In our EDTC 300 class this week we watched this video by Michael Wesch. As Wesch pointed out, and as we discussed in class, our digital world brings endless possibilities but many challenges. Educating ourselves on digital matters is crucial so we can then educate our students. We should incorporate technology into our classroom and show students the benefits of it and allow them to explore. However, we also need to be honest about the negatives and consequences of it.
Being honest with our students about both will hopefully foster an open environment where students feel safe to talk both about their successes and troubles with technology. We also watched some documentaries on the case of Amanda Todd for our class. I remember being somewhere in grades 6-8 when hearing about Amanda Todd at school, and seeing all the posts about her on Facebook. Our teacher had a conversation with us about it… we may have even had a school assembly… I forget but all I know is that it was definitely addressed at school. I think this is partly was this new digital world means for schools, which is being aware of things that are happening on the internet, both good and bad, and being willing to discuss both sides.
Something that is important to talk about when discussing our digital world is participatory culture. This is another online thing that can be both good and bad. Students can be negatively impacted by following harmful trends that they originally think are funny but end up hurting themselves or others (for example, cyber-bullying). However, it can also be something that brings students and classrooms together. In his video, Wesch talks about how one video was shared on YouTube, where a man was just singing and dancing like nobody was watching, and this created a huge trend where people posted a video of themselves dancing along to this fun song. This created a fun and welcoming community where people were being themselves without judgement. So, what does this mean for the classroom? I think teachers can use participatory culture to help educate their students by being aware of social media, technology, and trends that are going. Teachers and schools must be actively incorporating these things into their classroom so that learning is relevant and relatable for students. A good example is teachers on TikTok doing 1-minute lessons, or teachers making professional Instagram accounts where they post about projects or events that happened in their classroom. I shared this on my Twitter but if you haven’t seen this video, I definitely recommend watching it:
In a world where almost all students have some kind of social media account it’s important for us to be there with them in an appropriate way so there’s not so much of a barrier in between “school” and “social media”, since they can be and, in many cases, are linked. This new digital world brings both scary consequences and amazing possibilities, but I think if we can educate ourselves and students we can do great things in our digital world.