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Tag Archives: Social Media

Could they be social minus the media? Dire mental health finding

If you have teenagers, you know the dilemma. How do we get them to make connections without a device?

A subset of this includes:

  • How do we keep the phone away from the dinner table?
  • At what time should all devices be off in the home?
  • Is there a good reason to allow my daughter to use Snapchat? Or Instagram?*

As someone who once conducted workshops on how to adopt social media, I feel it is my responsibility to now warn young people about the unintended consequences of trying to be ‘social’ via a screen. We don’t need research to tell us that a generation could be experiencing serious issues very soon if we thrust smart phones into their hands, and hope for the best.

This research just in: Mental health and Instagram. 

Conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK, it has young people using words like ‘fake,’ ‘intimidating,’ and ‘superficial’ to describe platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. The report explains how:

  • Young people say that 4 of the 5 social media channels make their feelings of anxiety worse!
  • A phenomenon called ‘Facebook Depression‘ which involves being ‘constantly contactable’ and having unrealistic expectations of reality. I had never heard of such a phenomenon, though suspected this existed.
  • FoMo (Fear of missing out) is also a thing, and is another cause of distress, something adults are just getting to know about.
  • There are indeed opportunities, despite the dire warning this report sends out.

Not many young people realize that Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp. 

 

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VR, 3D modeling, and social media to kick off Digital Learning Month

Digital Learning Day is on Feb 23rd, but this year we are kicking off a whole month of digital learning at Salt River Elementary.

Tomorrow, our students will learn from designers and programmers what being digital means.

3D Sculpting & VR. Students will learn from designers and animators at TimeFire VR Inc what 3D mesh sculpting and painting on 3-D models involve. An exciting hands-on sessions using Blender, and SculptGL. They will also experience what these virtual worlds look like through VR goggles.

Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media. Students will learn from Web3Mavens how to ‘Think like a programmer’ and navigate the world embedded with –or rather overlaid by — social media, particularly Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Wikipedia and YouTube.

And there’s much more in store during February!

 
 

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Is there an app for civic awareness?

I have begun looking into a site called Countables, positioned as a tool to connect people with those in government, including one’s state representatives.

However, civic awareness (or the lack thereof) may need more than an app. There’s a video going around showing students of a Texas university being asked basic questions such as ‘Who won the Civil War?’ or Who is our vice president?” Watch!

The producers of PoliTech, say they interviewed 20 to 30 students, of which only 30 percent knew the answers to some of the questions.In this context it seems obvious that a pre-requisite for getting young people to be better informed, is to get them better engaged.

  • In 2002, a study by National Geographic found that less than half the Americans could identify France, the United Kingdom or Japan on a world map. (Fewer than 2 in 3 could find China on a map of the Middle East/Asia…half of young Americans could find New York, etc)

Next week is Digital Learning Day, an event I participate in with my classes. Perhaps there should be a Civics Literacy Day.

 

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Social Media

 

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Media Illiteracy prevails, and the adults aren’t off the hook

As our modes of communication grow smarter, we seem to be doing a shoddy job of using them. This is not just about the misuse of Twitter, of which dumb tweets are legion. Such as a Time correspondent firing off a tweet wishing for a drone strike on Julian Assange in 2013. This is about young people who have too powerful publishing tools at their disposal. If you like to know more, you will love this compilation!

This week, six High School students in Arizona got themselves and their school into serious trouble, using SnapChat. They got a picture of themselves taken wearing shirts that spelled out a racial slur. They learned, too late, that an app’s ability to ‘communicate’ should not define the message. (If none of them had data-enabled mobile devices would anyone have even bothered setting up the shot?).

An editorial in the Arizona Republic asked how students who have gone through a curriculum that probably included close reading and discussion of the civil war era, could have been so crass.

It’s hard to imagine these girls got this far in school without reading the ugly chapters in American history about the enslavement and oppression of Black people. Did they fail to pay attention? Did they fail to connect the dots to real people?

Let’s not get parents off the hook. How much time are we spending with young people to inform them about media use? It’s easy to be tool literate and media stupid.

Here are some thoughts for parents who may be considering giving a teenager (actually pre-teens, now) a mobile device:

  1. You pay for the phone and the data plan. You own the device; you set the rules. A phone is not like a pair of shoes, it doesn’t have to belong to the end-user.
  2. You better decide on the apps that get on the phone. Don’t complain later when a kid is spending too much time on Insta-brag or Brat-chat. I mean Instagram and Snapchat.
  3. Like your car keys, devices not owned by a child should be stored outside of bedrooms at night.
  4. It’s possible for homework assignments to be completed without digital devices. Really!
  5. Make sure your child makes every effort to not be in a video taken by a fellow insta-bragger.
  6. Finally, make sure your child’s school has a policy that has been updated to match the ubiquity and speed of shared media. It’s no longer valid to call it a ‘social media policy’. It’s a device use policy.
 

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Technology in schools. Love it or hate it?

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Touch screens and Robotics. My classroom this yea

In my upcoming July technology column I analyze the pros and the cons of Technology in Education. A few in my network have asked me about my thoughts on this ever-changing topic. (In Oct 2014 I did cover it – “Disrupting Education)

Here’s a summary of what’s to come. As you and I witness the discomforting transition from text books to tablets, from hand-outs to videos-as-homework, from sequential ‘lectures’ to disruptive (noisy) small group activity, it’s easy to fold our hands across our chests and fight it. But there are some compelling arguments on both sides. The Wall Street Journal, and the International Association of Technology in Education almost in the same week ran Pro and Con arguments about Ed-Tech. I get both sides! In my classes I argue against the inane use of social media for the sake of ‘publicity’, but I encourage thought use of digital media with real, and real-time audience participation.

‘Hall and Stevens’ Vs Khan Academy. In my younger days, I had to thumb through Hall and Stevens, the geometry ‘bible.’ Today’s kids are learning geometry from a guy called Salman Khan, founder the free online learning portal for mathematics and science. (Fun sidebar: ‘Hall and Stevens’ is available as an eBook; flip the pages as if it was a real book, here: https://archive.org/details/schoolgeometry00hall

Screen Time vs Think Time. I am a big proponent of virtual and augmented reality, especially if it could bring in ‘distant’ experiences (Civil War, 3D models of engineering, space science etc), but I also aggressively advocate limited screen time. Odd isn’t it? That’s the dilemma we educators and parents face. Augmented Reality

Your son or daughter probably goes to school with a device in her backpack with more processing power than the rocket that took men to the moon, and this child wants to be… an astronaut? You’ve forgotten how to log into your son’s school website to download his missed homework, but… he’s found a way to ‘jailbreak’ your cell phone? There are ‘teaching moments’ in all of these.

Sal Khan speaks of the “fundamentally dehumanizing experience” in education. And he was not talking about teenagers and even pre-teens staring at their phones and not talking to one another. A real, ‘digital citizenship’ crisis, right now! He was referring to children packed in a classroom! Hmm!

Love it or hate it, technology is gate crashing our class rooms, just like ball-point pens or calculators once did. Are you ready for it?

 

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Sochi’s ‘Teaching Moments’ through social filters

How to teach social media, without actually calling it social media?

That’s one of the challenges I run into, now and then. To many young students –and I am talking those elementary school to whom “hash tag” means something else entirely–, there is no big distinction between media variants. Newspapers, photo albums, television, encyclopedias etc all belong to one blurry category.

You will probably hear this often – schools are really anxious about (social) media behaviors and the flood of tools that enable them. I take what might seem a contrarian approach: It’s better to prepare students for responsible use of digital media, than ask them to check them at the door.

Yesterday Feb 5th was Digital Learning Day, so it was a good day, as any to address some of these topics. Since this week also happens to be the opening week of the Olympics, I tried to pull these two strands together. As always there was a lucky collusion of opportunities.

  • Padlet - OlympicsTo bring this all together in a classroom experience I began experimenting with a website another teacher referred me to: Padlet. It lets a student import content into a page in a variety of ways – from PDF to QR code, to an embed link – as you could see here. or via this QR Code it generates.

Some of these open the door to what we educators like to call Teaching Moments. To deal with topics such as:

Copyright. What does that mean in a link economy, where someone could embed a video or link to something without violating intellectual property rights? Even the International Olympic committee has had to spell out its SM Policy about blogging and tweeting. Even grown ups need to abide by an event or site’s rules – such as this, below that says one cannot ‘assume’ a reporter’s persona!

Olympic_SMPolicy

Collaboration: The connectivity students take for granted (the always-on wi-fi) makes it possible to have a close conversation with a total stranger, and learn from him/her, but at the same time, sharing personal information with someone on a public channel could be dangerous.

Old media that was decidedly one-way, locked down, or expensive didn’t allow some of these opportunities, but it also protected us from the torrent of meaningless discussions, and TMI. Maybe there’s a lesson in that too.

If you’re curious about Padlet, here’s what the page looks like:
Padlet_SRE_Olympics

http://padlet.com/wall/m2iy0fn1fy.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Best Practices, Social Media

 

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With so many social media ‘ninjas’ (and mavens and gurus), you’d think we cracked the code

I did a search of books on social media, and there are (get ready for this) 286,797 books out there on Amazon. That’s about 119,000 more people than the population of Tempe, Arizona.

No shortage of experts, too, in this vast field of social media.  B.L. Ochman, writing for Advertising Age recently noted that there are 181,000 Social Media ‘Gurus,’ ‘Ninjas,’ ‘Masters,’ and ‘Mavens’ on Twitter.

She rightly suggests that we are on guru overload.

“The fact remains: a guru is something someone else calls you, not something you call yourself.”

I cannot agree with her more, and made this point when I was speaking in Sri Lanka earlier in June. The media like to call anyone who address an audience as a guru and I had to debunk the notion, much to the alarm of some.

You would imagine that, with so many experts and gurus, we ought to have found the perfect recipe for using social media. But we haven’t. And will never quite get it, for the simple reason that the goal posts are constantly being moved. There are no seven golden rules. There is no no lost manual

I address this because whenever I am asked what Chat Republic is about, I could come up with a pat answer that might fit onto the back of a business card, or make a nice elevator speech. But I try to resist this. I’m sorry, I don’t give that elevator speech, because:
(a) That would imply this is a one-size-fits-all book
(b) That something as wide –and murky–as social media could be given the Cliff Notes treatment, or be condensed into 140-characters

If someone is looking for that, I could refer that person to an afore-mentioned ‘ninja. There are plenty of them to outnumber the population of Belgium, Portugal and Greece combined!

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2013 in Book, Chat Republic, Social Media

 

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