As soon as we are with a group of friends at a restaurant or sitting with family visiting, someone pulls out a smart phone and somehow the domino effect takes place. Less people are socializing with the bodies that are present. Some of the people with gadgets begin to engage with online activities. I am sooo guilty of it, I have even coined the phrase “what are you FaceBooking around?”, because of the amount of times people get distracted by their gadgets. I understand how awkward it makes it when your friends are attempting to talk to you and you are choosing to engage with online likes, comments, texts and tweets. It is terrible when you miss out on someones accomplishment because you choose to engage with tech.
I agree with Sherry Turkle and her Ted Talk Connected, but alone that receiving an affirming text is just like getting a hug, as I write this I think that I should text my step-daughter and let her know that I am so proud of her today. I have know her since she was 7 and today she wrote her last grade 12 exam. I was going to send the message as imagined in the fake text message on the right that I made using the fake text generator. Then I thought that giving her a hug in person and congratulating her is better than any text message that I would send. I guess I have some control as to when I should be talking in person and when I should send a quick message. Later that evening I congratulated her in person and had tears in my eyes thinking about watching her grow from a 7 year old little goofy girl to a beautiful graduate. I am so glad that I realized that I needed to send a message to her but face to face was the best as I could look into her eyes, with the little stream of tears running down my cheeks. This connection is what we both needed!
But, it is sad to have to admit, but the first thing I do in the morning is roll over and grab my phone, as it is only an arms reach away. I like to peak at my emails on Hotmail, my Facebook, and perchance I went to bed earlier than my friends I might have a text to read. Sadly, I continue with this routine before I drift off at night. Let me tell you it is so so easy to lose track of an hour on Facebook. Just this morning one of my students pointed out that we should unplug ourselves from technology and games for at least two hours before bed. However, I do find many posts on Facebook that I save using the new save feature. In the morning I fire up my computer in the classroom and share my findings. Just today I was able to share the New Heritage Minute that explores the dark history of residential schools, this was an amazing tie into National Aboriginal Day and Truth and Reconciliation that I have been focusing on in Literacy and Social this term.
Between this course and 831 last semester, I have made a conscious effort to include more technology in the classroom. I started finding current events that I could share with my students in my Facebook feed. In class we would read the article off the whiteboard then allow students to use persuasive writing to chose a side of the issue. My students were not writers but now I can present an article on Harambe or the Japanese boy who was left in the forest as punishment, and watch them go. I created an outline and expectations for their writing and shared it with them on GoogleDoc’s. Now I can help them edit online and teach them the ins and outs of typing and formatting. My class despised using pencil and paper to write. Now they are ecstatic to grab a Chromebook.
However, I am guilty of attempting to multitask by using my phone during meetings to send out emails. The days of the to do list are gone, because now we just do it at the comfort of our fingertips. Sherry Turkle further talks about just paying attention to what we feel is important, how do we even know what we are zoning out?? Zoning out information while we are doing what we want on our computers and phones isn’t a skill we should be bragging about.
Last night as I was sitting for supper, I had my computer connected to zoom and my Husband and I watched the intro video by Janelle, Kyle O., and Dean. My husband quickly pointed out that I should mention it was only 2 weeks ago when we were travelling to Yellowstone national park. Having to turn our cellular data off made for a long car trip. We drove 2800 km and enjoy conversation and scenic views. Luckily we had a GPS that guided our travels, a gift I had received for Christmas. When we would get chatting, something would come up, Arron at the wheel and me as passenger, I would say “just pass me your phone, I’ll look it up, let me google that”. I must have said it 50 times on our trip, and we both had a good laugh. What a fond memory, Aaron made a great connection to the into video. All because of the atrocious data charges that happen once you leave Canada.
Text or Talk: Is Technology Making You Lonely? made some very great points that I have to agree with. The article pointed out that a recent study found that 48% of respondents only had one friend or companion . It is true I have a huge social network online, but the depth of my networks offline has decreased. I have a few confidants at work and basically only one friend that I can confide in outside of work. In fact I sent my friend a text just this morning that I missed her, as I haven’t had a face to face conversation with her in like 10 days. Yes, technology has made it easier to stay in touch while keeping distance, I find myself feeling distant when I haven’t made connections with people in person.
I truly believe that myself and larger society is was to connected and addicted to social media. I think that social media acts as a safety net that protects us. Once we say or do something in real time, there is no taking it back. Online activity allows us to control what we share with our friend, family, or even strangers. We can make all sorts of edits and add filters to made us appear happier, better or just different. I think the bottom line is to make sure that we keep the connections that we have with our real life friends.