Excuse me while I ramble in trying to understand my own fears. Feel free to jump to the questions and skip my confusion.
The reason I decided to take my Education Technology course (EDTC) is because I have a huge lack of confidence when it comes to technology. Technology is growing and changing so fast, I can’t keep up, and I don’t think I ever will. However, my thought is that if I can be aware of the changes happening, the networking potentials, and if I can understand, teach, and implement internet safety I will be able to help my students succeed. EDTC is helping me step outside of my comfort zone and network worldwide through twitter, it is building my toolbox by providing me helpful resources to use in the classroom, and it is helping me understand just how powerful technology is and continues to become.
Our latest discussion in EDCT 300 discussed the new culture of participation through technology. We have access to essentially anyone from anywhere in the world through web pages, blogs, YouTube, twitter, and many other social networking outlets. My initial thoughts… SCARY! How? How has our world managed to create such a powerful socialization community? But, I mean, WOW! What amazing opportunities it has created. Business, collaboration, teaching, learning, relationships, communication and so much more is accessible at our fingertips. Every. Single. Day. What does this mean for me as a new teacher? How will this affect how and what I teach? What does this mean for my students? What do they need to be prepared to use these outlets?
I will be completely honest, I am still trying to figure out the answers to these questions. During EDTC we discussed that teaching internet safety is crucial, but not just to grade 8 students, children are using technology before they even come to school. We need to begin teaching online safety as they come into school, and more in depth by grades 3 and 4, reinforcing it year after year. We discussed that we need to be using technology in the classroom to demonstrate safe practices, how to access and appropriately use technology to present information, learn, and interact in fun ways that enhance learning. The more we can expose the students to useful technology the more equipped they will be. Technology, whether we like it or not (I do not), is the future and it is only going to continue to advance.
We had the opportunity to view An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube by Wesch, which was presented in 2008- so keep in mind 11 years ago! Wesch said something that really stood out to me, “[internet] not just tools of communication, think of it as media mediating human relationships”. I cringed. I still cringe when I hear that because the truth in that one statement is exactly how I feel about technology these days. It has become a distraction, it has caused us to “disconnect” from the people in front of us, and it has changed the way that we communicate. While I obviously much prefer face-to-face communication and relationships, they are not as connected or intimate as they used to be, and I blame technology. Keep in mind these ideas are from my experience. However, Wesch suggests that the web and YouTube truly are “about linking people, sharing, trading, and collaborating. And I am not blind to the idea that he is absolutely correct, if we use it the web in the correct ways, with good intentions.
Something that Wesch said that lit up the teacher in me was that, in 2008, “over 50% [YouTube videos] have 18-24 year olds in them, and 25% have teens aged 12-17”. MIND BLOWN! So, I tried to find similar, more recent stats, I was unsuccessful. Although I can imagine it has only increased. The site Omnicore states, “Millennials prefer YouTube two to one over traditional television” (also recognizing the site OmnicoreAgency.com as the site asked), based on 2018 stats. From my own experience, almost all of my grade five students from internship watch YouTube daily, over TV shows or movies. This means that we truly NEED to be teaching technology safety on the internet and model this for our students, in my opinion, by grade 3 at the latest. Wesch showed us how his own video increased in views at an alarmingly fast rate by being shared and tagged on numerous other sites… the scariest part… without him even knowing it! *SHUDDER*.
So here are my questions for my readers:
- How can we ensure our students are using proper privacy settings? Is this our “job” or the parents?
- In what ways can I teach about internet safety that is not “boring”?
- What are your thoughts on the internet, is everyone as afraid as I am? How can I overcome this fear?
*note: I do realize the benefits of the networking, especially for gathering ideas, resources, guest speakers, and information from other educators that will benefit my learning and my students. I fear the social media, networking with “fakes” without knowing it, and the troubles and bullying children can get themselves into without even really knowing or understanding.