Technology and the Selfie Generation

Hello everyone!

On Thursday’s EDTC 300 class, we had Dr. Alec Couros come in (well not physically come into a room as we are all on Zoom, but he joined the meeting) as a guest speaker. The main topic of discussion for this class was the influence that technology has on people’s lives, specifically children’s lives.

In his presentation, Dr. Alec Couros describes the newer generations of people as the “selfie generation”. At the beginning of the presentation, Dr. Alec Couros shows the class a video of his youngest daughter filming a make-up video when she was four. Everyone, including myself, thought this was by far the cutest video ever. However, this video is more than just cute. This video of his daughter is a perfect example of how easily children are able to learn how to use technology at a very young age.

It is crazy to think about how far technology has come since I was younger! When I was younger I was excited to have a flip phone and I only got a nice touch screen phone (the first Samsung Galaxy) when I was in late elementary school. I found it easy to use, but it took me some time to figure everything out. Now, kids as young as 3 (or younger) know how to work their iPad or their parent’s cell phone!

What my first phone looked like

Photo Credit: yum9me Flickr via Compfight cc

What kids first phone looks like now

Photo Credit: marcoverch Flickr via Compfight cc

Since children are able to pick up technology so quickly and technology really isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, educators must be aware of the influence technology has on student’s lives. YouTube influences children’s lives daily. Children can watch free videos about the alphabet, numbers, how things are made, someone playing a video game, and countless other topics. YouTube is a huge platform that is used to connect and link people together as Michael Wesch describes in his YouTube video.

YouTube is not the only app that influences children’s lives, apps such as Snapchat, Instagram and other social media platforms are a big part of children’s lives as well. Dr. Alec Couros explained, Snapchat and Instagram are the main social media platforms that students currently use. These apps can be great ways for students to connect and share things with each other and people around the world, but they can also be extremely dangerous to young students. Anonymous apps, such as Sarahah, can be used to send positive feedback and compliments to a person, but they are often used to send mean, harmful comments. Schools must be aware of both the benefits and the risks that come with the technology that their students are using. Teachers must be aware of the new apps that students are using and how their students are using them.

Apps that many students use (Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube)

Photo Credit: Bestpicko Flickr via Compfight cc

Now, I’m not saying that all children use technology in a negative way and I am not saying that technology is a bad thing. Technology can be great; but children and adults must ensure that they are using technology responsibly.

Schools can use technology in many different ways to educate students. For example, a teacher can put on an educational video from YouTube to engage students in what they are learning.  YouTube is a great website to use, but the “Up Next” feature and the similar videos on the side of the video can be distracting to students and inappropriate for school. Teachers can still use YouTube to show students a video, but they should use the Distraction Free YouTube chrome extension to ensure that the students are only viewing the video that they want to show.

Teachers must not only be aware of the benefits and dangers associated with technology, but they should also be educating their students on what good Digital Citizenship is and looks like. Educators should be an example of what good Digital Citizenship is. Teachers should try to stay up-to-date on what the cool new apps are and the newest trends to better connect with their students. Schools can also ensure that they block websites that are inappropriate for students to be using. Technology can also be used to allow students in different ways from the traditional writing on the board style. Students can use websites such as Cool Math, National Geographic Kids, and Fun Brain to learn in a different, sometimes more fun, way that is through technology.

Technology is a great thing, but it can be used irresponsibly. Schools and teachers must ensure that their students know the benefits and the risks of technology and how to keep themselves safe online. Students should be educated on how to be a positive user of technology and a good digital citizen. Teachers should be positive online role models and should be aware of new technology that their students are using.

I love technology to a certain degree and I know many young people love it way more than I do. As a future educator, I will try to stay up-to-date with the newest technology trends to be more prepared to teach the “selfie generation”.

Thanks for reading my blog post! What are your thoughts on technology and how it effects young people? Comment below or tweet me on twitter @MsOsachoff

Ashley Osachoff

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