I definitely can’t “Snapchat Like a Teen”

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I am frequently in trouble from my husband and sister for being on my phone constantly. I guess it’s a way for me to feel connected to the world. Thankfully, our professor Alec Couros posted an article on Twitter yesterday that made me feel better about my addiction to my phone: The Disconnectionists. Most of my friends and family live in other cities so I post a lot to Facebook and keep connected that way. I have recently been on Twitter much more due to my EC & I 831 class and I’m finding it finding it interesting professionally. There are many  interesting articles. In the past I used Twitter mostly at all the EDcamps that I attended.

After reading the article: “My Little Sister Taught Me How To “Snapchat Like the Teens,” by Ben Rosen I downloaded Snapchat. I notice a lot of my friends already had Snapchat especially if they were parents to preteen or teenage children. I still don’t really understand the allure. I can definitely say that I do not know how to Snapchat like a teen. In fact, it took me awhile to figure out how to get rid of this notification on my phone:

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I did finally figure it out though. I sent a couple of snaps to my friends, but most have not even opened it or responded. I still have a lot to learn, I don’t even know how to sketch over the pictures 🙂 My colleague who is much younger than me did send me a story so I did see that.

It occurred to me to Google about Snapchat tutorials and this was the first one I came up with:

 

I did find this interesting video though:

I imagine that I would be the friend with the baby who Snapchats and sends nothing but baby pics! (yep, so far this is actually the case….)

 

A lot has changed since I taught high school five years ago. At the time we had a NO CELL PHONES rule. And by no cell phones, the school meant no cell phones in class, no cell phones in the hallway at breaks, no cell phones at lunch. Cell phones were supposed to remain in students’ lockers.  I remember it being a battle every single time I was on lunch duty because everybody had their cell phones out and I was one teacher against 1800 students. It seems like a battle that was never going to be won. In fact, if I had to make a personal phone call I would close the door of my classroom and hide in the corner so that the students would not see me. Other teachers blatantly broke the rule and would text and be on their phones in class, but would not let the students do the same thing.

Social media certainly has changed the way that I communicate and interact with my friends. Some of my Facebook friends are from high school and I was not in close contact with them anymore however when I moved back to Regina I was able to reconnect. I was very glad to have kept the connection open. I also have some former students on Facebook now that they’re adults and I find it very interesting to follow their journeys and their travels and their successes. It does, however, make me feel old to watch them get married and have children.

It really is amazing how much has changed not only at the high school and elementary level in just over 5 years, but also at the University level. I finished my Master’s degree in 2009 and the only on-line courses that I took were delivered by e-mail. There were no interactions with the other students, it was just communication between the professor and me for the most part.Usually my online classes were just used to fulfill graduation requirements for classes that had not been offered in awhile.

I finished the requirements for my inclusive education certificate last year. I had started it thirteen years ago. When I started back at the University of Regina, suddenly all of my classes had a URCourses component even if they were face to face. I really enjoyed being able to see who was in my class even before arriving and also being able to see notes, assignments, send e-mail and chat. All of this was totally new to me even though it had not been that many years since I had finished my M.Ed. in Manitoba.

It will be fascinating to see how fast and how far education changes in the next five years.

Connections make the world go round…

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So even before I did the readings for this week’s EC&I 831 class, I was planning on blogging about relationships. I am excited about how many connections that I am making virtually through this on- line class and hope to keep many of them in real life.

There was an article that came out this week about how only four of your Facebook friends are real friends. I have to say that I am very lucky that more than four of my Facebook friends are real friends, however most of my “real” friends live in other cities. I am a Facebook addict and use it to continue my relationships with my friends in other cities after I have moved away. Even before social media, it was always important to me to maintain my friendships. For me, one of the hardest things in the world is when friendships b break up. My preference is to keep friends for life. I even get offended when people ‘unfriend’ me on Facebook. I am very shy and feel that I can be way more outgoing when I am writing a short status or Tweeting than when I am trying to mingle face to face. That being said, I also love the face to face interactions and definitely crave them. Though I am on maternity leave I almost never stay home. I usually plan one or more things to get me out of the house every day. I really value relationships and tend to remember details about my friends and past acquaintances. I can still tell you when many of my high school friends’ birthdays are and I know when most of my current staff’s birthdays are as well.

Interestingly enough, one of the reasons that I moved back to Regina from Winnipeg is perhaps a strange one. I craved the social interactions and connectivity that I saw all my Regina teacher friends having on Facebook. Everyone seemed to know almost everyone else across the City and teachers who worked in many schools. In Winnipeg I worked at the largest school in the province and though I had very close friends at my school, I craved meeting teachers in other buildings to be able to network. We have been back for three and a half years and it has actually been a harder transition than I imagined. My husband gave up his amazing job to move back home for me and I miss my former co-workers even more than I realized I would. However, I am happy to be back home and making new connections and re-acquainting with the old ones. Facebook has been really helpful because in some cases I had kept people as friends even though I had not seen them in years.

We had talked about six degrees of separation in class and the idea fascinates me. I find it amazing when people who I know know each other, but I have no idea what the connection is. I found this cool video on YouTube:

Between Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media the way we connect and interact is changing. My friend posted this article the other day about why millennials aren’t answering the phone. I wasn’t exactly sure what the definition of millennial and assumed I wasn’t one, but I guess it depends on who you ask according to the link above 😉

Anyway, all this is to say if the way that my relationships work is changing then so are the relationships in our classrooms. Technology is changing the way students interact and letting them have a much broader social network. This can be be a very good thing (or a very bad thing in lots of cases, but I would rather stay focused on the positive for this post…) I have seen many positive examples of students using Skype, Twitter, FaceTime or Edmodo to interact with other students. I was also thinking about the population at my school and the fact that it can be a little transient. Technology would be a way for some of our students who move to stay connected to their friends. I also work with special needs students who cannot always communicate in traditional ways and technology lets them do so. I could write at least a whole other post on the use of technology for special needs students though.

In the end, technology has changed and is changing our relationships with each other. How can we as educators make sure that these evolving relationships are positive and beneficial instead of harmful to our students?