After 6 weeks of leading four thirty minute recorded Google Meet calls a week, I have learned so much from the students I call my advisees. Distance Learning has provided me a no longer “unique” experience, but a new learning experience to dive head-on into a steep learning curve of which is digital everything. From assignments, discussions, assessments, feedback, and planning, Distance Learning has really allowed us to hit pause on the academic side and further explore the social-emotional health and well-being side of our students. Having four regularly scheduled times to meet with my small group of Penguins (mascot at the Anglo-American School of Moscow) this “advisory time” allowed us to take a break from the school day and just hang out, play games, get creative, and share thoughts and feelings about the ever-changing situation of being “overseas”.
- I’ve learned that how I connected with my friends at their age was much different, than what they experience in 2020. They no longer have memorized telephone numbers, or have to wait for a parent to get off the phone before getting on the internet (they’ll never truly understand the struggles with dial-up and America Online). Or even younger, just riding a bike down the street to see if your friend was home. Though as an adult, my connections are much more similar to my students based on two things: technology and the international community. Third Culture Kids and international teachers will already have mixed similarities when it comes to communication because it is the life chosen. How many of my friends back home had no idea about the “What’s App” app for easy worldwide communication, or evening just dialing the plus sign before a telephone number. TCK’s are now communicating more than ever through SnapChat and TikTok, apps I have yet had any interest in exploring. Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Skype are still three of the most common social media formats I use to stay close with my friends and family. Even my 90 year old Grandmother is on Facebook, regularly liking posts and knows how to operate a webcam for regular chats on skype, yet all three main formats I use are “not cool” amongst my middle school Penguins.
I especially loved the article: Where Weird Facebook is King, where at the end, he writes the RIP section for all social media who have just disappeared or are no longer common amongst his circle of friends. When seeing that list I couldn’t help but think of all the different apps and platforms that are out there, that I haven’t even heard of, yet were at one time #trending even if just for a brief period. Unlike ones that I thought wouldn’t last, like Twitter, just seem to stick around and I find my self needing to continue learning about.
Or his take on the “emphasis on videos over text has made the platform more engaging and shareable, since videos are (currently) one of the most engaging formats” yet how many people in those videos do you actually know? We surround ourselves every day with short video clips of complete strangers, yet stress the importance of making real-life connections.
Do you have the courage to create something of your very own?… And Post it for the world to see.
- I used to think social media in the hands of my students was just an open unsupervised doorway for bullying and dangerous situations for them to get themselves into. But now, as an educator, I see the amount of time and effort spent on helping guide students through this new digital age, where every 5th grader has cell phone. I can also start to see the positives, such as: -Creative dances and humor expressed in the latest TikToks Dance moves. -Shared opinions and heartfelt debates in recorded Podcasts. -Fancy videos with editing skills for “picture in picture” explaining the latest Algebraic Math problems along with Advocating for their own Special Educational Needs. It’s with all these things, I think how wonderful it is our students have literally everything at their fingertips helping guide what kind of human they will be and all the things they will create and share in their lifetime. Literally with recordings and photos to capture everything. I’m certainly glad that embarrassing teenage moments were much harder to capture on film in the 80’s and 90’s than they are now.
- Social interactions and communication are changing, as with all the different digital formats it allows people to participate as much and as extensively as they would like, to as little as they may desire (back to the lurker stage).
To be honest, I don’t use social media in my classroom, at least not often or in the creative ways, I know great educators are doing, but I am confident that in my Learning Resource Class for students who have identified learning needs, students are learning to communicate appropriately and effectively in their general education classrooms and hopefully taking these skills outside the classroom and generalizing them in their on-line behaviors off-campus.
We need to not only value the social spaces of our students but role model and demonstrate to them that we value their digital identities and importance that social media plays as they continue to navigate their path in life.
We continue to encourage our students to participate in all of it, for me, specifically within Individualized Learning Plan goals & constant on-going reflection and teaching and monitoring self-regulatory skills.
I support my colleagues in understanding the effect social media has on our communication by regularly sharing and keeping the dialogue open about the communication taking place. I also encourage “out of office” communication time, hosting zoom calls, and placing an emphasis on personal lives more than on “work talk”. It is equally important to share with friends and colleagues when you may see a post that isn’t aligned with your morals and values and start an open honest dialogue about it vs. the easy route of blocking, unfollowing, pausing, or muting, or even the most extreme- unfriending.
“The real threat isn’t smartphones. It’s this campaign of misinformation and the generation of fear among parents and educators.”The Kids (Who Use Tech) Seem to be Alright Scientific American
Other interesting reads related to this topic, I found taken from Psychology Today: “What Can You Learn About People From Facebook?” it explores the different personality traits one can exhibit based on the types of posts they create or share. It makes me think…..
What do your posts say about you?
I’d like to think mine would show the world I am a humorous, creative individual or known as a crazy cat woman, but at times I now know my post also reflect my massive hatred for Trump2020.
Can all readers tell I am fluent in sarcasm as well? Maybe, but maybe not.