Vloggers: Redefining Education in the Information Age?

Vlogging– video blogging

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Saima Chowdury discusses her experience of university life as a Muslim woman. Click to view video.

Around the world people are increasingly utilizing the internet on a daily basis as a source and channel of information. As a result, many individuals’ voices are heard in ways that were not possible in the past. They are using technology to reach audiences in new and revolutionary ways, becoming “teachers” in their own areas of interest. In many ways these voices influence global education through the formation and introduction of new types of discourse and new ideas about what education can look like. One such individual who has found her voice in this way is Saima Chowdhury, a young Muslim fashion vlogger (video blogger) who has gained the attention of teens and young women across the UK.

As our resident technology enthusiast, Yu, discusses in her postsScreen Shot 2015-11-22 at 7.02.14 PMtechnology is increasingly used as a forum for education and information sharing. Some examples include the push for an introduction of technology into traditional classroom education systems in “developing” countries, as well as the development of online learning programs such as Coursera. However, as Saima is showing, this shift towards technology-led education is occurring outside of the traditional sphere of classroom education as well, increasing opportunities for alternative forms of education to emerge.

For young Muslim women and teens in the UK, Saima Chowdhury has created a platform to discuss issues relevant to her demographic which is both creative and accessible. Many of these teens and young women have turned to vloggers like Saima as a source of information and advice on topics such as dealing with negativity regarding their choice to wear the hijab, fashionable options for wearing the hijab, getting their period for the first time, and expectations about marriage. Saima has created a supportive community in which to discuss topics that may not be presented the formal education system. Saima, and her fellow bloggers, are also challenging much of the common discourse in the Western world surrounding Muslim women and the stereotypes surrounding this demographic.

In a world where it is difficult to find positive news about women like Saima (searching for news articles about young Muslim women paints a picture of them as either victims or threats to society), it is not surprising that individuals such as Saima are gaining popularity as they slowly chip away at this common public discourse. As the popularity of this type of information sharing continues to grow and many new voices join the conversation, what may be increasingly difficult is finding sources that are trustworthy in their information and empowering for their audience. Nonetheless, voices like Saima’s are showing that education means more than classrooms and textbooks.


Sources:

Agha, Eram. Experiments with hijab quite the rage. 31 January, 2015. The Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/Experiments-with-hijab-quite-the-rage/articleshow/46079940.cms

Ali, Elest. Personal Grooming: Dignity or Vanity? 11 March, 2014. Aquila Style. http://www.aquila-style.com/focus-points/personal-grooming-dignity-vanity/60229/

BBC World Service: Newsday. 15 October 2015.Young Muslim style vloggers. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p035976s

Chowdhury, Saima. Saima Chowdhury. 22 November, 2015. http://www.saimachowdhury.co.uk

Chowdhury, Saima. SaimaSmilesLike. 22 November, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbe8lk2wgPPtu-vsN6uW8pQ

 

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One thought on “Vloggers: Redefining Education in the Information Age?

  1. Technology has a lot of power to connect people and its fascinating to see how we no longer need geographical proximity to develop a sense of community. I agree, vlogs are quickly emerging as a form of entertainment, information exchange, and informal support group. The challenge is that people gravitate towards perspectives and voices that they agree with and that are already familiar to them. These impacts can be both positive and negative. I wonder how can we create an online community that interacts more actively with alternative perspectives, what would that look like?

    Like

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