technology

Response: Teachers, enough with these social media ‘lessons’

While doing my daily reading, I read Teaching the Teacher’s new post of the day: “Teachers, enough with these social media ‘lessons.'”

Every few months a photo like this surfaces In my social media stream feeds telling me to like, retweet a message to ‘teach’ children a lesson about social media.

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In world where millions of pieces of new content are being uploaded every second, creators are resorting to desperate and more shocking things to break through the clutter in search of that elusive like, share or retweet.

And it’s not just kids.

Companies, celebrities, politicians, sports teams and, dare I say it, teachers find themselves wanting to harness the power of this vast global network.

Could there be a better way to teach responsible use of the Internet than publicly shaming students in as wider a forum as possible?

I understand the motivation behind the lesson, to protect kids from posting something stupid that could ruin their lives if it goes viral.

However I’m not convinced this approach actually leaves students with an enduring understanding of responsible and ethical online behaviour.

Fear of ridicule may be great for short-term compliance but in the long term it does little promote sound and ethical decision making over the long term. It actually gives credence to the number one tool in bully’s arsenal, a public audience.

And that audience doesn’t need to be big. The reality is that most students aren’t going to experience Star Wars kid level of viral cyberbullying. However if a student has more than one friend on snapchat, they have the the power to hurt and humiliate someone else through a share.

The focus purely on students as creators of content ignores that most of the time the kids are consumers and distributors of content which is where the problem really lies.

Taking part in a meme without really thinking about the context.

Sharing and viewing images designed to humiliate without thinking about the consent or feelings of the subject.

Retweeting articles without reading them.

I was dismayed at the number of teachers who were happy to capture and share their students doing the Harlem Shake. Yet the kids dancing who had no idea that Harlem was a place let alone what the people living there thought of the global phenomenon.

Or how quickly the cause of motor neurone disease was forgotten in the race to upload, share and nominate others in the ice bucket challenge.

The Internet is participatory.

Whether it’s a 13 year old request for a like for a like or a multinational company getting you to share, they are asking for that moment of connection. They believe their idea is important enough for you to stand by it to give it more credence.

The audience for the share could be 1 or 1 billion. It is the power of that audience kids need to appreciate and use appropriately.

What we share is more important than what we create.

The best way I believe I can response to this article is by breaking it down and then posting a conclusion.

Companies, celebrities, politicians, sports teams and, dare I say it, teachers find themselves wanting to harness the power of this vast global network.

But this is the entire point of social media: Accessing information from others, and sharing yours with the entire userbase (and by extension the world). I agree with the goal of something such as twitter as being able to harness the power of a large collective group. But I also believe that in order for something to be powerful, one must have the mindset of “what can I contribute” instead of “what can I gain.” When one has this mindset and gives enough effort and time, the benefits flow naturally.

I understand the motivation behind the lesson, to protect kids from posting something stupid that could ruin their lives if it goes viral.

However I’m not convinced this approach actually leaves students with an enduring understanding of responsible and ethical online behaviour.

Fear of ridicule may be great for short-term compliance but in the long term it does little promote sound and ethical decision making over the long term. It actually gives credence to the number one tool in bully’s arsenal, a public audience.

Agreed. I was actually a victim of me doing something “Stupid” (others words, not mine. I stand by my actions). I was in the middle of a personal/social experiment on Reddit. Reddit is a large…. forum? Where tens of millions of people post articles, pictures, memes, advice, and so forth. It’s the largest of its kind, and has as much impact as something such as 4chan. The website has one major flaw (asides from its search bar). The flaw is that it becomes a hivemind. One educated person will post an opinion, and the people whom read it will follow it without looking at the evidence themselves or critically. This reflects the real world (with social media and news… trust your sources people!). For example, the site hates comcast, capitalism, and supports Edward Snowden. Back onto the point.

My social experiment was to show what people will believe for terms of entertainment. I started to make up stories and summarize them into memes to show what people will believe. I was planning on showing these results to the entire site once I collected enough examples, but was found out in my fourth or so exposition. The entire hivemind of reddit then decided to do a ‘witch-hunt’ on me. People literally spent hours going through my post history to ‘downvote’ everything (it’s the opposite of a like on facebook). Some even found my real world identity and contacted my friends and family with threats. Which is the point I’m trying to make with these paragraphs: I took extreme precautions to make sure nothing linked to my real world identity, and they found it anyways. One must be extremely careful of what they post, and where.

The focus purely on students as creators of content ignores that most of the time the kids are consumers and distributors of content which is where the problem really lies.

Taking part in a meme without really thinking about the context.

Sharing and viewing images designed to humiliate without thinking about the consent or feelings of the subject.

Retweeting articles without reading them.

Exactly the point I was making above. People will follow something blindly; on and off internet. How many people support John A. Macdonald, or Canada as a whole? I personally believe Canada to be one of the most racist places on Earth and John A to have an extreme dark side to him.

The audience for the share could be 1 or 1 billion. It is the power of that audience kids need to appreciate and use appropriately.

Precisely. Respect the power of the most used tool in the world; the internet and its users. This is a lesson students need to learn. It’s unlikely that a post they made when they were 13 on facebook holding a beer will harm them, but they need to understand that stuff like that shouldn’t be uploaded to begin with (and subsequently, their overall actions could take a little modifying. Mine have

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6th Grade Ultimate Resource

My peer Taylor Hardy (@hardy22t) has created an “Ultimate Grade Six Teaching Resource” which is a complete and useful tool for any middle schools teacher. The guide gives resources and materials for Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science, and more!

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Taylor goes through the curriculum by section and gives modern and innovative lesson plans, templates, videos, assessments, resources to use, and so forth. In math she dissects a years worth of lessons into categories such as shape, patterns, numbers.

I highly recommend this website for all preservice teachers and inservice teachers, as well as parents of children in this area of education. It can be used as a primary guide or a secondary resource for lessons plans inside the school, or just looked at to get some ideas (because many new-gen teachers are now looking at teacherspayteachers ; online blogs ; pinterest searches ; or other places online). I’m currently in a grade seven classroom, and I’m not upset that I’m not able to use this to save myself hours of work! But I can still use this is a review when introducing a new unit!

Follow Taylor on Twitter or on her blog! Twitter_logo_2337037fwordpress

New Language

language-benefits

Want to begin to learn a language? I will be providing tools to help you learn these languages on your own, while contributing to the vast knowledge available on the web! The first tool I will provide is duolingo. Duolingo is a free, popular tool that many people are using to learn languages.

The service works by giving the user words and sentences to be translated that are dependent on the skill and knowledge level that the reader presents. Learn any language you want at your own pace, and translate sentences for the entire world to read at the same time! 

The next service is Lang-8. This website pairs you with an individual who wants to learn your own native language, while you learn theirs. You choose which language you want to learn and your skill level, and you are paired up with someone from across the world who meets these demands! It is a great way to find a native speaker to practice with and has helped thousands master other languages! And as usual, this service is free! 

The next website is called Memrise. Memrise has actual courses with many different languages, but it’s not only limited to the language area! This website has courses on history, science, the arts, and much more!

The New Era of Binders

Tech Task #8

It’s clear that schools, students, and people are moving towards a more techy world. Everyone’s grandma owns either a tablet, a computer, or a smart phone. Schools are introducing one on one tablet / laptop programs with high success, but organization with computers from notes and URL’s can be tough (and kids have trouble organizing a paper binder!).

8623652742_5293fe9fd4In a tablet integrated school (or for a student in any grade / post-secondary) an easy way to organize notes by subject and content is using livebinders. Anyone reading this post will have used a binder organizer when they were in school, and this website allows the user to organize notes into any category they want. 

I’ve used computers for the last four years to note take, and I do have to say that organization is difficult (and don’t even get me started on all the things I favorite!). What I normally do is save by date or into one giant document with all my notes, and then use CTRL+F (find) to search for keywords. Not very effective.

Photo Credit: Songralonian via Compfight cc    BocRMBI

For school work I would optimally use this to organize by topic (Math, ELA, science), and then by Unit (Unit 1: Addition, Unit 2: Subtraction…). I could then add a tab for each day or combine the notes all in one, or for similar content (adding single digit numbers, adding double digit numbers, adding vertically / sideways…). This would an optimal experience for organization, studying, sharing notes, and visually for the emerging tablet scene. I myself am sick of making dozens of folders to attempt to organize.

AVeOsiu

This is not just a great tool for students! For educators it allows prime and secure organization of turned in assignments, teaching prep notes, resources, marks, and student categories. The only downfall with livebinders is it lacks a ‘flipboard’ and book style transition. Instead of swiping downwards or sideways the user must click the category.

It’s a more user friendly way of organizing folder on your computer or google drive, and it’s more visually pleasing.

Cyberbullying PD seminar in Regina

439646129_f979360894_oPhoto Credit: FunnyBiz via Compfight cc

 

Regina is hosting a cyberbullying seminar at the University of Regina, on the second floor in the Education building in the teacher prep center. This is a wonderful event PD event for education students, teachers, and anyone who is interested. It is on March 12, 2014 at 7pm.

The Education Students Society is pleased to announce our next Professional Development Event! Entitled "Cyberbullying in the Classroom: What you Need to Know", this event looks at identifying signs of cyber-bullying and providing mediation as a concerned teacher. This is a significant problem in schools, especially as society grows ever more dependent on technology, and it's important for teachers to know how to keep their students safe online.

This event will take place March 12, 2014 at 7 PM in the Teacher Prep Centre! Education students in attendance will receive a signed certificate, and drinks and snacks will be provided also! This event is open to non-Education students as well, so bring your friends!

Technology is a door that we as teachers must take

 

I’m going to outright and say it. I was a terrible student in highschool and elementary school. I discovered in my second semester of my first year of college that I had a learning disability which explained a lot about the story of my life. I was diagnosed with dysgraphia, a learning disability that explains a lot from my life. But today I’m in my fourth year of University, with a higher average than many of my

peers. Sounds unreal, yes? All I needed were some tools to help me walk along a path, a path that is not similar to what many of my peers have taken. I went along a newer path that not many take, and that many educators are afraid of.

Today we have text to speech programs, audio books, videos about everything on youtube, and access to every other teacher in the world. Students who learn better hearing instead of seeing have resources. Students who learn better seeing rather than hearing will always have resources. Some students remember better when writing things down for themselves and some like to type. We have the technology to have them take photos of their work and put it online on blogs or wikis, or to have them create videos as an assignment. If us as teachers are having difficulties, we can use a hashtag and twitter, contact and get advice from leaders in the digital world, look online for pre-made lessons or ideas, and many other things.afraid of. I used technology to help my learning. Laptops and tablets for note taking to counteract a crampy hand after a paragraph of writing (i thought everyone had this happen to them!) and so that I could have something to look at while I am listening to the lecture (losing attention) and something that I organized and wrote to maximize my learning and remembering (poor memory) plus a large diversity of reasons.

So why is it that we as educators are not embracing these? They are obvious benefits and by refusing to do so, we are teaching in the hidden curriculum to only stick with what you know, and to not embrace change.