During last Thursday evening’s BigMarker session, we briefly spoke about the Thai commercial, Disconnect to Connect, which I had seen previously and really enjoyed watching again. I also came across another video which was new to me, a video from the Philippines, Disconnect to Reconnect. It is a little long (almost 12 minutes), but completely worth it and made me reflect on the need for myself to be a good role model at showing my students a sense of balance when using technology. Go ahead, watch it, if you have some time. You’ll enjoy it!
Reading the ‘Messing Around’ chapter in MacArthur’s Living and Learning in New Media: Summary of Findings From the Digital Youth Project got me thinking. Now, I’m all for messing around and tinkering on the computer, but I have 4 iMacs in my Year 2 (1st grade) classroom. We have a laptop cart that is available on a limited basis in our library but when we are working on something, whether it is blogging, creating animations, etc, I generally do prefer my students to stay on task until they are finished. I’ll leave the messing around until they are in a 1-1 classroom, in Year 5, thank you very much! Last week we had Student Led Conferences, where I had set up 4 different stations around the room, a Math station, a Portfolio station, a Mandarin station and an ICT station. Students led their parents for 15 minutes to each station. For our ICT station, the students were showing their parents their folder with all the things they have created this year. My job during SLC’s is to generally let the children lead the conference, and I am the facilitator. Imagine my surprise when I saw a mom rolling on the floor with laughter. Her son was showing her some of the videos that were on the desktop and he showed her another student’s video she must have created using Photo Booth. You could not make this stuff up! I guess my students ARE messing around.
Reading the MacArthur Foundation‘s, Living and Learning with New Media: A Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project was interesting. It got me thinking about how different my teen years were from today’s teens. I actually really feel sorry for them. I starting thinking about the first time I saw Katy Perry‘s video for Last Friday Night. I really chuckled at her sense of humor, I could see my own geeky teen self in her character as I remembered the cringe-worthiness of the teenage years. But that is where it is – in my memory. I can laugh at it – but today’s teens, as the MacArthur Foundation highlighted, are living in a different time where “pictures of last night ended up online, I’m screwed” and to be honest, I’m glad those pictures of my awkward time are sketched in my memory and not on the internet for an audience to see!
The implications of this can be damaging, and many teens aren’t aware of this. My cousin’s daughter is 15 and I mentioned to her over Christmas that I’d seen her Facebook photos and I told her I thought she should take some of the more risque ones down. She really didn’t see a problem with photos of her in a provocative dress, she felt it was “part of her personality, just a little part” and there were “lots of parts of her personality”. Yes, teens are self absorbed, we all were teens at one point but the long term implications for her and myself are very different.
I enjoyed reading about the different ways young people use technology – whether “Hanging out” “Messing around”, or “Geeking Out” I find the “always on” communication to be disturbing. Why should teens always be available for communicating with others? I also found the relationship of Alice and Jesse to be a bit bizarre and very different from my own teen relationships. I don’t have children yet but I’m feeling a bit frightened for my future children!