Tag Archives: social media

A Day without Laughter is a Day Wasted.

As a child, I (Said) would take my parents’ newspaper and go straight to the comics section. I was less interested in world events & more interested in funny pictures and clever punch lines. Nowadays, there are webpages dedicated to comic strips and pages on our social media apps (Facebook, Instagram etc…) that we can like/follow. We have easy access to regular updates and new content, which are seamlessly integrated into our browsing experience. What happens next is incredible.

I stumble on a comic and I laugh amusedly. It reminds me of my friend Tatiana, and with the click of a button, I share it with her and comment, “This is definitely you”, “Doesn’t this perfectly sum up our lives…”, “This is me in a nutshell”. What follows is a conversation about how accurate the comic is, how well we know each other, or how it captures exactly what we are thinking at that point in time. It’s a digitally-mediated social interaction that does not require a lot of effort but does contribute to relationship-building in a subtle and indirect manner. It involves multi-modal texts and expressing ourselves in ways that extend beyond traditional text. Our students are also engaging with literacy in its many forms using different modalities, which teachers need to recognize and use to their advantage as they attempt to seamlessly integrate students’ out-of classroom literacies in the classroom.

Though I am connected to the web, I mainly use social media platforms to have information delivered to my phone, which I may then share/discuss with my friends (this ranges from funny pictures to world news to score updates). This in many ways is my kind of newspaper. There is something incredibly satisfying about coming across a comic that explains exactly how I am feeling. Recently. I have thoroughly enjoyed Sarah’s Scribbles, where Sarah Anderson tackles issues like being productive and the awkward but hilarious situations we encounter in our day to day lives. Below are a few of my favourite. I hope you lol (laugh out loud) or rolf (roll on floor laughing).

You can follow Sarah’s Scribbles on FacebookTwitterInstagram.

You can follow me on Twitter.
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Do we blame the process or the machine?

A Toronto school is banning the use of cellphones in the classroom & hallways amid strong protest from parents who believe that students are distracted & abusing their privilege.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/earl-grey-public-school-cell-phones-1.3992597

As I read this article, I was torn. On the one hand, I recognize that technology has the potential to enhance student learning (I do wonder how we are measuring this ‘enhancement’). I love the opportunities that access to technology and Web 2.0 tools can create in the classroom to engage students in different ways. On the other hand, I have witnessed students misuse their devices as an occasional teacher. The uninterrupted access to Wi-Fi in many school boards means that students are always connected and participating in digitally-mediated social interaction via instant messaging services (Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat etc.) while at school and in the classroom.

At the intermediate level, I get interrupted frequently while teaching because someone is taking a selfie. It is incredibly distracting. At the secondary level, students are less devious but naturally cannot resist the occasional distraction since information is literally at their fingertips. I always have to explain, “There’s a time and place for checking your social media. I do not tweet while teaching nor do I send my folks pictures of my outfit.”

Despite commitments to integrating technology in the classroom/curriculum at a school board-wide level, how it looks in action varies across schools, classes, & teachers. Some teachers treat digital technology (DT) as the carrot at the end of the stick (“Work well and you can use your devices for 5 minutes”) while others do a phenomenal job incorporating it into their day-to-day teaching. Moving forward, we need to monitor how pre-service teachers are being trained to use DT and how in-service teachers (who perhaps completed their teacher training when DT did not play a big role in learning) are reflecting on their attitudes toward DT and adjusting their practice. In my opinion, blaming devices & the internet for interrupting learning is a scapegoat for a bigger issue…the process. The process involves challenging beliefs, addressing misconceptions, designing policies, providing the how-to, educational transformation, and so much more! It is complex, controversial, bumpy, and requires constant refinement, but it is progress.

A quote from the Inherit the Wind movie (one of my favorite plays): Gentlemen, progress has never been a bargain. You have to pay for it. Sometimes I think there’s a man who sits behind a counter and says, “Alright, you can have a telephone, but you lose privacy and the charm of distance.”

Using Snapchat in Higher Ed

snapchat

I (Pooja) have always been somewhat of a late adopter to the latest technologies, but I know when things are shifting because of what learners in my class and my more technologically-inclined friends are using on  their phones. What I’ve noticed is that Facebook and Instagram are quickly becoming the social media tools of yesterday. Growing in popularity is Snapchat, a social media application known for its short-lived videos. On Snapchat, your followers can view the photos or videos you “snapped” for 10 seconds before they disappears for good. Started in 2011, Snapchat now has 100 million users and is gaining users at a rapid speed, especially post-secondary students.

It is for this reason I am curious to know how (and if) teachers are using Snapchat in their classrooms. I came across an article on NPR written by Jacquie Lee that highlights the work of one professor, Michael Britt using the app in his introductory psychology course. He uses the tool to post 10-second videos which relate to the theory and concepts discussed in class. For example, to help students connect to a lesson on the biology of the brain, Brit snapped his niece in during her ballet class standing on one leg. He “used the snap as an example of how the cerebellum in the brain controls balance” (Lee, 2016). Britt notes that approximately 90% of his students check his “snaps.” That is a significant number considering how many students don’t do/complete course readings. Snapchats seem to “reach” the students in a way perhaps course readings can’t.

I still do not have a Snapchat account. I can’t imagine people being interested in the details of my day. Perhaps I should reconsider. Perhaps Snapchat is an entry point into bridging the divide between theory and practice in our courses.

To read the entire article click here:

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/03/29/467091289/how-teachers-are-using-snapchat

The “Google generation”

Many of our learners have grown up with access to all sorts of search engines, namely Google which has quickly turned from a noun to a verb: “Just Google it.” With access to Google, many of our learners have instant answers that are just a few clicks away.

There has been an ongoing debate on whether Google is harmful or not to our ability to critically think about texts. Tan (2016) from Mindshift recongnizes, “with the advent of personal assistants like Siri and Google Now that aim to serve up information before you even know you need it, you don’t even need to type the questions. Just say the words and you’ll have your answer.” However, there are ways to ensure questions/inquiries in the class are “Google proof.” A former Kentucky middle-school teacher suggests re-thinking our instructional design is key in making work Google proof. He says, “Design it so that Google is crucial to creating a response rather than finding one…if students can Google answers — stumble on (what) you want them to remember in a few clicks — there’s a problem with the instructional design.”

I envision project-based learning and inter-disciplinary approaches as a way into creating Google proof material. Any suggestions? What have you tried/created/heard about?

 

 

Chimamanda Ngozi’s Book Being Distributed to ALL 16- Year-Old Students in Sweden

I have written about the powerful words of Ms. Adiche before. Her words stop us in our tracks and make us re-consider notions of identity, language, and gender. She has a new book out entitled We Should All Be Feminists. It is based on a speech she delivered at a TEDx conference a few years ago. I have already ordered it!

The most amazing thing about her new book is how it is being distributed. The Swedish Women’s Lobby has decided to distribute Adiche’s book to every 16-year-old student in Sweden. In a CBC article, publisher Johanna Haegerström believes her book will be an entry point into a larger discussion about gender roles in society. He said:

“Our hope is that the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie text will open up a conversation about gender and gender roles, starting from young people’s own experiences”

adichie-composite

http://www.cbc.ca/books/2015/12/we-should-all-be-feminists-by-chimamanda-ngozi-adichie-is-being-given-to-every-16-year-old-in-sweden.html

Women in Science Speak Out- Using Humor

As my (Cathy’s) daughter is a research scientist and director of a private laboratory, the recent sexist comments by Nobel Prize-winning British scientist, Sir Tim Hunt, was quite a topic of discussion in our home.  Hunt, a biochemist who was a joint recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize made the offensive remarks while speaking at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea.  Hunt stated that mixed gender laboratories are “trouble” and “”you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry”.  According to the BBC, Hunt later apologized for his comments during a phone interview, but then went on to say:

“I did mean the part about having trouble with girls … I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me and it’s very disruptive to the science.”

Hunt’s “retraction” only led to a much stronger public response and initiated his resignation from his honorary post at University College London.  The social media frenzy that followed, particularly through twitter was intriguing.  Female scientists from around the world spearheaded an ironic Twitter campaign to mock Sir Tim Hunt’s sexist comments about the need for single-sex laboratories.  For example, Allison Sekuler, AVP & Dean Grad Studies and Prof of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour @ McMaster University tweeted:

Can’t do any science today because – like all women – I’m too busy making #TimHunt fall in love with me and crying http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/10/tim-hunt-apologises-comments-trouble-female-scientists …

Archaeologists, biochemists and mathematicians starting posting “distracting ” photographs of themselves at work:

distracting-web-v2

 

And male scientists demonstrated solidarity by posting new signs in their labs:

CHJXU8HWsAABvdp

 

It was satisfying for me to see women in science not only display a strong voice, but be able to maintain a sense of humor.  This sense of humor will bode us well as we move forward in our crusade to combat sexism and other forms of oppression in the work place and in education.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/tim-hunt-nobel-prize-winning-scientist-resigns-honorary-u-k-post-after-sexist-remarks-1.3108936

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/distractinglysexy-female-scientists-mock-sir-tim-hunts-sexist-remarks-on-twitter-10313435.html

 

 

Don’t Compare Your Life to Someone’s High-Light Reel by Henrik Edberg

My brother sent me (Clare) the following blog my Henrik Edberg on the positivity site. http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2015/05/13/dont-compare-to-high-light-reel/

I just loved it because is so sensible. Enjoy!

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
Lao Tzu

Today I’d like to focus on a negative habit that creates insecurity within, erodes self-esteem and can make you feel quite unhappy with your own life .

It’s something that has sprung up as we have moved a part of our lives on to the internet and social media.

And that habit is to compare yourself and your life to other people’s high-light reels.

What do I mean by that?

That it’s so easy to start comparing your life to the lives of friends, old classmates or celebrities of all sizes as you each day see how perfect their homes, kids, love lives are and how filled their lives are with wonderful moments.

But is that their whole lives that is shared on Facebook and Instagram?

Usually not.

It’s just the high-light reel of that person’s life.

The positive moments. And it’s natural thing really, to want to share such moments or days with your friends or followers.

Now, for some people this may develop into something destructive. Into a way of creating a more perfect image of one’s life to get that hit of instant gratification as people add positivity via comments, likes and upvotes.

But everyone has problems at times. They fail. Get sick. Have flaws, bad days or negative habits. No matter who you are or what you look like or do.

I have those issues too. Just like anyone else. I still stumble and fall on some days. Doubt myself or am pessimistic from time to time. That’s human.

So don’t strive for being perfect or measuring yourself against someone else’s high-light reel.

Here are three healthier steps you can take instead:

  • Step 1: Compare in smarter way.There will always be people who have more or nicer things than you. Or are better than you at something. No matter what you do.
So if you want to compare then do it in a way that won’t make you feel envious and inferior. Do it by comparing yourself to yourself. See how far you have come. Look back at the obstacles you have overcome, what you have learned and how you have grown.
  • Step 2: Spend your energy and time on what matters the most.Step by step spend the hours in your day and week on building habits that will make you a better person and a happier one too.
For example, aim at being optimistic 70% of the time if you have been it maybe 50% in the past month. Or go out running for just 5 minutes for starters tonight instead of checking those social media accounts one more time.
  • Step 3: Let go of what drags you down.If necessary unsubscribe or remove social media accounts from your flow if you feel they are dragging you down and lowering your self-esteem. Even if those things might also be entertaining right now.

Life isn’t just a high-light reel no matter who shares it.

So look beyond that, remember that everyone is human and stop comparing yourself to that limited view of someone.

In the long run you’ll be happy that you did.

Facebook Still Popular with Teens

An article I read in the Toronto Star the other day surprised me as it reported, “Facebook remains the most used social media site among American teens ages 13 to 17.” I had expected other social media tools (e.g. Instagram) to be more popular with teens. However, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, “Facebook was the site teens used most frequently, at 41 per cent, followed by Instagram at 20 per cent and Snapchat at 11 per cent. Boys are more likely than girls to report they visit Facebook most often — at 45 per cent versus 36 per cent of girls.” Are you surprised to learn that Facebook is still so popular with teens?

Link to the Toronto Star article: http://www.thestar.com/life/technology/2015/04/14/facebook-still-teens-most-used-website-report.html

SocialMedia

Mining Social Media

A recent CBC news article caught my eye because it highlighted how researchers, in fields such as psychology and computer science, are increasingly mining social media (e.g. Tweets; Facebook profiles) to gain insight into people’s physical and mental health. The article questioned if this method of data mining represents a means to conduct “personality research, without talking to any actual people.”  Computer scientist Michal Kosinski, from Stanford University, points out that “by looking at your Facebook profile or your Twitter feed, we can very accurately predict very intimate traits that you may not be aware you’re revealing.” How do you feel about this type of research – does it represent an innovative approach to health research or an invasive monitoring of our online space?

Link to article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/what-facebook-twitter-posts-reveal-about-your-health-1.3000893

SocialMedia