Our health teacher told me a story recently about an assignment she gave. It asked the class to write about a person who motivated or inspired them. Many in the class chose someone she had never heard of. Certainly Jessica Cox has an inspirational story but the selection by these students was more than a coincidence. Yes, they found her in Google under ‘inspirational people.’ Imagine being asked to write about someone who inspired you and finding them on Google? I cannot even think of a comparison. Maybe, someone asking you your favorite flavor of ice cream and you Google “favorite ice cream” and pick the top choice?
I like the video link about putting down our I-Phones for a day, not because it beats the dead horse of social media being more media than social, but because it reminds me about the complex work we have before us as educators. If people struggle to connect with one another on their free time, then how can they possibly do it in school?
I am doing something this year that both terrifies and energizes me. I am teaching a class we invented this year called “digital literacy.” I actually don’t like the name very much because it sounds like a fancy way of saying ‘computer science.’ I actually am not that tech-savvy but am passionate about the impact that social media is having on young people and their education. Ask your students how many “selfies” that have taken in the past week and watch them giggle not only out of the awkwardness that you know what that is, but because they have probably done this a lot.
I will be blogging about the course off and on this year, but for now suffice it to say that it’s more about literacy than digital. It’s about communication, creativity, collaboration, and community. I refuse to ‘teach’ the class in a classroom and instead am taking the class to other open spaces around the school and yes (dear me) even outside the school.
The first class? Students had to write a self reflection piece, share them in our Google + community and then ‘present’ one another in person after they read someone else’s reflection. It was basic but it forced my students to talk to one another, learn from one another and present themselves. It was a lot harder than it sounds.
Gotta go make dinner. And no, I am not going to Google, ‘what’s for dinner…’