In Michael Wesch’s Lecture “An anthropological introduction to youtube.” He discusses the increase in content and ability to connect with people at a rate never seen before because of the internet. He talks about how simple it is for regular people to put content out and connect with people from all walks of life and all across the world.
Implications for Education
With social media rapidly becoming more and more of a norm, and access to social media increasing every day, it is more important than ever for teachers to be aware of how media works and how social media is being used.
I am and have been mostly focused on teaching in really young grades, I have never taught in a later elementary classroom, let alone in a middle or high school class. So I have been spared, to some extent, the worries and issues that arise with free access to social media. Most of my students have not had a lot of access to the internet, let alone to social media of their own, but even then, I am seeing how social media and the internet creeps in to even really young classrooms. From grade two students doing TikTok dances in the middle of class, to them asking for specific YouTube videos to be played on the smartboard, even the youngest of students are connected in a way that wasn’t happening a decade or even a few years ago.
I have seen in both my teaching and my schooling experience the way that social media and the internet or internet culture is handled, and I really feel like it hasn’t been handled well. Governments, School Divisions, Administrators, and Teachers need to shift priorities and focus off of trying to keep students off of social media and instead teaching them to use it responsibly. Social Media is a really great tool for education (especially with older students) and so using it or even encouraging use of it has the potential to give students important knowledge and opportunities.
In many cases, it has taken this pandemic for schools to realize that digital tools and digital literacy are skills that are necessary and should be honed. Children are excited about technology and schools would likely do well to capitalize on that. Some schools are moving towards this, and I have seen that although it is a lot of work, it really gets students interested and involved.
A friend of mine has a younger brother and with the support of the school, he has been given opportunities to learn to code, and he has for the last several years been working on developing an educational game. This is a sixteen year old that has been given opportunities, tools, and support to create something useful and to learn at the same time. I think that this new digital reality should be embraced, it helps to give kids skills that they will be using in their future, and it has a huge potential to supplement and further encourage learning.