The Walkman, now that brings back memories of my teenage years. In our EDTEC 300 class lecture, Alec Couros, explains how in the 1980’s the Walkman was thought to end socialization as teenagers like myself, tuned the world out and listened to music. As we know society didn’t fall apart, but it did start to change.
Twenty-five years later YouTube was created, and again just like the Walkman teenagers were captivated. Only instead of passively listening to music they could actively participate; this time teenagers could be part of the music and show themselves to the world. YouTube made uploading easier and as Michael Wesch says in his An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube YouTube helped create a “new cultural order”. Anyone with a webcam and connection to the internet could make movies the world can see. YouTube helped connect everyone globally and created a communication network. It doesn’t matter where you live we are linked together through YouTube in new and different ways.
Wesch points out that our society has changed and the communities our grandparents were part of don’t exist in the same way any more. We are social creatures and still need to feel connected with friends, family, and community. YouTube and the internet has replaced our sense of disconnect by creating an electrical community. We long for stronger relationships and can now have them due to the internet and YouTube.
We have a new culture of participation.
According to Alec Couros in our EDTEC 300 class, “92% of toddlers in the US have a digital footprint, and 34% of children have a digital footprint before they are even born. On average there are 1500 images of children before their 5th birthday. The world has changed. Children on average spend 6 hours a day having screen time, and that doesn’t include the time using computers at school. Children are active participants in our new digital world.”
In Alec’s video Identity in a Digital World, he explains that students don’t see their private lives separately from their digital lives, and we as educators have a role in guiding our students. Our classrooms need to change.
In Alec Couros’ video Using Social Media in Education, he explains that our classrooms do need to change. The main focus of this change is the teacher; the teacher needs to model the use of technology in a positive way. Students learn positive social cues, and how technology should be used. Students need to have a positive digital identity, and it should be school’s responsibility to teach these skills. Google Drive, allows students to show what they have learned, as do ePortfolios and Instagram. Twitter is an excellent tool for finding information and connecting knowledge with student’s websites. The future classroom will have more technology and easier access for students to use a computer.
The internet provides vast amounts of information and allows students to participate in their education in new and innovative ways which is great. But, there is a downside. In Amber Barwell’s article Couros and Wesch – An Internet Education she paraphrase’s Alec Couros’s negative aspects of the internet discussed in our EDTEC 300 class lecture. Ask.fm is an anonymous sharing site, that was originally created to allow people to express themselves anonymously, but “it’s turned into the perfect environment for cyber-bullying” (Barwell). Cyber-bullying can become so extreme; the pressure and stress of hurtful words can push young adults beyond despair and see suicide as their only option.
Alec Couros’ presentation in our EDTEC 300 class was informative, fun, and yet gut wrenching. The thoughts of students using today’s technology to hurt someone so deeply, the victim sees suicide as their only way out is terribly disturbing. I’m glad I now know this information as I didn’t before. The internet is a great tool, but it can have deadly consequences. Now I know the ramifications of this tool, I can prepare myself and my students to have a positive digital identity, and not fall into the pitfalls.
Michael Wesch’s video, demonstrates that I’ve been living in my own world since the internet was created. All of his fun antics, and humor were directed at an audience who knew the videos that had gone viral on YouTube, which I didn’t. The internet has morphed as have we, it’s become more important in our lives and become part of our human psyche. How interesting!
I need to learn, understand, and start participating in this new reality.