This past week, our 5-12 graders, had the opportunity to listen to @KarenHaase speak about cyberbullying, sexting, and online safety. First of all, if you have never heard Karen or Bobby Truhe (@btruhe) speak, it is a MUST. What was amazing to me, was the engagement of our students and the comfortable vibe they were demonstrating. However, it makes sense to me because she was "speaking their language". The engagement did not end on the last slide of her presentation, some students stayed a little longer to visit with her and a few even caught her attention at the end of the day while she was preparing for her parent presentation. At the time, I thought about how much our students have changed because of mobile devices, smart phones, social media and just 24/7 connection and communication.
A few days later, as I was viewing my personal Facebook page, a post appeared in my timeline that caught my attention. It was posted by a former student and tagged a few other past students. The post was a #TBT for their last day of their senior year at CHS (1998). It was fun to see them 17 years ago and brought up great memories. What stood out to me as I watched the video was that they used an old camcorder which they must have snuck into school (they must have hid it in a BIG backpack!). There was some video shots from the girls restroom (NOT anything inappropriate--just being silly). As I watched this, it made me think that this was before cell phones and mobile devices but they still found a way to record and upload 17 years later on social media!
Today, we are teaching our students about photos, video, and social media. I would have never thought about teaching that to our students 17-20 years ago but obviously they even found a way back then. As I thought of the conversations we can have with students today about digital citizenship and speakers like Karen Haase who reinforce our teachings, I am glad that we as educators are aware of this need and teach our students effective use of all these devices and online activity. I don't think our students have really changed at all--I think we have (and I am glad)!
This post is also posted on the #nebedu website at www.nebedu.com.