Final Summary of Learning: EC & I 831

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It was tougher than I thought to make this summary and I ran into a lot of technical difficulties, however I decided to re-do my entire video, here is the result:

I learned so much in EC & I 831 that it was actually hard to narrow it down to a 5-7 minute video.

Enjoy!

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Googling Yourself Has Its Ups and Its Downs

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I googled myself again today. My digital footprint actually looks quite different than it did before I started taking EC & I 831. Before this, it never actually occurred to me that I could have some control over my digital identity.

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That’s a picture of me when I was 8.5 months pregnant to the left. Sadly, the picture in the bikini is most definitely not me, but I am glad that there seem to be other better looking versions of myself!

In the past when I googled myself, I would find my Facebook & LinkedIn profiles depending on my privacy settings, but what I would always find is the ratemyteachers.com site. Of course, I made the mistake of reading the reviews and though there were many positive reviews there were also some very nasty ones. I was a young high school math teacher and I focused much more on the negative reviews- almost to the point of obsession and self-doubt. I certainly made mistakes when I was first starting out, but seeing a few harsh reviews was not helpful. It occurs to me that for the most part only students who either love you or hate you would take the time to review you, but I take criticism quite badly. Thankfully, now that I have been teaching longer I do actually receive occasional messages of thanks through Facebook or virtually. I am actually happy that there are no ratings of me on ratemyteacher in my current position and that the nasty ones are under my maiden name I think.

Apparently I am not alone googling myself. We read several articles for our EC & I 831 class this week. They were on the subject of digital identity.   Reputation Management and Social Media by Mary Madden and Aaron Smith was the article that I enjoyed the most. It pointed out that: “57% of adult internet users now use search engines to find information about themselves online.” Another article was about landing your  Dream Job Using Google AdWords and it describes how Alec Brownstein paid to use the names of creative directors so his name would come up in searches.

I actually googled “googling myself” and found out that a couple of years ago there was a trend of people googling themselves and putting the results on YouTube for the world to see.

I even found this little snippet from a show I didn’t watch, but it’s pretty funny:

The videos I found of people googling themselves were either of people I did not recognize (they might be famous, but they are way younger than me) and had a lot of inappropriate words so I will not post them here!

The same article that I referenced above: Reputation Management and Social Media, also mentioned people googling their friends and people from their past. In addition, according to the same article 18-29 year olds are much more careful with the content that they post on-line than those of us that are older.

Another interesting thing that came out of my “googling myself” google search is the following page about managing your online reputation:

google yourself

Who knew? I had no idea that there was even an option to go through the steps that Google suggests. I knew you could un-tag yourself in photos, but that was about the extent of my knowledge.

In today’s world, it will be imperative that our students have a positive digital footprint because the hiring world is much different than back when I was trying to land a job. It is very easy to search on-line these days and it can have a very positive impact or a negative one.

 

Self-Trolling Teenagers and Mental Health

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For our EC&I 831 class this week we read a few articles and the one that I found the most interesting was the one about teenagers who troll themselves:“Why Teenagers are Self-Trolling on Sites Like Reddit.”. It is a new form of self harm that I had never thought of. As a teacher I am seeing more and more and more issues with anxiety and mental health. I do not remember students dealing with these issues openly when I was a student at all. Now I even work with coworkers who are very open about their struggles with their mental health which is a very good thing. I am seeing students who are unable to attend class and who hide under desks all day or sit on the couch in front of the office. I have been involved with quite a few students who self harm. I have seen students that are suicidal. Thankfully we have been able to intervene in the vast majority of cases. It recently occurred to me that I probably have some anxiety myself and have quite a few panic attacks now that I’m a parent. However, what made me able to deal with it when I was younger compared to some of my students are completely overwhelmed? Is it the difference in society today? Is it the social media access. Is it the latchkey kids?

It can be very hard to access the mental health system. They are very caring, but overworked professionals from my experience. I am not sure how to fix it but I am sure that some of these kids hide out in social media and on the internet. Teenagers who troll themselves on the internet are probably doing it for the same reason that other teenagers self harm: as a cry for attention and for validation.

I just watched the documentary by CNN called being 13:

 

It was an interesting documentary the ties into the subject of this blog. It is amazing to see how much social influence social media has on teenagers. As a parent it actually terrifies me since my children are young right now, but it won’t be that long until they will be influenced. What can I do as a parent to make sure that my children are not getting hurt by their posts and those of others? Is it the same as when I was a kid? Is everyone a subject to bullying these days? When I was watching it seems like the victim changed quite fast and everyone could get hurt. What can we do as a society to make sure that our teenagers and children and young adults are able to navigate these waters? I think that the best answer is to use social media in class and to teach about them efficiently and effectively. I have had students as young as nine or 10 thinking suicidal thoughts or self-harming because of messages they have received through Kik messenger or services like Yik Yak. We have seen students as young as grade 3 and 4 conversing with adults in sexual ways from school and home. Sites like 4Chan described in another one of this week’s articles:“Absolutely Everything You Need to Know about 4chan, the Internet’s Own Bogeyman” scare me because they let people be anonymous and hurtful. It’s like when I read the comments on articles about teachers. Everyone comments about how lazy we are, how we get the summers off and how we should be doing things differently. It’s funny sometimes to see posts that the public “like” about how things have changed at schools when we have actually been doing those things as teachers for years.

Conversely, social media can do a lot of good. There are a lot of social justice campaigns like We Day that teenagers can get involved in. Social media can also influence opinions. For example right now perhaps it can change Canadians’ perception of residential schools and possibly lead more Canadians to read the TRC report. Yesterday I watched a video about Ellen inviting an autistic barista to her show that many of you have probably also already seen:

 

Social media can highlight the abilities of some people that we used to considered disabled. So there’s certainly plenty of positives but how do we accentuate those and try limit the negatives so that teenagers do not feel a need to self-troll?