A Shift in Culture

I never really considered how online culture had changed. Cyber culture is defined as “the social conditions brought about by the widespread use of computer networks for communication, entertainment, and business.” It is very interesting to think that instead of a consumer mindset, we now have a contributor mindset as Alec said. “We don’t just enjoy now, we participate.” We have the power to create and share new content everyday. We are no longer just the consumers of media, we can be a part of the media. Not only do we play a part in creating content, we have so much power to control where it goes and how big it gets. Alec and Wesch were both talking about how people have the ability to create and share content without the need for whole production crew.

A specific example that I found particularly interesting was the example that Wesch gave when he was talking about the Crank That video and how quickly it caught on. After the boys posted their video on YouTube, people went crazy for it and the popularity of the video grew. People were taking part in the culture and creating their own videos as a response. It grew so large that the original creators were signed to a record label and made an official music video retracing the steps the video took to get where it is.

In my future classroom, there are certainly some things that I might consider not teaching and focus on the application of certain practices instead. For example, during our ECMP class, Alec brought up the quadratic equation and posed the question “Is it really necessary to be teaching all the ins and outs of the equation? Instead, we could be focusing on how to use the equation.” This made me think that there are so many resources out on the internet that students can access for learning. I might consider asking my students to go onto a certain website to learn about a topic. Then in class we would build on the knowledge that they gained and focus on how the students might apply this to their lives. However, this may prove to be difficult in a younger classroom, the parents would certainly have to be involved. I also plan on being active on Twitter with my future classes. As I’ve already shared, I love the platform of communication that Twitter presents for teachers and students/parents. Sharing what my class has been up to during the day is certainly something that I will be doing in the future. I also want to be sharing and finding resources to share for support other teachers. I also think blogging would be a very positive platform for classrooms to take part in. Blogging about teaching and classrooms has become very popular and rightfully so. It is very helpful to those reading the blogs. I will certainly consider this for my future classrooms.

As for schools in general, this new culture of participation has created many new opportunities. Tools for connecting with parents have radically shifted and I believe that communication has never been easier. Keeping in contact with parents is incredibly easy. Some would argue that this may not be a positive thing and potentially supports helicopter parents but I believe that parents have a right to know what is going on with their children and this new culture is a very easy way of keeping those lines of communication open. Schools are able to connect with other schools across the world and build relationships with them. This also means that schools need to be aware that their students are online and I believe that there needs to be more emphasis on teaching students to become good online citizens. Teachers and students alike have a responsibility to conduct themselves in a professional manner online. When schools realize that this culture of participation is impacting their students, the focus will shift and educating students about online culture will become more prevalent.

What do you think? Do you think that students need to be learning about being online citizens? Is it something that we should be focusing on in schools? Let me know!

Until next time,

Emily Grace.

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