Digital Activism

Photo CC By: SFview

We always hear that social media is what is ruining today’s youth. Kid’s nowadays are spending hours upon hours on social media, and some of that time causes problems with other kids such as; cyber bullying, constantly posting pictures of oneself and relentless re-posting of memes and GIF’s. Think about this, what if kid’s spent time posting and re-posting, to support a common cause and to stand up for their beliefs. What if they used it to be kind to each other, instead of put others down? Well that’s exactly what some young teenagers are beginning to do.

Teens are speaking out on social media about what is happening in their schools, hometowns, and nationwide. I think more than ever right now, teens are getting involved in the Presidential race. They are researching what a good president might need to be successful, and they are sharing their thoughts and ideas with friends on social-media. If you need to know anything abut social-media, is that everything posted on there can spread like wild-fire. Once one person see’s an activist post, they do their own research and post their own thoughts and feelings, and it goes on and on and on.

Photo CC By: Becca Peterson

With the wide reach of social media, these important people begin to take a listen of what these young people are protesting about, and they do something about it! Pretty cool huh?

I myself have felt the need to get involved in the politics of our country right now, because it is so detrimental that we take interest in the going’s on of our lives. We need to make a stand to change nutrition habits, healthcare doctrines, cabinet seekers, school activities and budgets and so on.

As much as I want to put my phone down, and stay away from social media, it IS like an addiction and it does become hard to spend less hours a day away from it. However, we can use it to stay informed, speak our minds (appropriately) and stand up for others thoughts and beliefs.

So should we be teaching our youth

to stay away from the gadget’s and gizmos? Or be showing them more productive use of their screen time? As a teacher, I have been told by other teachers the amazing effects that using social media in the classroom (and teaching students the appropriate use of it) has done wonders on student moral and learning. However, I just don’t know if I can bring myself to start this with my students. At what point do we get our students to go to a school board meeting to speak out? Or go to a county board meeting? Or rallies for activism all over the world? Shouldn’t we get kid’s out and about sharing their thoughts as well?

Back at My Independent Learning Project

Photo CC by: Carolyn B

I actually worked a lot on my quilt over the spring break. I didn’t measure the quilt quite right, so I ran out of cut out strips to sew together, for the 8″ blocks. I spent hours, I mean HOURS on cutting out a ton of strips so that my quilt looks more conformed. I also sewed the quilt “strips”, which consist of the 8″ square blocks (made of the strips I cut out),  altogether. So now everything that I have sewn so far, is one big piece of quilt!

I did this so that I can kind of lay it out easier, and see how many more strips of blocks I need to sew together to finish the whole top part of my quilt. The next step for me to take was to start to pin together the strips that I am going to sew.

Honestly, I learned a lot of patience this week. I need to slow down, and not try to hurry so that my quilt looks like it has quality to it not just “slapped together”. So the two hours a week that we are supposed to be working on this project, have turned into about two hours or so a day, just because it does take a lot of time for it to have that quality look, and everything matches up uniformly.

Photo CC By: Josie Ray

There were a few strips that I did sew together, and I sewed them on backwards. So…I had to go back, and rip each stitch out of them (which takes WAY longer to do this than it does to sew it), and then re-sew them together…the right way. Ugh!

Something else I learned this week is that I had wound the bobbin (the string inside the sewing machine that attaches itself to the needle’s string so the stitching is tight) in my sewing wrong and, the string was knotted. Well, that kind of ruins the material a bit! So, I YouTube’d how to wind the bobbin correctly so that it wouldn’t get twisted up, and this helped me big time.

I cant wait to get some more time to work progressive this next week, to finish the whole front of my quilt. this way I can quilt the back on and then all that I will have left is the hard part- figuring out what edging to put on the quilt. I have done a lot of research on what I think looks best, or what might be better for an intermediate sewer. I just can’t decide yet!

Connecting and Learning Online

I have found that sharing information online can have a huge impact on a person, whether it be negatively or positively. Having the opportunity to create and share new ideas opens up such a vast variety of information to learn, and to take what we have learned and expand upon that learning. As a future teacher, I want my students to use technology and learn information, that maybe I would to provide the resources for or maybe not have the time to share with them.

One of the biggest most meaningful thing that we can teach our students is HOW to research new information on their own, and continue to share this information by blogging, tweeting or using other forms of social media. However, sometimes these social media devices have a downside, they be used for alternative motives, and especially with young people we have to teach them to protect themselves using this type of technology.

I recently watched a video on the positives of what it means to share and create on social media. George Curos, a fellow educator himself, describes what it means to be able to share your ideas on social media and create and share on social media. Even the smallest means of communication, like sharing something about your life (if only completely  appropriate) can boost morale and teach others to communicate and share kindness.

So how can we teach our students that their so beloved social media can be wonderful, but at the same time could very much be harmful? We have seen cases where people falsify who they are on the internet, and they lure young people to meet and aren’t who the young person thought they were. It creates a very dangerous world. We have also seen cases where students are putting TOO much information on social media sites, and are cause for cyber-bullying, or falsifying their own lives. Sometimes young people don’t realize the impact of their posts. Job employers, judges, police, teachers, and other important influences in a community has clear access of these postings and may cause them to not get that job, to get arrested, or may ruin their changes of getting into a good college.

This video frames the importance of what you put on social media, it lasts forever. So what can I teach my students about how to post appropriate meaningful information that promotes learning? Well, in Craig Badura’s “Digital Citizen Survival Kit” he makes an analogy to toothpaste and posting on social media. We can show our students that once the words are out (the toothpaste is out of the tube) they cannot be put back in (we can’t place toothpaste back in the tube). What we say is out there forever. So we have to think is it meaningful? Who does it support? What can be learned or said about it? Does it support positive, kind communication? Another one is; what would my parents say about this information, or a future employer or even my teacher?

I love that we can use social media’s as teachers to share and learn new ideas and information, and show each other positive support in academic careers and ventures. I am so eager to share this new found personal learning network with my students and show them what a positive communicative and supportive social learning network can mean.

It’s not just students that need to learn how to be careful about social media, but adults and teachers as well. I have taken the challenge of Googling myself to see what information comes up. The first thing that comes up is my Twitter, and Facebook accounts. The only information that it shows is my picture and where I live, and what college I go too. Probably too much information for strangers, but I do have proper privacy settings on both social medias so I feel comfortable in knowing this. Also, I don’t feel that my profiles are inappropriate in any way and everything posted is something that I might share with employers and other family members.

My blog also comes up, but everything on my blog is written to reflect learning and is completely appropriate and encouraged, that others read and reflect on the information.

What Technology has Taught Me So Far

Photo CC By: Colette Cassinelli

At first when I was told I had to take a digital literacy class in order to get my degree, I seriously had no idea what to expect. Just the term “digital literacy” itself, was not in my vocabulary. I have to say so far, that I have had a lot of fun learning new ways to use technology for my classroom! I probably NEVER would have started a Twitter account, which is one of the requirements, to tweet weekly, for the class. I thought Twitter was overrated and only used by those who wanted to keep up on the new celebrity problems. This class has most definitely met my expectation, if not completely altered them!

I think probably my favorite module/experience so far in this class, has been working on our independent learning projects, and blogging about them. I’m pretty sure you all are completely annoyed that I go on and on about sewing, of all things. I am getting obsessed with sewing and quilting and am constantly learning more and more about what new projects I think I will have to start this summer! You don’t imagine taking on projects like this as learning, you are just doing it for fun, but after reading the article, Mind Shift, it’s important to stop and reflect on what your doing, and what your learning from your situations.

I have also really enjoyed watching and learning about Ted Talk videos. I had never heard of them before, and I use them all of the time in other classes, or just to listen to on those days you feel you need a pep talk! I can’t wait to show them to my students, in hopes they will help them with some of their own problems. I have particularly enjoyed watching the ones on how teachers can improve their classroom, and how we need to help our students learn how to learn on their own, and use creativity to achieve learning, and life goals.

The only challenging thing in this class, has been to step out of my horizons and actually make this Blog, and my Twitter, and post actual aspects and ideas that pertain to something valuable. I think that most of the time, when I’ve used social media other places, it’s just been posting GIF’s or  re-posting meme’s. I had a small world view of what social media could do, and I think I got to see the big picture this way. Also creating a Vine, was completely out of this world for me but, I did it!

I hope to learn more, new ideas and ways to make my classroom better by learning and teaching myself how to use all of these new technology resources. I’m excited to get started with another challenge we are doing, the 30 Day Challenge, where I will start something new. I’ve done all of these new things, so why not keep the ball rolling!