I had a hard time deciding what to do for my project. I struggled between wanting to learn something new for myself or a digital project that involves the integration of social media in my teaching practice. I brainstormed some different ideas:
Self: guitar, knitting, tarot card reading, energies of crystals
Digital: app, classroom blogging, podcast
I thought about the different ideas of something significant that I wanted to learn and then share my learning with everyone. I took guitar lessons when I was younger with little success. As an adult would I be able to strum some chords together? I consider myself to be musically inclined and thought this might not be worth my time and effort. Knitting was my other thought, but I am not that interested in knitting and I would lose interest very easily. I am drawn to tarot card reading. Tarot cards have piqued my interest in the last couple of years. I did some research on how to begin this process. After many google searches and reading up on the how-to, I feel I am not at the stage to begin this journey as it is a long one and not something you can just decide to do as it deals with tapping into your inner energy.
I then turned my direction to a digital project that I could do with my students. I have very eager students this year and thought this could be fun. An app or blogging did not actually interest me. I love listening to True Crime podcasts when I’m driving or getting ready for work in the morning (weird morning ritual I know). I think it is finding the answers to the events that I like. However, True Crime is not the best genre to work with students. The genre is something I need to figure out on the way with exploring podcasts with my class.
My first step was I sent out a tweet asking for good classroom podcasts. I received a few replies so I looked into them. I also spoke with a colleague about podcasts and she told me I should talk to our school librarian because she was doing some work with students using podcasts. Jara suggested some of the same podcasts that were recommended on Twitter.
I still have some planning and figuring out what this will look like before I jump into it with my students. I am hoping to begin the project in October and things run fairly smoothly.
So to be clear, I am on the edge of identifying as a millennial, according to Google. I was born in 1995, so I just made the cut. Isn’t it funny how we classify parts of our identity based on this category of defining people by their generation? It seems more apparent now than ever with the popular trending terms of Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Z’s. It also blows my mind that my current students are part of Gen Alpha. How weird is that!
Describe your relationship with social media. How has social media affected your personal or professional life in positive and negative ways?
Social media entered my life around the age of 11. It all started with MSN Messenger. Every year at summer camp, we would exchange emails and add each other on MSN and chat online with people we never saw again in person. Then quickly after came the age of creating Facebook profiles, and it exploded from there. By the time I reached high school, I had my first flip phone (Oh, how I miss that satisfying feeling) and hundreds of friends on Facebook. It was very typical to communicate with people over instant messaging and texting versus an actual phone conversation. The nostalgia brings me back.
I find myself caught in the middle of appreciating the rich childhood that I had, spending lots of time outdoors with friends and family, and staying up to date with the latest trends to connect with my students and their lives. (I also genuinely spend an embarrassing amount of time on TikTok out of pure enjoyment).
I was growing up during a time as social media platforms were being developed. There were little to no parameters surrounding privacy, online safety, cyberbullying, or digital citizenship. As a whole, we were learning on the go, and we definitely made mistakes along the way.
My experience with social media is generally very positive. I was not very often a victim of cyberbullying, and I had some parental guidance along the way to understand that I was responsible for my safety while online and using devices. However, I have witnessed the very dark side of social media and how it can be such a powerful influence on our social lives during such fragile times of a teenager’s life.
Looking back now as an adult, social media, in combination with other things such as the sports I was invested in and being a female, took a massive toll on my body image and self-esteem. As a national-level gymnast and cheerleader, I was in constant comparison of my body and skills. Social media is the ultimate comparison of our lives. We highlight all of the good and tuck away everything else behind closed doors. Recently, however, social media has shifted where we are starting to share more of our real-life behind the scenes, the good and the bad, thanks to a mental health and body positivity movement.
I am currently doing a lot of unlearning regarding my own identity, self-worth, and confidence. Playing the comparison game had me editing and photoshopping photos to feel good enough to post them for the world to see, even if it wasn’t an accurate representation of who I was. Today, I have consciously chosen to like and follow people and accounts that make me feel represented and not ashamed about the stage of life that I currently am in. Instagram and Facebook often left me feeling defeated and that I always had something I needed to do better. My entire newsfeed has shifted now that I have removed the negativity on my screen that I saw every day and replaced it with content that makes me feel accepted and human.
Social media has a place in this world. It is not going away any time soon. The way we navigate it is a personal journey, and it is easy to slip into the comments threads that include all of the trolls of the internet. We have to remind ourselves constantly that what we see online is just one fraction of what is going on in the moment in real-time. Things are not always what they see. Teaching this to the next generation has never been more critical than now.
Hi there! Welcome to the section of my blog where I will be documenting my thoughts and reflections as I embark on the journey of social media and open education with Alec Couros. I am looking forward to into integrating my new learnings from this class to my teaching practice in the classroom. This is my second educational technology course and I am definitely starting to develop a passion for studying how to implement authentic use of technology in the classroom. I can’t wait to utilize this in my grade 6 classroom where I am twenty-eight pre-teens all learning how to navigate the internet. Wish me luck!