Over the last 6 months, I have really been conscious of participating on line as much as I could, when I could. I have consciously had to remind myself to check Twitter, try out SnapChat (more on that in a bit) and use Pinterest for more than home and general work interests – I created a board called “Masters” and have been pinning there. I have even signed up for Flipboard and use Feedly and Pocket frequently now. I even have a Bitly account and have successfully been shortening my URL’s so I can easily post to Twitter! And have participated in Twitter chats… Heck, I am even participating in a MOOC! The “me” of today is very different than the “me” a year ago. A year ago, if you were to ask me if I was technologically literate, I would have said “YES” because I do use a lot of technology in my classroom – I even present to other divisions and internationally about how to incorporate Vernier Probeware into the science classroom, enhancing STEM. BUT, I was nowhere as socially literate as I am today. Why the change? EC&I832, @AlecCouros, and @kbhildebrandt. Simple, one class that has changed my whole trajectory as both an educator and a learner. Everything just clicked!
This week, we have been exploring the ideas of Where did our Kids go? Social media is such a powerful force, and that powerful force can be harnessed and used towards powerful learning. Kids are different today from when I was a teenager. And they should be, society has evolved, shouldn’t our student’s? I have really tried to harness the captivating nature of social media and use it in my classroom, I figure why not use it, my learners are modern learners so why shouldn’t I be a modern teacher?
I was not so shocked when I watched Snapchat Murders Facebook, as I had a feeling from watching my students interactions at school, especially the lunchroom – lunchrooms are the BEST place for just observing students being themselves, you know, out of the classroom selves. I began to closely observe my students while they were eating lunch – those who had phones were on them, but of those who were on their phones, the majority were snap chatting or viewing stories or making stories. So the video was not entirely surprising. It is generational. I feel that there are more adults on Facebook than Snapchat, and while the majority of teens are on snapchat, they may be viewing Facebook but not interacting as much on that platform. But my statement is not supported but the survey data collected by the Pew Research Centre. So I decided to do some research of my own and take to Twitter to ask #cooperscienceB30 students what form of technology they used the most.
Clearly, I do not teach 166 students, but I had asked for my students to re-tweet this out to their feeds. I also had many classmates re-tweet this post. Although it may have been a bit biased, and I may have set myself up by only using Twitter to run this poll, I did so because I was confident that this was the platform that would reach the largest amount of my students in the quickest amount of time. And I did get called out for this by @lindav1959.
As you can see, my results differ from the survey done by Pew, so yes, maybe a bit biased. I will try to run another survey using a different social media platform, just to see what the results are. Amanda Lenhart wrote in her article Teens, Social Media and Technology that socio-economics also play a part in the types of social media that our youth are interacting with. “Upper and middle income teens lean towards Instagram and Snapchat”. This statement is supported by survey data collected by Pew Research Centre.
Now, I am not fluent in Snapchat, so as a modern teacher I am trying to learn. I have two teenaged son’s whom I will rely on (although they don’t really know that yet), they will become my teachers just as Ben Rosen had his sister teach him! I am proud to say that my parents too are learning how to use technology, they aren’t afraid of it and embrace it, even if it means that they may not understand the jargon of social media right away:
I know that my parents are not concerned about the amount of likes that they will receive on a Facebook post that they share, but some of our students are concerned about the amount of likes, re-tweets, or the trophy’s they earn on Snapchat. So I leave you with this, are our students concerned with the amount of likes that they receive? We must keep in mind that social media = always mean socializing, Vicky Davis reminds us of that.