This past week, Genna Rodriguez and I presented our Professional Development sessions on Digital Citizenship and integrating technology with Balanced Literacy. Overall the reception from teachers really good. Teachers didn’t mind taking lessons they al…Continue reading »
Over the past week I have been living and breathing Digital Citizenship… and yes there have been times that it has left me quite light-headed as it can be pretty heavy! A huge part of my week was preparing myself for a Digital Citizenship Parent nigh…Continue reading »
During a session with a group of High School teachers, many ethical questions were brought up about considerations that have to be made for the digital divide, as well perspectives represented in social media. We went into great depth considering the social media bubble that can unknowingly encase many of us, if we are not aware.
|by Ali Smiles 🙂|
Within our discussion a point was made that although social media can be great for connecting with others to explore different perspectives, are we actually doing this? When we follow individuals on Twitter, are we just following people with the same interests and backgrounds as us? In doing so, are we reinforcing the same perspective or viewpoint that we might already hold, thereby not providing the opportunity to see other world views. It was brought up that when someone doesn’t have the same perspective, and it makes us uncomfortable, how does the average person react? Do we consider other opinions, or do we just unfollow these individuals? This question has lead me to wonder, how my views are being shaped and reinforced on Twitter. Although social media can be a great space to see a variety of perspectives to widen our world view, it might be possible that we are not exploring alternate viewpoints and instead are just seeking affirmation.
|by bobbi vie|
After this discussion I started researching the effects of Twitter and the reinforcing bubble effect of social media. It has become clear that other students in our ECI 832 class have also been spending some time reflecting on the effect of Social Media and how we engage with the world. Fellow classmate, Laura Hunter, explores in her blog post, “Constant Connections” the impact of social media not only on herself, but on her daughters. She wondered whether social media is just a platform that is allowing us to become superficial as it “allows usall to hone in on meaningless snapchats, Facebook posts, and work emails” Turkle would agree and probably say that these superficial connections are diminishing our ability to really develop meaningful interactions face to face, “because we keep our phones in the landscape” or in our peripheral vision.
|Marc Spooner Twitter Post|
|by Adg’s Screen Caps|
This story from CTV was quite elevating. Maybe collectively people are becoming a little more aware of the power of the people afforded through social media – and that the voice of those unrepresented can finally be heard. However, my bubble of optimism burst when I was reminded of Sherry Turkle’s article, “Stop Googling, Let’s Talk” from the course readings. Turkle once again shares all the problems with social media and problems that arise due to our need to be digitally connected in helping us form real human lasting connections. Turkle through her interviews states that people “don’t feel as invested in each other. Even a silent phone disconnects us.” Are all these possibilities to do good in providing a voice for the marginalized, quickly dashed due to lack of manners or etiquette? Although Turkle should be applauded for sharing this opposing viewpoint and being the word of caution in this digitally connected world, I’m getting tired of her soap-box-negative stance. It turns out that I’m not the only one. After reading through reflections from other classmates and their reactions of the course readings, I found a kindred spirit in Amy Singh. After reviewing Shelley Turkle’s video, Amy noted in her post, “Now Entering the Apathetic Age”, that Turkle’s viewpoint that our world is becoming more apathetic due to over-consumption of technology is really just negative and points out that “we can work with technology and be empathetic. We may need to build these skills, but it can be done.” I would have to fully agree with Amy. Are teens really anymore apathetic today than they were 20 years ago? Hello, hasn’t anyone watched “The Breakfast Club?? Teens are really not that much different than they were when I was young. Many of us I’m sure can relate to being self-absorbed, aloof individuals who were overly connected to friends via the phone.
So what’s this all about? Can we be selfish and apathetic as well as social justice activists all at once? Of course! Is social media making people more selfish or self-absorbed. It’s doubtful. One just has to look at the impact the Occupy Movement had on raising issues regarding poverty and the discrepancy between the rich and the poor. How did this message spread? Social media. With any technological change there will be pros and cons. What it comes down to is the character of the individual who wields the device and their understanding of how the device impacts their life and those around them. This fact in itself reinforces reasons as to why educators need to ensure that Digital Citizenship is integrated into learning and is part of the conversation.
In closing I share a TED Talk, “Youth Activism in the Era of Social Media: Emily’s Entourage at TEDxLMSD”. This TED Talk is a primary example of how social media can be used for social justice among teens. In the video, Julia and Coby Kramer-Golinkoff share how they used Social Media to share the story of their sister, Julia and her battle with Cystic Fibrosis to “rally people and mobilize change” and create awareness about the effects of CF through Social Media. It’s a great TED Talk and demonstrates the power of social media and how millenials are exploring ways of sharing in authentic, meaningful ways.
Hello members of EC&I 832, due to my over clicking nature, I accidentally published my critique before it was ready. So I am posting a link to that blog post, all in the hopes that you will click on the link when you are reading it in the EC&I …Continue reading »
Critique of the TED Talk presented by Andrew Fitzgerald,
“Adventures in Twitter Fiction”
- How can different digital mediums change the way stories and other literary works are not just shared, but created?
- How does flexible identity, anonymity and engagement with the real world change the way writers interact with their audience?
- How can Twitter allow for creative people to push the boundaries of what is possible in this platform, and how will it alter what we define as a story?
|Image Source: Twitter Crimer Show|
Other examples of fictional writing on Twitter can be seen in the short story, “Evidence” by Elliot Holt. In this tale, Holt weaves together a story through a series of tweets through multiple Twitter accounts. This format allows the author to capture the voice and perspective of all characters line by line, thereby allowing for greater authenticity. Twitter has also become a platform for parodying television, which can be seen in the Crimer Show. In this case, the Twitter story sounds like a television episode, but told on Twitter. If you wish to tune in, you can’t, as the show is now advertised as being only available through “re-runs”. There are also other examples of non-fiction storytelling which can be seen in RealTimeWWII, which documents real events of World War II day by day – thereby connecting us to the past, like a digital desk calendar.
Although I appreciate the potential for writers to connect with their audience through social media; as well as the opportunities Fitzgerald shares in this “new frontier” for creative experimentation, “where access to the tools is the only barrier to broadcasting”. I can’t help but wonder what are the sideline benefits of broadcasting the story in this form. Is it just a media stunt or opportunity for writers to garner publicity and a following for their writing? Is this a platform merely a space where they can give an audience a taste, in hopes that they will buy the book for the polishedversion of the story later on? Or is it purely just an opportunity for the writer to truly engage with their audience and gain feedback in the creative writing process, allowing fans a sense of connectedness to the formation of a story. One can only hope that for the purity of the medium, that the latter would be the case. It is interesting to note that Egan, author of “The Black Box”, only produced the one story in this form, making me wonder if it really was just for publicity. Not wanting to be jaded or skeptical, I decided to look for other Twitter serial writers. After a quick search, I discovered other Twitter short stories One was aptly named, the Very Short Story, which are stories by @sean_hill. He asks followers to “send me a noun and I’ll use the ones that inspire me in a story.” Here is a perfect of example of interacting with one’s audience and engaging them in the writing process. However it is important to note that he is also writing a book of his Twitter stories, and advertises it on Amazon. Hmmm… purity of form??? Then again, whom am I to criticize, the guy has to make a living.
|Image Source: Mashable 20 Twitter Short Stories Written by Mashable Readers|
As a final note, if you are interested in using Twitter for older students, Twitter has a site, Tips for Educators in exploring Twitter Literacy, and would further lend itself to discussions regarding Digital Citizenship. Educators can peruse topics ranging from: what is Twitter, ways teachers can connect with students, how to keep your account secure, defining personal boundaries, tweeting thoughtfully, and considering the context. Bravo Twitter, that’s definitely showing some responsibility for the medium by providing these tips!
|Photo Credit: Brickdon via Compfight cc|
This weeks readings were an exploration of the Digital Immigrants vs the Native users in Social Media. Not only did Prensky miss the mark as rapidly articulated in the video, Do Digital Natives Exist? the term itself is misplaced. White’s terminology or explanation of the Digital Visitors and Residents makes way more sense. I really like his point in how all individuals regardless of age, can pass into either role based on context and engagement. I really appreciate how Amy Sign, states it in her blog post this week, Digital Natives/Immigrants in Imagined communities and the digital citizenship quandary, when she says, “One doesn’t have to look far to see that being ‘born into’ a digital age doesn’t equate someone who is able to navigate the muddy waters of ‘digital citizenship’.” She goes on to allude to the awful case of Amanda Todd and how easily things can turn from bad to horrendous. This is something too that I consider when I think of the Resident vs. the Visitor. Even though students are deemed as “getting it” – it’s evident that often they understand how to use their devices (for the most part, I have more to say about that), but do they understand how to wield them responsibly? Yes kids love social media, but aside from setting up a profile, are they aware of the darker side to social media and how to exist within it’s parameters safely?
In Michael Wesch’s video, An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube he explores the participatory nature of social media, particularly with Youtube, and emphasizes the benefits of “connection without restraint” and the opportunity the platform offers for “tremendously deep communities”. I like the idea of connection without restraint. But as an educator, and the dangers that are often presented with Social Media, can this lack of restraint be dangerous to those who maybe lack self control or the wisdom to behave appropriately face to face, never mind behind the seemingly anonymous perspective behind a computer screen?
Years ago when Charlie Bit Me was popularized (not just popularized, it eventually became the most viewed video in Youtube history), I joined the masses in replaying that video for friends, family, and students (shhhhh… I admit it… I used some classtime to watch a cute video… and I know I would do it again someday!) over and over again – giggling over those delightful and charming British brothers! Although I found the original video adorable, I found the remixes – fascinating… and sometimes annoying or downright ridiculous, as in the remix, Charlie Bit My Finger… Off! (okay, I kind of liked it). What was interesting is how fascinated my students were of the remixes. Was it the connection they made to often other teens who were remixing and sharing the videos? Were they inspired by the creativity of the remix? The daring to take a risk and offer that point of connection? What was it? Other than the fact that the videos were sometimes funny, why would a person watch video after video? Is the fascination due to the sense of community created, or as Wesch points out, that we all collectively become fascinated by the same thing? Maybe it’s the fact that the average person can be part of the entertainment – not celebrities, not politicians – but average people with a digital device wanting to engage us in the conversation and this is that authentic connection that draws us in.
So I get why people love it. Maybe it’s for the mindless entertainment and connection we feel or maybe it’s a bit like being a distant observer of other people’s lives. Sort of like what was explored in the movie the Truman Show, which was only made in 1998, yet really personifies a little of what it’s like watching Youtube in our world now. I’m not knocking it and saying it’s all trivial and boring, as I do have my favorite Youtube channels (like Kid-Snippets), but there are some elements that get a little Truman-like or just invasive. Perhaps this preference for a polished show, like Kid-Snippets, is part of the era I grew up in. Is it a generational or Visitors vs Residents thing?
The question becomes what is entertaining to different groups? When we look what appeals to different interest groups, I can’t help think of a time when my students were begging me to watch “Squirrel Boy in a Tree”. Not trusting a group of grade 8 boys and their recommendations for a Youtube video in front of the class, I of course said no. Later, I checked it out to see what the fuss was. Basically the video was about a kid yelling in a tree, swearing about a World of Warcraft video while his brother verbally tormented him and recorded the mental abuse. Nice. It’s aptly named, Greatest Freakout Ever. Interestingly enough, it has 13,143,428 views (unfortunately I have contributed 2 of the views of this pointless video). Let’s just chalk this video up to being a prime example as to reasons why Youtube can be a bit of a waste of time and unfortunately become a platform for bullying. The interactions in the video, are certainly the polar opposite to the fun-loving relationship between Charlie and his older brother. Squirrel-boy probably never stood a chance to his older brother, and the best part is, the world can watch his embarrassment over and over again. Not everything needs or should be shared, and makes me wish that there was more of a behaviour police for family bullying even between brothers.
The part that really gets me though, is that I had students who enjoyed that video (as did millions of others) and thought it was hilarious. So now not only do we have to contend with movies and television shows which push-the-envelop in terms of appropriateness and what we call entertainment, we now have Youtube to do the same. It’s not that I’m against Youtube, but in a lot of ways, Social Media can sometimes feel like the Wild West. Where almost anything goes, as long as it doesn’t break the law. Where are the sheriffs? Yes, there are police who police the Internet for the really dangerous stuff out there. But what about mean older brothers, who polices them? There are parents (and…where are these kids’ parents?), but it’s doubtful that many are on Youtube. So going back to Wesch’s statement regarding, “connection without restraint” and “tremendously deep communities” – it’s evident that there is definitely lack of restraint demonstrated in this case, and the community is most likely not exploring any deep connections.
Well all this negative talk is diminishing the lustre of Charlie and his brother… That was a great video. I enjoyed being part of the community who also enjoyed those sweet little boys. Maybe it’s not all bad. If you ever wondered where are they now, check out the clip below. It’s nice to see that Charlie and his brother still seem like a couple of sweet kids, who get along great except for a little chomp here and there.Continue reading »
As a recent addition to the Major Project that I’m working on with Genna Rodriguez, I made a digital book. This was to be as a way to share the “other digital pieces” to go with Digital Citizenship. As part of our major project, we will be compiling a continuum for each of the C’s mentioned in my last post, in addition to sharing this understanding with teachers in the Regina Catholic School Division. As part of kicking off the initiative to teachers my division, I shared the scope and focus with Tech Leaders, one of whom is the talented Ms. Jillian Laursen (who tweeted about the session).
The information was presented in PowerPoint, which was good for that context, but seemed a little overly-traditional for the content. So with the purpose of extending my own learning, and communicating learning in a different way, I made a Flipsnack Digital Book (Which is a free site incidently). Genna and I will most likely be adding to this book at some point, as we hope to develop and narrate the book (or slides) – but at least it’s a start! Now for a continuum…
Please note that much of the work so far is derived from Michael Fullen’s New Pedagogies for Deep Learning as well as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) NETS. We will also be exploring the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning project to examine their work and how it will connect to our own Saskatchewan curricula and school division goals.
Ready Set… Go! So long going for beverages with friends. So long binge watching marathons of Suits on Netflix… So long sitting and languidly scanning Twitter for hilarious memes (unless it’s to tweet about this class of course)… So long long…Continue reading »