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Social Justice in Distance Learning

Simeon Campbell

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Social Justice in Distance Learning

The role of the student has been changing over the last decade. This is due to the fact that

new materials and new ways to grant learning has arrived. When an educator introduces new

learning theories to their classroom, the role of the student will change. For the aspect of social

justice, the educator must ensure that the student’s main goal is to challenge their point of view

while analyzing others, in a social environment. Harasim (2017) argues that, “ Social interactions

are an essential part of human cognitive development”. In the days of the COVID-19 (Corona)

virus, students now will integrate collaboration and technology (social media centered) into their

learning to help facilitate their knowledge. Today the question “What does it mean to learn?” has

changed. What it means to learn now, is that no way is wrong; things aren’t by the traditional

book anymore. The relationship between society and the individual should be challenged to think

outside the box, learning new ways to learn, providing opportunities for social activity, and

social privileges. Even if that be from using technology or daily dialogue with other students.

Educational technology can influence, or impact social justice based of different teaching

practices. Teaching practices go hand and hand when trying to see if distance learning will have

a negative or positive effect on social justice. For example, teaching practices resolves problems

between students inside the classroom. What will happen if these students have the same issues

in the online classes? The student’s engagement re-instates the teaching practices that a teacher

would use in class. Online teaching practices helps students in making better judgements. Many

changing situations can contradict the learning environment. Creating new and innovative ways

to teach can help the integration process for students. Dryden ( 2017) states “Technology can

play a part in ES, which can increase student cognitive abilities” ( pg., 14). With that being said

distance education can be used in the pursuit of social justice.

Social Justice in Distance Learning

Reese (2015) states, “ Online education has emerged at universities across the country

because of its ability to connect students to instructors, peers, and course content through flexible

and asynchronous environments” (pg.20). All of the lessons dealing with distance learning has to

ensure that lessons that are taught have both online components and physical classroom

components. How do you do that? Social justice can help with that. Adding more social

interactions online is critical. All work done in-class and online correlate with each other. For

example, online work can consist of the students doing vocabulary that is done before the start of

the lesson in-class, so that the student has a bit of prior knowledge before the lesson. They could

then use those new vocabulary words in a social platform to make a presentation. These types of

sites include Adobe spark and Prezi.

Educators will sometimes have to use social justice to plan special lessons or dual

lessons in order to integrate the students into learning. This may be at a slower speed, and

different word choices then the other students. Social experiences can tie in the social justice

experience to lessons. These experiences in different context of education will be shown through

speaking or through an online tool. Students can participate in learning activities intended to be

inclusive to the classroom online. The point of participation is students to promote their learning

in their lives at school and at home. “Social environments not only promote psychosocial

wellbeing can contribute to developing skills, communication, empathy, resilience, and

collaboration help mold relationships” ( Mosselson, 2017). There’s a strong and effective

interaction between the learning environment and psychosocial wellbeing and can be encouraged

at home. This is the main point is to translate a traditional classroom to distance learning. This

can be done; however, it just requires more steps for educators. More and more teachers are

becoming trained teachers in the aspect of online education.

Social Justice in Distance Learning

All of the learning tools that are available for online education can all have a social

justice aspect added to them. One activity that gets the students to start analyzing is utilizing

blogs. For the university demographic, WordPress has thousands of blogs and websites that

students can explore. Students were given the chance to make a blog, find, and analyze other

students’ blogs Kop (2011) states, “The new learning environment requires learners to be active

in their learning by editing and producing information themselves in a variety of formats and by

communicating and collaborating with others in new ways” ( pg., 115). The educator has the

ability to create the level of social interaction when conducting online classes. Some online

programs have a hybrid program to have online students come down to the campus a few times a

semester to interact with their classmates. This can be beneficial for including social justice into

the mix.

Working with the momentum of student interaction, social media works on student

autonomy and open-ended questions, which are a part of in-class constructivism. Focusing on the

middle school to high school demographic, Instagram is a platform that hits all these points.

These activities integrate Bloom's taxonomy, to promote cognitive ability. When reading

Flipping the Classroom by Brame (2013) she states, “If the students gained basic knowledge

outside of class, then they need to spend class time to promote deeper learning”. Educational

technology has the ability to impact social justice in many different ways. One way is to use that

very technology to show students new ways for learning. Moreover, with distance education

those previous technology tools can bring the world of online education to the forefront of todays

Social Justice in Distance Learning


Brame, C., (2013). Flipping the classroom. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved

from http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/flipping-the-classroom/.

Harasim, L. Learning Theory and Online Technologies. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from


Kop, R. (2011). The challenges to connectivism learning on open online networks: Learning

experiences during a massive open online course. International Review of Research in

open and distance learning, 12(3), 19-38.

Reese, S.A. (2015). Online learning environments in higher education: Connectivism

vs.dissociation Preview the document. Education and Information Technologies, 20, 3,


Mosselson, J., Morshed, M. M., & Changamire, N. (2017). Education and Wellbeing for Refugee

Youth. Peace Review, 29(1), 15–23. https://doi-org.tcsedsystem.idm.oclc.org/


Sarah Dryden-Peterson (2017) Refugee education: Education for an unknowable

future, Curriculum Inquiry, 47:1, 14-24. https://doi-org.tcsedsystem.idm.oclc.org/