected learning. It was peer supported by facilitating discussion with my peers, interest-powered because of my interest in feminism, academically oriented, production centered as I wrote a tweet and a blog post, both of which had a shared purpose, and was openly networked on social media.
Overall I would say the Do Now website is a phenomenal resource to engage students in public discussion surrounding their interests, facilitating a community for connected learning.