I have to start this post with a great motto “You are what you share” from Are You Literally What You Post? (Video, PBS Idea Channel). I think it has a big truth behind and talking to my children and reflecting on myself, I found a sincere testimony of what we are experiencing right now.
- How is the way your students communicate with their friends similar to the way you connected with your friends when you were a child/teenager? And as an adult?
When I was young, l liked to have lots of friends and be popular. Being cool was very important. Even though I like to study a lot I always tried to keep a step with the music trend, fashion trend, etc. Nowadays, the way how students communicate is in a way similar. They want to connect with their peers and be popular. I love dancing and to know the moves for each music style. In a way TIK TOK nowadays is similar. It’s a way of communicating through dancing with each other. As an adult, I think dancing is an essential social skill as well. They are many social gatherings and parties where you can join with friends and peers and suddenly the smile, the steps, and the moves are the new language between people. And like this, suddenly I make easy friends with people from Venezuela, Colombia, Italy, Africa, Taiwan, S. Korea, and other people around the world.
I like very much this theme of communication in between generation as well as generally between people. It is also a very good time to reflect on our social network. For this report, I was talking to my children who are also my students and with some of their peers, who are my students as well(4th and 5th Graders). It was more a chat with them than a formal survey.
My daughter uses Google Hangouts, to chat with her peers at school, during the break time, or after-school. She often connects with her peers at Birthdays’ Party, Christmas Class Party, or playdates. The children like to play outside at the school playground. They love playing “Tag”, or to create a home for an animal in the bushes outside, “Hide and Seak”(is less popular). Whenever they go on a School Field Trip it’s always fun to know better their peers and connect with some classmates who were not so close before.
This reminds me of when I was in Elementary School back in Romania and I loved so much traveling and going into summer camps with my schoolmates. It was still during the communism times in Romania and the children were “Pionierii patriei”, ( “Pioneers of the motherland”) starting with 2nd Grade. But because I was too young in my first grade, I lied that I am a pioneer and I borrow the pioneer suit from my neighbor, one year older(but it was still definitely too big) in order to be able to attend the summer camp and suddenly all the parades. I looked a bit ridiculous in that bigger pioneer suit. But hey, I was with so many children from different classes and different cities and it was so cool. I really enjoyed a lot to meet new people and make new friends. But that was a time when we didn’t have any electronic devices.
Nowadays, another way of communicating between the new generation is to send text messaging or emails, a link to a video of a song, or chat about Rubik’s cubes and time world records. Tik Tok(you can follow the artist, dance, follow someone on social media) is a big hit, especially in between teenage girls. You could please have a look at the clip “What is Tik Tok”, from the previous link attached. We used to love to record some of the radio music hits and exchange them with friends as well.
Anton,(11years) my son, says when it is not school time if he is online on brawl stars he can communicate via chat there. “Meeting for a playdate or sleepover with a friend, to play lego or battle cats- another video game- is great fun. Playing battle cats is a game where you have three options:
1. Invade the Earth-using cats.
2. Invade a different planet that looks like Earth.
3. Invade a third planet with cats and machines or a big machine that has a lot of cats.”
But still another game, Brawl Stars is his favorite. He and his peers even collect the cards with characters that have different powers and they exchange cards. Same with Pokemon cards. That reminds me when we had some chewing gums with some special surprises inside, like different car brands, or other collections and we used to exchange with our peers, the doubles that we had. Another big hobby was to collect postmarks and to trade with our friends.
- What did you used to think about students and social media? What do you think now?
I think social media became more and more vulnerable, using pictures, videos, and more private information. It became from something private to meet a friend and hang out,(on Facebook, messenger to reconnect with relatives, family from far away, old friends, classmates) to something public to have as many “friends” on Facebook as possible. The people don’t have time to meet privately with friends, instead, they chat shortly, sometimes only on a superficial layer with many friends. I think nowadays social media is an even more dangerous opening to such wide public access. But it is more dangerous for people who would open a brand account, a youtube account, or a blog. It is important to have as many followers as possible and even when someone would like to create a youtube channel or Tik Tok account it is so important how many followers they have and be careful with private information.
Social media is changing the trend so quickly. My son and his peers said, three years ago was the trend to play Minecraft and nowadays is playing other video games. (Plants versus Zombie 2, Brawlstars, Plants versus Zombie Heros, and then back to Brawl Stars- Brawl Talk- Danny, Ryan, and Frank are the newest community for brawl stars for the latest/ newest updates. Three years ago they used to watch Dan TDM, but now he is not that trendy anymore.
- How and why are social interactions and communication changing?
- Nowadays is changing more because of the phone, screenshots, food favorite, instead of meeting and talking directly to the people they just text them.
People would go more often outside in the old days and now they are spending time inside with their phones, hanging out with their friends. Everyone wants to get a phone in order to communicate better or just to take a better picture resolution. People communicate more with photos, emojis than using proper sentences. Probably because we are living the “speed age”, and we don’t have enough time, as my mom always says.
- How do you use social media in your classroom? How do students learn to communicate in digital spaces in your class?
One of the units of inquiry that we tough for 4th and 5th Graders was about “How to be an online citizen”. The children learned about media, accounts, how to set passwords, emails, google hangouts, Seesaw, Google docs, google meet, and recently Zoom. But for lower elementary, they used Seesaw to post their artworks and reflection and to show to their family and in their classroom digital platform, shared with specialist teachers, homeroom teachers, and the school management.
- How have the recent school closures (because of the global pandemic) changed the way that you and your students are using social media?
Since the recent school closures, we use it way more the social media channels. We always post our tasks online on Seesaw. We are so long time in virtual meetings, zoom, or video that we post and we received even video recordings from our students.
The children use a lot especially google hangouts, to chat and text with each other. The chatting during the school break time in the school courtyard was replaced with messaging on google hangouts or facetime.
I was surprised to see how via face time, even more friends meet after school to chat about their favorite music, or best records at Rubik’s cubes, etc. It is new to me to call more friends at the same time.
They like to talk about their favorite bloggers as collins key and his brother devan key and their challenges. They do a lot of food challenges and sometimes I am watching with my kids together, especially the pancakes challenges. Then my children had even the ideas to create a healthy food channel and they were filming shooting cooking recipes for guacamole and smoothies.
My son and his friends enjoy watching Video Game you tube, Dan TDM, Preston, Sundee, Game theory, Gt live.
My daughter has a big idol, you tuber, Sky Brown, who is surfing and skating so beautifully and courageous her skateboard.
Other you tubers that she and her friends’ likes are The Norris Nuts- surfing, skating with a skateboard, and dancing.
How about you? Do you have any favorite bloggers or you tubers that you like? I am a bit behind this, but I must say I like it from YouTube, like my daughter, Sky(from Sky&Ocean). I think she is a very cool and inspiring girl. Then I enjoy listening to music very much and I discovered talking to my friends, about the Pentatonix, an acapella music group. I like also the Holderness Family. It is great fun youtube channel music for families which I like very much as well.
Please enjoy some songs about quarantine time, (one of it is “All by myself”-parody), because I think sometimes we got a bit tired from online teaching and learning and we need to get some fun and smile.