A Technological Reality: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

In regards to the use (and over-use) of “screens” by adolescents, I believe it is the responsibility of teachers (and schools) to discuss and model healthy relationships with technology. For instance, incorporating “unplugged” or “mindful moments” in class responds to Sherry Turkle’s call for action in her TED Talk back in 2012: “Start thinking of solitude as a good thing. Make room for it.” Further, Jurgenson’s article “The IRL Fetish,” (even when arguing against Turkle), adds to this idea by stating that students will appreciate and even, yearn for this break from technology and constant “connection;” “Nothing has contributed more to our collective appreciation for being logged off and technologically disconnected than the very technologies of connection.” Moreover, it is of even greater importance that schools create time and space to teach students about their digital identity, online safety, and the harmful effects of social media comparison.

As far as the education system as a whole goes, the best would be to allow the time and space for even more digital literacy skills in the curriculum. Further, teachers should be constantly offered the opportunity to increase their knowledge and familiarity with technology and social networking sites.

Through recent social media posts and news articles, I have been exposed to a variety of ways that teachers can embrace the amazing possibilities of this new reality. For the majority of young students, social media is their primary and only source for information about current events. Thus, as social media networks (like Twitter, Instagram, and Tik-Tok) are buzzing about Kobe Bryant’s passing and the spread of the coronavirus, so are the students in their classrooms.

kobe-jersey-retirement-wallpaper-4k“kobe-jersey-retirement-wallpaper-4k” by beast120815 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Many teachers have embraced this by incorporating these current events into lessons and even in ways of assessment. Here is a heartwarming example of a student’s “Kobe” project that I came across on my Twitter feed. Some of the challenges of this may be that social media tends to favour only one perspective or narrative (especially if an individual only follows accounts of those who share their opinions). However, I feel that this challenge can only provide more opportunities for learning to occur (and arguably a more important kind of learning). Students are often unaware of the stories that are being withheld from them on social media and thus, this allows teachers to create awareness of bias on social networking sites (and all sites). In regards to the current events I discussed previously, students may have had the opportunity to grieve and learn from Kobe Bryant’s tragic death but they may be missing out on the opportunity to have an important discussion concerning the implications this has on his rape case. Further, the coronavirus could serve as an opportunity to address bias and racism in social media and the news. As Postman states in his article, “Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change,” “We need to proceed with our eyes wide open so that we [may] use technology rather than be used by it.” If social media is consuming a student’s life, teachers and schools must use that to its full advantage by helping students to see the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

 

 

Becoming “Twittier”

The other night was my first time participating in a Twitter chat and I had no idea what to expect. Although I was a little nervous at first, I ended up discovering that the chat was really quite similar to having a group chat over text with a bunch of other people. It was really neat that we were able to have a discussion, that I would normally have with just my classmates, with people from all over. Not to mention, most of the participants were teachers. Most of the time, we (education students) are discussing topics surrounding education with each other, but we are mostly pre-service teachers so it is informative to hear perspectives from others that are already in the field. Moreover, the #saskedchat was the perfect opportunity for me to start making professional connections and up that “following/followers” count. However, something I did not enjoy was catching myself making my “concentration face” on zoom in between questions!

Dad Thinking“Dad Thinking” by handcoding is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

 

So far, the only negative aspect of Twitter, for me, is the character limit. However, I know that it used to be shorter (140 characters) and Twitter has recently doubled it to 280 characters. Further, I only ran into this problem once and that was during the #saskedchat so I do not anticipate this being a huge issue in the future.

Concerning my PLN on Twitter, I am looking forward to making more connections and having my account grow. The Twitter lists Katia provided will likely help to increase the number of accounts I follow and hopefully, the amount that follows me. Twitter is the first site that I have used strictly for educational purposes and it is neat to see the large community of educators on this network. In this way, it is quite different from my other social media platforms because when I open up Twitter, I am constantly being introduced to resources and research surrounding education. My favourite part about Twitter is seeing what is actually happening in classrooms on any given day (ie. science experiments, mindful moments, art projects, and more). These tweets make me excited about having my own classroom someday and also, give me inspiration for lesson plans. Another benefit of tweeting and checking my Feedly account is that every day, I am constantly exposing myself to articles that discuss education and educational technology. Therefore, this is something I will continue to do after this class to stay up-to-date with technological advances in education. Moreover, creating a “teacher Twitter” is a vital component of my PLN and will continue to be a way for me to connect with other (pre-)/teachers for years to come.

 

“Look me up”: My Social Media Presence

To begin examining my social media presence, I googled my name in the “incognito” tab on my laptop. Since my last name is not very common, I was not surprised to see results that were directly related to me and my various social media platforms. The first result is my personal Twitter account. This is a Twitter account that I have had since the age of 11 (I joined back in January of 2012) and although I have spent some time in the past year or so updating it and deleting older content, it is not an account that I would take pride in being my “teacher Twitter.” Therefore, when I was told we would use Twitter in this class, I had decided to make a new account that would be my professional Twitter account for staying informed about educational trends and for networking. Now that I see how heavily Twitter is used by educators to connect with one another, I have rethought keeping my personal Twitter at all. To be clear, there is nothing inappropriate or “scandalous” on my old Twitter account (it is not particularly active), however, it is an account that has been around for eight years. Moreover, my personal Twitter is not private and one of the features of Twitter is that people can view all your “liked” tweets. This is concerning as I have accumulated many liked tweets over eight years and can not be confident that all of them contain appropriate language. This directly relates to the STF, as it states, “Consider whether any content posted, shared or liked online may reflect poorly on you, your school or the teaching profession.” Next, I took a look at my Instagram. My Instagram is private but with that being said, there is no content on my Instagram that I would be ashamed of my colleague, employer, or students viewing. Further, I have a VSCO account that contains appropriate images. Next, I took a look at my Facebook which was pretty dull. Facebook is where you will find information about my softball team and my mother’s embarrassing (but sweet) posts about me. Thankfully, I can safely say that after examining my online presence, the most embarrassing thing I came across was my softball stats from last year.

#embarrassing (Trending Twitter Topics from 23.08.2019)“#embarrassing (Trending Twitter Topics from 23.08.2019)” by trendingtopics is licensed under CC BY 2.0

However, I realized that none of my social media accounts speak directly to who I am as an educator and thus, my new goal is to utilize these common platforms (Twitter, Instagram, VSCO, Facebook, etc.) to start reflecting my teaching philosophy and goals.

Moreover, my biggest goal to work towards with respect to my professional digital identity is my blog. Although I have spent some time this past week rearranging my “menu” on WordPress, I would like to add some pages such as “my teaching philosophy,” “lesson plans,” and more. Overall, I would like to move away from having “personal” social media accounts to having all my accounts be professional and about teaching because all of my accounts (professional or not) reflect on me and who I am as a teacher.

The Very Beginning…

Hello! I’m Kylie Matiowsky and I am in my second semester and second year of the secondary education program. My major is mathematics education and my minor is English education. My hometown is Souris, which is a small town in southwest Manitoba and is home to the longest swinging bridge in Canada. Outside of teaching, I enjoy playing softball, reading and spending time with my family and friends. I also play on the University of Regina Softball team, and we have been national champions for the past two years!

For the next several weeks, I will be posting on this blog for the educational technology course, EDTC 400! I am excited to get to know my classmates/colleagues and interact with them across a variety of social media platforms. For instance, you can take a look at my first tweet here. My goals for this class include:

  1. To gain confidence using technology in the classroom,
  2. To build\expand my online portfolio and,
  3. To improve my networking skills.

I’m looking forward to another great semester with Katia and to improve my digital literacy skills!

bitmoji

(Image obtained from bitmoji.)