Social Media Fuels Hawaii Student Walkout: March 14

By Jim Shimabukuro

In conjunction with the national 17-minute school walkout on 14 March 2018 in honor of the 17 shooting victims at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, students in Hawaii planned and executed a state-wide protest for greater gun control. Their media of choice were Twitter — #neveragainhi, #EnoughIsEnoughHI, #MarchforOurLivesHI — and Instagram.

Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Joshua Wong

Socal media in the hands of students is a powerful tool for reform. Joshua Wong Chi-fung (黃之鋒), a Hong Kong high school student in 2011, organized and led protests against government interference in determining school curricula. He and his fellow protesters relied on social media to coordinate and monitor protests in other locations.

The implication for educators is enormous. Publishing is no longer the sole possession of powerful media organizations in the private and public sector. It is in the hands of the people, and the most active users of social media are the young, for whom backchannel communications are increasingly defining what’s real and fake. The question for educators is: How will we integrate social media into our curricula to align instruction with a world that no longer turns solely on traditional media?  

Considering the empowering features of social media, we, educators, need to step out of our isolated boxes and into the connected world that our students inhabit. Rather than look for ways to ban or limit its use, we need to embrace it and incorporate it into our course designs and instructional strategies. We need to face the fact that we are no longer their primary or only audience. Our classroom walls no longer define the limits of their learning environment. Our students’ connection to the world around them is unprecedented. In fact, our connection to the world is unprecedented.

Yesterday’s national student-led walkout is much more than a protest for greater gun control measures. It’s a coming of age of a new generation that has blown by the traditional media via technology that puts publishing in their own hands. The ball is now in our court, and, as educators, we need to respond with innovative pedagogy that embraces students and their use of social media.

Fortunately for Hawaii, Governor David Ige and the Hawaii State Department of Education, led by Christina M. Kishimoto, are in full support of the student walkout. Hopefully, their example will inspire classroom teachers and professors to encourage and support greater student involvement in real-world issues via social media.

Mililani High School.

‘Iolani School.

Farrington High School.

Punahou School.

University of Hawaii Mānoa.

University of Hawaii Mānoa Graduate Student Organization.

State of Hawaii Department of Education. Click image for the PDF.

Hawaii Governor David Ige



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