Reflections

Why is the Social Media Conversation So Negative?

Posted on Updated on

Digital Citizenship EmulationAfter reading the blog post, “8 Ways Kids Are Using Instagram to Bully,” I remain perplexed as to why the conversation revolving around social media and its implications on the lives of teens remains a negative one. While the author’s citations of past incidents may be true, they provide no service whatsoever to counteracting cyber bullying, however, only perpetuate negative stereotypes surrounding the world of social media. Rather than provide a solution or effect positive change to the cited malicious behavior, the author participates in the culture of shaming social media: an action that only makes the internet space less safe for teens.

As I explain in my (Spanish) EdCamp Global Classroom Presentation, “Buscame por Google, Se Reto” (Google Me, I Dare You), degrading social media promotes negative use. In psychology, this phenomenon is known as the self-fulfilling prophecy- if you have a negative attitude, negativity will occur. Similarly, by constantly lecturing students, parents, and teachers about the harms of social platforms, students develop negative schemas for social media and learn to associate its use with malicious behavior. Therefore, I dare to ask: why is the conversation never positive?

Digital Citizenship SummitWell, that is quickly changing by thought-leaders eagerly following the footsteps of Dr. Marialice Curran. I was fortunate enough to meet Dr. Curran virtually several times, simultaneously creating a positive digital footprint as well as demonstrating 21st century interview skills as I hosted her on the Burlington High School’s live Google Hangout webinar, Help Desk Live. The only times I have met Dr. Curran face-to-face were at the nation’s first Digital Citizenship Summit, and again when she invited me to present at the first international Digital Citizenship Summit in England. In fact, the sole reason Dr. Curran and I met was because of my positive use of social media. After following my work avidly on Twitter and About.me, Dr. Curran was eager to speak with me and include student voice in her work with the DigCitSummits. As a direct result of leveraging social media to my professional advantage, through serving as a contributing author to the BHS Help Desk blog, Teachers With Apps, and my own blog, I have gained a digital reach of over 200,000 viewers in over 160 countries across 6 continents (82% of the globe), as well as been invited to speak in 4 countries across 3 continents, interning in digital content for EdTechTeacher, and even blogging for brands as renowned as Rosetta Stone.

Clearly my experience leveraging social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, my blog) is taboo. But– dare I question the status quo again– why does it have to be? If we collectively divorce from the rhetoric of social media’s explicitly harmful nature, then we embrace the challenge to promote positive social media use in schools. Students can learn to leverage Twitter to build a global community of learners, use YouTube to share their content, connect with professionals via LinkedIn, and assert their voice through blogging. Through education, demonstration, and proactive conversation we can abolish cyber bullying- but we must first abolish our negative mentality.

Advertisements

Help Bring Students to #DigCitSummitUK !

Posted on Updated on

AZV-_HsW

After being the first student speaker at the inaugural Digital Citizenship Summit, I am excited to announce that I have been invited to present at the first international digcitsummit at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom on January 23, 2016.

#DigCitSummitUK has been making some incredible waves, proving that when you work together on a common goal, greatness happens. Last week we had a thunderclap that made over 600,000 Twitter impressions, and we are building even more momentum to get the event trending on Twitter! Not only are we making a remarkable digital impact, but we are working on the ground as well. So far, over 7 unique countries from 3 different continents will be represented at the event. #DigCitSummitUK has truly evolved into an inspiring global event working to facilitate conversation on safe, savvy, and ethical use of social media for students. Read the rest of this entry »

Green Screening for the CustomerBloom Scholarship

Posted on Updated on

Timmy Sullivan Green ScreenEveryone should have access to a green screen.

For the second time since its installment in Burlington High School’s lower library, I used the green screen for an iMovie project. Why it has taken me so long to do so, I have no idea; it is an incredible piece of technology. Since I frequently pass through the lower library, as well as use the space for several club meetings, I often see students using the green screen to travel through time and space. For example, students making cooking videos for Italian are transported across the Atlantic, suddenly in an authentic Italian home; physics students take a rocket ship to space, where they are sucked up by black holes; history classes attend historic events, such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Last week I used the green screen to enter the CustomerBloom Scholarship Program. During Burlington’s Thanksgiving break, I dedicated some of my free time to using the space to record a video of myself answering the question, “what motivates you?” I then edited my video footage using iMovie. Again, why it has taken me so long to use iMovie, I have no idea.

Using both pieces of technology with little prior experience was exciting. I had no manual to go off of, no experience to tap in to. I was exploring. I got to experiment with all of the cool features of iMovie; I played with volume control, green screen effects, music, and overall video editing. Using the green screen was also very enjoyable; I was nervous at first that it would not work, to then be pleasantly surprised at its power.

My overall takeaway from filming my video is that technology is a powerful tool for content creation. I know many students who aspire to have a future in film and advertising, for whom the implementation of green screening technology is an incredible vehicle for research, practice, and design. In addition to serving the few who hope to enter the film and advertising business, many other students find great enjoyment from green screening. Every time I see students using the tool, they are always smiling. Who can blame them- it’s fun! Tools like the green screen are essential in fostering classroom creativity and inspiring students to think outside the box.

If you are interested in watching my scholarship video, it is embedded below:

 

Presenting at the First National Digital Citizenship Summit

Posted on Updated on

Digital Citizenship SummitDigital Citizenship Best Practices for College and Career Ready Students:

An Inside Look at the Digital Citizenship Summit

Having just arrived home from presenting at the nation’s first Digital Citizenship Summit, I am eager to share the highlights of today’s event. Unfortunately, I arrived a few hours late to the summit, as I was taking SAT Subject tests this morning. I did, therefore, miss the opening ceremonies and keynote. No amount of standardized testing, however, could keep me from representing student voice at the conference! Though I arrived late, I was still fortunate enough to meet several ed-tech superstars, as well as watch the amazing Sarah Thomas entertain us with her drone. Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s talk about DigCit

Posted on Updated on

Last Friday, I was privileged enough to pilot season 3 of the BHS Help Desk’s Google Hangout news network, Help Desk Live. Joining me in the conversation were two of the nation’s pioneers and leading figures in digital citizenship, Dr. Marialice Curran and Dr. Mike Ribble. Both Marialice, co-founder of the nation’s first Digital Citizenship Summit, and Mike, published author of Raising a Digital Child and Digital Citizenship in Schools, were eager to talk about the upcoming “DigCit” Summit, as well as discuss how to get students, teachers, and parents involved in the process of digital branding. I want to extend a thank you to both Marialice and Mike for agreeing to our interview, as well as for their contribution to students’ success. The interview is embedded below:

 

 

Interested in learning more about digital citizenship? How about attending the conference on October 3rd? Maybe you want to participate in the conversation by using #digcit on Twitter. Better yet, facilitate the discussion with your students and see what digital citizenship means to them.

Two Weeks Without Tech | Dos Semanas Sin Tecnología

Posted on Updated on

IMG_7024
Photographed by Mira Mehdi Photography

Boarding a plane, leaving the country, and living with another family might seem like an overwhelming experience for some. I couldn’t grab my passport fast enough. Between February 6th and February 19th, I was staying abroad with 23 of my fellow classmates in Collado-Villalba, Spain.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

The Basics and The Banners

Posted on Updated on

imagesAs previously discussed, my second semester ILE is to begin learning HTML and CSS while working closely with a team of students to construct a Burlington High Maker Studio. I am proud to announce I have developed my game-plan and initiated the beginning stages of this semesters ILE. Read the rest of this entry »