Tech Tools for Humane Educators

By Mickey Kudia
 
I am the least tech-savvy person in the world. However, from my experience, students love it when I incorporate technology in my lessons. Watching students get excited about an app or website, makes the extra effort of researching new tech tools all worth it.
 
Below is a list of a few of the tech tools I’ve used in my lessons that even the least tech-savvy person can include in their classroom.
 
Buycott App
This app allows its user to scan the barcode on any product and then immediately receive information about animal protection, human rights, and environmental campaigns that are either in support or against the product. For example, you can use this app to find out if a product is tested on animals or uses unfair labor practices.
 
I use this app in a lesson for middle school students on boycotting and being a conscious consumer. In the lessons, I have students get in small groups and compare two products, such as a cruelty-free bottle of shampoo and a shampoo that is tested on animals. After the students discuss the differences between the two products from just looking at the items, I’ll scan the barcodes and share the information from the Buycott app.
 
Even though I use this app for a specific lesson on boycotting, it could be used in any lesson where you wanted to provide students with a tool for using their purchasing power to help people, animals, or the environment.
 
However, I will warn you that some of the information on the Buycott app may not be appropriate for all ages. So play around with the app before you use it in the classroom and don’t scan anything in front of students you haven’t scanned prior to the lesson.
 
Blogs
I’m sure everyone here has heard of blogs before (you’re reading one right now) and your students will be familiar with them too. However, most students will not have thought about how they can use blogs to help people, animals, or the environment.
 
Students can use blogs to educate people outside the classroom and all over the world about actions they can take to make the world a better place. I once had a group of students who wanted to teach people about helping companion animals. So with my help, the students created the “Ward Pet Power Blog”, where they posted articles about how to make toys for animals in shelters and other ways to help companion animals.
 
For safety reasons, I made the blog and posted all the articles. However, the students had a lot of fun writing the articles and reading the comments from other people on their blog posts.
 
Social Media
This a tricky one because I know some parents do not allow their children to use social media (for good reasons), and I don’t want their parents to think I’m encouraging its use. However, many students are using social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, etc.) and are excited to use it for positive reasons.
 
Hence, I never encourage students to make personal accounts on social media, but I’ll often share their work through HEART’s social media pages and explain that it is a way of educating people on the internet. For example, I’ll have students create posters about the importance of adopting animals from shelters and then share the posters on HEART’s Facebook. Students love seeing that their posters are being used to teach people all over the country about an issue they care about.
 
These are a couple of ways that I’m using technology to teach humane education. Have you used any of these tech tools or have any other suggestions for using technology to teach young people about animal protection, human rights, or environmental ethics?
 
If you do, please write them in the comment section. I’d love to hear them!
 
Photo Credit: Leonardo Augusto Matsuda / Flickr

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