Millennials are obviously a tech savvy generation, having grown up with the tools ourselves. As the most educated generation in history, technology has played an important role in offering us ways we can access information. But with current threats to public education and free internet access, this led me to wonder what role tech could play in fighting for better education access.

In an article published last year on Thought Catalog, I wrote about How Millennials can Use Tech to Fight for Better Education Access.

At a time when education reform is the subject of serious debate in this country, I think that using technology to mobilize and fight for fair and equal education outlets for everyone is an essential issue for today’s young adults and youth (if not everyone).

In my article, I highlighted the argument that social media apps, The Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality and big data can be used in the fight for affordable and accessible college education.

Social Media Apps and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Online social media apps and sites are a necessary way to build networks and dedicated communities around central issues. Sites like Facebook can allow education advocates to relay information through shared links, blogs, and videos. Relying on IoT and interconnected computing devices implemented in everyday objects can send and receive messages, allowing for the transfer of information. Education should and will continue to use apps and chatbots to receive real-time updates about advocacy campaigns and education legislation. But social media can be leveraged in advocacy campaigns to build:

Visibility —  Information, links, event information, and other resources are visible and accessible to viewers. For students of lower and middle income brackets this is especially important so their more integrated with the current issues and networks.

Networking —  Diverse relationships should be created through social media networking. Building dialogues between different groups can help created a shared identity while teaching and creating learning environments for those who are new or interested to the cause. Interconnected devices allows for collection action and the ability to organize informational events, protests, and resources to gain more supporters and open new avenues of dialogue.

Framing —  Millennials have a general understanding of problematic education initiatives through the lense of inequality. Since public discourse can help educate and reshape the way Americans think about the education system, social media and other informational tools can help frame the cause in the way of assessing cultural norms.

Resources —  Since successful movements need supporters and materials, IoT can help bind communities of both professional educators and citizens to improve everyday education curriculums and even create DIY learning movements. A cloud system can allow supporters to connect their devices in order to interact, learn, and educate others on a local or national way.

Big Data and VR

Big data and VR can also be a beneficial tool to leverage support and unify communities that want to fight for improved education access. For instance, big data can help support fundraisers and advocacy efforts including marketing, research, and outreach. As devices are connected to the IoT, education advocates can use big data to assess metrics for demographics and user trends. Sensor can measure usage time, personal preferences, and the frequency of the tools that are used.

VR tech can implement these tools, tool. By using immersive and advocacy journalism in campaigns, VR can showcase instances of injustice in more visceral and cerebral ways. The tool can help education advocates understand how niche education reform issues can generate interest and guide the fight for education access. Since there will be at least 20.4 billion interconnected devices by 2020, it may be a beneficial time to generate VR content and movements that allow for more citizen participation.

There’s nothing like the power of the human mind and technology to drive us forward. As we are starting to traction in the fight for more accessible and affordable education reform, these tools are helping to spread the cause wider than before. As we learn how to fight for education, perhaps we can learn how to educate ourselves on ways to educate ourselves in the process.