Social Media in the Classroom

Education and the methods of teaching are changing at a fast pace, and they have change majorly since I have been in elementary school.  I never had the types of technology that young students have today. Technology in the classroom is supposed to provide more student engagement and the motivation to learn, but it can also provide a distraction from learning, because the technology being used, such as iPads, are also used in many of their home environments, for entertainment purposes.  Personally, I have been in the classroom where iPads are being used for helping students read, and for this class it is working, where there are limited distractions.  This type of new found technology in the classroom is not only for the students, but also for the teachers and faculty members in the use of utilizing social media in the classroom.  According to Dian Schaffhauser, in her article, “Classroom Tech, Professional Development Top List of Faculty Concerns“, many teachers and faculty members have utilized the concept of social media in order to “provide social development and opportunities for teachers to collaborate with colleagues”.  Social media is being used as a resource in order to communicate and also find inspiration for their lesson plans and correlating activities.  According to this article’s research, social media will not be seen as a “distraction”, and it will be seen as a resource in order for students and teachers to be successful.

Can Snapchat and anonymous social media ruin your life?

Two of the biggest social media sensations on campus are the snapchat account YikYakRowan and the Facebook page “Rowan University Secrets/Confessions.” Both of these are forms of anonymous social media, so people seem to have no problem submitting revealing pictures of themselves, attaching the names of themselves or others to posts, or posting comments with degrading or argumentative topics. The question I’m dying to know the answer to is, “How screwed are we when it comes to finding jobs?” It’s becoming increasingly common for companies to look at potential employees’ social media history with background-check intensity, meaning that the snapchat screenshot of your newly-pierced nipples that your friend drunkenly posted on Facebook and tagged you in might actually affect your opportunities in the future.

Or worse, that snapchat of you in a lederhosen your sister posted on her blog for a class ends up in the hands of your future boss. (Sorry, Cole.)

Or worse, that snapchat of you in a lederhosen your sister posted on her blog for a class ends up in the hands of your future boss.
(Sorry, Cole.)

YikYakRowan is a snapchat account (based on and named after the popular Yik Yak app, which missed the cut on this list because it’s so heavily moderated and mostly harmless posts about being a “thirsty b***h” anyway) that reposts pictures from other Rowan students to their story, for all of their followers to see. While this is great for some harmless entertainment or even helping people locate lost items (I’ve seen more than one lost credit card on there) some students are taking it too far. Among the pictures of pets, goofy faces, and disturbingly accurate drawings done with a phone stylus are nude pictures (how consensual these pictures are sometimes is up for debate) pictures of students holding alcoholic beverages, and images taken of people without their knowledge.

For example, this charming photo of whatever evidently goes on in freshman dorms lately.

For example, this charming photo of whatever evidently goes on in freshman dorms lately. Note that I had to tap through multiple images of bare breasts, captioned “#TittyTuesday,” to find this.

Similarly, Rowan University Secrets/Confessions is a Facebook page that allows students to anonymously submit “confessions” that are then posted on the page. Past posts range from crushes and compliments to multiple confessions about vindictively putting bodily fluids in roommates’ personal items. Again, while the posts are anonymous, people tend to get in arguments in the comments section or post degrading things about friends regarding the post. Though this is usually done in good fun, it can bounce back later when it ends up on your profile.

Why is it always poop with these people?

Why is it always poop with these people?

My point is this: while everything is usually meant as all in good fun, be careful what you put out there. Even posts on the most anonymous of platforms can come back to bite you.

Death by cellphone use

When I was growing up, in the 90s, no one owned a cellphone. To use the internet we had to use dial-up which required that no one be using the land line phone. So we never were allowed to use the internet for long periods of time because what if someone needed to get in touch with a member of our family? They couldn’t.

Now, in 2014, EVERYONE, starting from infancy (no joke), owns either an Iphone, Ipad, Android, Tablet, or some sort of electronic device that allows users to connect to the internet. Where did this constant need to be in front of a cellphone screen at all times come from? Almost every other day there are stories in the news about fatal car accidents caused by one of the drivers involved texting and driving. In the 90s, there was no txting, if we had something to say to a person we simply walked on over to his or her house and had a face to face conversation ( I know that concept seems far fetched).

In an article titled “Becoming Screen Literate” that I read for my Introduction to Writing Arts class the author Kevin Kelly makes a very good point when he says “When technology shifts, it bends the culture”. Children who are raised today in this “Web 2.0” era are raised on Ipads and Iphones. Twenty years ago when I was a toddler it was down right socially unacceptable for babies to play with anything that wasn’t a teething ring or plastic baby toy. Does having an Ipad plopped in front of you at such a young age have an affect on the way you will grow up? Of course it does.

Technology has and is taking over every component of the world, therefore our culture is simply shifting. One of my colleagues, Jared Hussey, tweeted a very amusing article the other day that I think any person obsessed with their cell phone needs to take a look at. The article is called ” The NoPhone” written by The NoPhone Team.

This article is essientally a sales pitch for the teams product which they named the NoPhone. They describe the phone as a”technology-free alternative to constant hand-to-phone contact that allows you to stay connected with the real world”. (Pictured Below)

This “phone” is basically a piece of plastic that gives the illusion of holding a phone, but has no connection to the internet. It is encouraging people to put down their cellphones for once in their life and get back to reality and the real people standing all around. In the testimonials section of this article Whitney R states that “”With the NoPhone, my eye contact skills have improved 73%.”

The NoPhone article is a spoof, but it sends a real message. Technology is great, it has help us as a culture progress in the right direction, but there is a point where too much of anything becomes unhealthy,Children should be encouraged to get out and play with the children that live in their neighborhoods not to sit in a dark room and play games on their Ipad. People should feel comfortable having face to face conversations without having to look down at their phone every five seconds to see if they have received a text. As technology advances, generations with change, and who’s telling how cultures will continue to shift. In the video below Gary Turk explains perfectly the negative affect the constant use of cellphones is having on society as a whole.

Writing Tics

One of the hardest things for writers to do is revise and critique their own work. Starting in elementary school teachers teach their students to peer review each others work because it’s always better to get someone else’s opinion before finalizing the product. Why is it so hard for writers to revise their own work? They are so used to their writing style that he or she will never see anything wrong with his or her work because that’s how he or she has always wrote, their way of writing is perfect. I know we often think that we can just whip up an essay in an hour and not get it revised, but that’s where we’re wrong because we all have writing tics.

The other day one of my colleagues,DeAngeline Sebastian, tweeted an article she found on Dana Murphy’s Word press Website. The article is titled ” What’s Your Writing Tic”. Some of the writing tics the article mentions are using the word “literally” too often and out of context, the over use of colons, and the over use of food metaphors in writing.

As soon as I read the article I automatically thought about how I over use commas in my writing. I don’t know why I just loved putting commas in between, every, single, word, but it’s a problem. It’s my writing tic. Dana Murphy states” The tics are what gives my writing voice and style”. Are writing tics a problem or something that gives writers voice and style? I never saw my love for commas as a problem, but a lot of professors have.

Social media plays such a huge role in 21st century writer’s lives. When writers are composing a tweet they aren’t thinking about  proper grammar , he or she is just throwing his or her thought into 140 words. That’s where writing tics come into play. That informal way of writing that we are so used  to using everyday gets carried over into our formal writing pieces where using the word literally in every other sentence is not acceptable.

In an article I read in my Introduction to Writing Arts class titled ” How Twitter Will Change The Way We Live” Evan Williams and Biz Stone explain how ” Twitter is developing into a powerful form of communication”, Writers are tweeting way more often then they’re typing essays these days because that’s where all the readers eyes are looking  these days. If one wants to reach out to the public he or she is way more likely to be heard by tweeting than writing a blog, because more people use Twitter than blogging websites.

So many people love using Twitter as a form of communication because there are no rules on Twitter. You may lose a lot of followers, but if one wants to tweet about food all the time or use the word literally 10 times in one tweet it’s acceptable. Writing Tics are what make writers, writers, if we all wrote  in the same cookie cutter style I don’t think people would enjoy reading and writing as much as they do.

Using Twitter for other things besides complaining

After reading an article for my Introduction to Writing Arts class titled “the difference between thin and thick tweets” written by David Silver that was about tweeting more in depth, meaningful tweets, I looked into the many ways Twitter users use Twitter. In David Silver’s article he talks about how he taught his students about “thick tweets” and “thin tweets”. He defines thin tweets as ”  posts that convey one layer of information” and thick tweets as ” convey two or more, often with help from a hyperlink”.

Just as about 99% of Twitter users I almost always only use Twitter to write “thin tweets”. I never thought about using twitter to share articles or pictures because I really never have seen anyone use Twitter for any other reason than to display thin tweets such as ” I’m bored”.

After my Writing Arts professor introduced me to apps like “ZIte” that allow users to share articles they may find interesting with their followers via Twitter my eyes opened up to a whole new world. While skimming though articles on the Zite app I have on my Iphone I came across an article titled “Eight ways that Twitter drives sales” so I automatically retweeted it.

Not only are people using twitter for sharing articles and links to their blogs , but are using it as a way to drive sales ! In the article the author ,Gordon MacMillan,states that “A new study by@Nielsen found that 56% of Twitter mobile users say they are influenced by content on Twitter when they are buying a product or service”. As an adamant online shopper myself, I can agree with this statement one hundred percent. Before shopping from an unheard of online shopping boutique I always check with their frequent shoppers have to say about their company via Twitter or Instagram.

If I see good reviews like the one above  about good customer service and product quality I get right to shopping!

I honestly never realized how much Twitter has to offer because I always thought of it as a place where people go to just write their random thoughts down for his or her followers to read. There are so many social media apps and websites these days that users aren’t taking full advantage of all the great features they have to offer because there’s just so many of them. I will always love Twitter as a place to go to read funny jokes my friends tweet at me, but now I look at it in a whole new light.

A conversation with a Parent

This weekend instead of going out to Halloween parties I decided to drive home from school (only 30 minutes) to babysit and make some extra money. I’ve been babysitting this family since I was a freshman in high school so i’m extremely close and familiar with the kids (four boys) and the parents. The mom Stacy and I got to talking and somehow it came up that her son Brandon who’s in 7th grades’ entire school has switched from textbooks to iPads. She said that all he comes home with in his bag is a planner and an iPad.

I thought she might be pleased with the change. I know my back wouldn’t be half as messed up as it is now if I didn’t have to carry all my books in middle and high school. I was surprised when she told me she absolutely hated the change and wanted them to switch back to books. She told me that he brandon and his friends constantly get in trouble for playing games and facetiming each other in class. While she doesn’t stand up for his actions, she knows Brandon is not the only one who is participating in these activities and wonders why they wouldn’t disable downloading games and facetiming and make sure it was only used for educational purposes?

I definitely agree with Stacy on this matter and was also confused as to why they wouldn’t disable these functions when giving iPads to middle schoolers. Another disturbing thing she mentioned was that the homeroom teachers allow them to play games, or at least turn the other cheek. I became best friends with people in my homeroom class in middle school and then on to high school so this concerns me. If I had a shiny device in front of my face I definitely wouldn’t make an effort to make conversation with people I barely knew.

I thought this was important to discuss because this is really where our classrooms are heading: full on technological. And according to this mom, the iPad idea definitely has a few kinks to work out.

Class about trolling the internet

According to this article tweeted by my classmate, there is a class being offered at the University of Pennsylvania (an IVY LEAGUE might I add), that is called “wasting time on the internet”. The professor who teaches this class, Kenneth Goldsmith, is a poet and creative writing professor and teaches it from that angle. In the course description he writes “Could we reconstruct our autobiography using only Facebook? Could we write a great novella by plundering our Twitter feed? Could we reframe the internet as the greatest poem ever written?”

While these are all interesting questions on a course description, I feel like it’s completely ridiculous for this to be offered as a class at an ivy league school. As a student of creative writing I and II, when i’m trying to come up with something to write about all I do is troll the internet and look at random sites. I’m unsure if this class would be teaching you HOW to troll the internet (a skill that is easy to master) or you’d just be watching funny videos the whole time. Either way I’m jealous of the obvious easy a these ivy league students get to take