digital_nation: my thoughts

The Frontline video we were assigned to watch for class was very interesting and I highly suggest you check it out if you have not seen it yet! After just watching the first chapter “Distracted by Everything” I had a lot of thoughts pop into my brain (but I encourage you to watch the whole thing…it’s really interesting!) The people interviewed in the video talked about how not many years ago, the whole world was different! I especially liked when the woman said when she went on vacation, she simply did not know anything that went on while they were gone because they did not have cell phones! These days it almost feels like people go on vacation just to be able to take pictures and share it on social media! We are no longer living in the moment; we are living in our phones and social media, which is really kind of sad.

When it got to the MIT portion of the video, I felt like I was taken right back into my college classes! Seeing as though I just graduated from college not even a year ago, I could definitely relate to those students. I know we think that we are capable of multitasking, but one of my psychology professors informed us that there is in fact no such thing as multitasking… I know I love having my laptop in front of me during a lecture because I could catch up on e-mails, browse Pinterest and other social media, and work on some homework! As much as I loved having access to all of that, I hate to say it but clearly there was no way I was fully paying attention to what my professor was saying during those lectures.

What college classes used to look like….

…compared to what college classes look like now!

Look at the image I posted right above…you can see that none of the students are looking at the same thing on their screens. I see pictures of a baby, random video websites, social media sites, etc; none of which seems to relate to what the professor has posted in the front of the lecture hall!

I can imagine how difficult it would be for a professor to stand in front of a room full of students and watch them all stare at their screens rather than engaging in the lesson! I actually feel bad for them when it feels like they’re begging students to participate because they know no one is paying attention. However, if a lesson is interesting enough, students will want to pay attention! Although I wasn’t happy about it, I found that I really did learn a lot more when my teachers had a no laptop/cell phone policy in their class. I was forced to focus on them and what they had to say. I also found that handwriting my notes actually helped me to retain the information a lot better than when I type them. I can type so quickly that I end up simply copying down exactly what the teacher provided on the slides, rather than actively processing what is being presented and writing it in my own way.

 

As a student, I loved being able to use my devices during class, but as a teacher I don’t think I would allow it! I think in order to actually teach students, we need everyone to be actively engaged and have conversations and discussions with each other. I think there should be certain times to allow technology in the classroom, like when the teacher knows it will actually enhance the students learning, rather than hinder it. I definitely see the benefits of using technology and I am a huge tech fan! But like I said, teachers should plan certain times and occasions for using mobile devices rather than allowing students to use them at all times. I just think it’s too much of a distraction, because I myself get distracted!

 

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Social Media Connects Us

For my ED554 Technology class, one of our assignments was to create a professional Twitter account (Follow me @MorganGraves37 !) I have been using my personal Twitter for about 4 years now, but I used it mainly to follow my friends and celebrities that I like. I use that account for more of an entertainment purpose and to see what my friends are up to.

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Almost everyone you can think of uses Twitter these days, especially educators! I was talking to my 4th grade elementary school teacher just the other day about twitter and social media and I was fascinated to learn that twitter had become a huge part of their curriculum. The elementary school just created their own account, and they use it to connect with parents and staff. It is a quick way to send out last minute information instantly. For example, the school will send out a tweet if a school event is cancelled due to poor weather. My teacher was also telling me that she uses it to keep her student’s families in the loop. She takes pictures of her students in the classroom or on field trips and tweets them out to her followers. This is a great way to keep parents informed about what exactly their children are doing while at school! I thought this was such a good way to incorporate technology into the classroom.

While browsing my twitter feed, I came across an account @WeAreTeachers that one of my classmates Emma had retweeted. That is the great thing about Twitter–it’s so easy to find new accounts to explore just by scrolling through your feed. We Are Teachers has their own website with fantastic resources for teachers! There are so many helpful tips and links on their website, but one I found particularly interesting was about Fairy Tales. As a future teacher it can be overwhelming to think of all the required lesson planning and on top of that, how to make those lessons creative. We Are Teachers posted an article called “Fairy Tales Gone Wild: 10 Creative Ways to Teach Fairy Tales.” This caught my eye, not necessarily because I have a strong interest in Fairy Tales, almost more for the opposite reason. Sure we have all read the classic fairy tales, but to come up with creative ways to teach them to students seems like a daunting task. Especially since the majority of fairy tales were written many many years ago, it may be hard to relate them to today’s youngest generation.

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We Are Teachers collected tips from teachers from across the country about how the best way to teach fractured fairy tales. They are super helpful, especially for new teachers like myself. They give ideas about how to introduce the lesson, what projects to include, what stories to read, and what discussions to have with students. At the end of the post they also include lists of fractured fairy tale stories to use! This post is just one example of the amazing resources they have for teachers. Without my twitter or blog, I may never have found out about this fantastic resource! I encourage you all to check out weareteachers.com and to follow them @WeAreTeachers on Twitter!

 

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#GenerationLike

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Frontlines “Generation Like” is a very interesting video and was truly eye opening for me. I consider myself very tech-savvy and I use all sorts of social media. However, I was completely unaware of the immense amount of time and thought that teens are putting in to establishing their online profiles. I use Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, but only to connect with people I actually know or have met in real life. I am wary about what I put on the Internet, because it is truly accessible by anybody around the world. It seems that teens these days were never told to be cautious of what they post, and instead do the opposite. They are now documenting every single part of their lives, whether it is through pictures, videos, or tweets.

Students are being introduced to new technology and social media at such a young age these days that it has become a new way of life. There are so many new terms used by young people surrounding social media, such as hashtag, selfie, tweet, and vlog, just to name a few. These are words that grab young peoples attention and are a part of their daily language. Like the video said, we are apart of a digital revolution that is here to stay. Children and teens are putting themselves out there for the world to see, and are expecting validation and attention in return. The video pointed out that social media gives them a sense of empowerment; it gives them a voice. There are things that could be said face-to-face that might get made fun of, but on the Internet, there is always at least one person that relates to it.

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It is important, that with all this new technology, for educators to try and understand this revolution and use it to their advantage. There are many ways to incorporate the new lingo into the classroom in a way that will enhance learning. Things like “hashtags” are relevant to their way of life, so using it in lessons and exercises can make it so students are engaged and interested to learn.  #learningcanbefun. The video pointed out that social media is all about sharing and collaboration. Kids are helping kids succeed all around the world. This can be used in the classroom as well. Similar to what we are doing in this 554 Tech class with our blogs, children can be using similar tactics. By following and sharing our classmate’s posts, we’re helping to expand their network. There are definitely ways of incorporating similar methods into the classrooms of children and teens.

“Generation Like” really gave us an inside look of the minds of the current teens around the world. We may not know what the next big thing is going to be, but we can fully believe that social media is not going anywhere. If anything, it will only keep getting bigger. As educators it is important to understand what and whom our students are interacting with in order to provide them with the best possible education. If we refuse to change our ways, then we are doing nothing but hindering the success of a brilliant generation.

I encourage all of you to check out Generation Like here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/