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Topic: What's In a Selfie?
Replies: 20   Last Post: Mar 16, 2014 10:42 PM

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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
What's In a Selfie?
Posted: Mar 7, 2014 11:59 AM
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From My Island View [Educational, Disconnected Utterances], Tuesday,
March 4, 2014. See
What's In a Selfie?

By Tom Whitby

Well, if you watched the Academy Awards last week, you witnessed the
global impact that social media has in the world. Ellen DeGeneres was
able to take a picture of a group of actors that, in the first half
hour of it being posted, was re-tweeted 700,000 times, which
temporarily knocked Twitter off the Internet. It has now become the
number one tweet of all time. That is one example of the effect that
social media is continuing to have in countries around the world. We
should not lose sight of the fact that many, many people were
following the Oscar show hashtag to share the experience of the
program with others.

Many actors are using social media to connect with fans. The same
fans, which a generation ago resorted to fan mail to connect with
their idols, now have an opportunity to connect in real life through
social media. This is not an opportunity that is ignored by the
entertainment industry. TV fans are now being continually bombarded
with hashtags to follow shows. The news business is also asking
people to follow and exchange information through hashtags. This is
creating more interactive involvement with TV. Not since Gerald
McBoing-Boing, an animated character, had us draw with crayons on a
plastic sheet placed over a TV screen in the 50's, have we seen such
interaction. We traced lines placed on the magic screen one at a
time, until we had a bridge drawn for Gerald to cross and escape
danger. It was way ahead of its time. It was however interactive and
a definite attention-grabber.

What does any of this have to do with education? The idea that social
media gives us a platform to send out information and have people
interact with it, or just digest it, would seem to be an idea that
would be snapped up and embraced by educators. They are the very
people who make a living trying to get folks to get information and
interact with it, or just digest it. We shouldn't need a magical
plastic screen to connect the lines in order to build a bridge for
educators to reach this idea.

Ellen DeGeneres's picture is small potatoes to what educators can put
out. Educators have access to real sources. In addition to pictures
they have: Websites, Documents, Blog posts, Videos, Podcasts,
webinars, articles, interviews, and maybe even some sensible
worksheets to share. To share with whom you may ask. To share with
each other, I would answer. Imagine if every teacher shared just one
of their best sources with other educators, who in turn could tweet
them out to the tune of 700,000 tweets in a half hour. Everyone would
benefit. The idea here is to get educators familiar with the concept
of connectedness and its possibilities, so that getting comfortable
with social media itself becomes less of an obstacle.

Social Media is here to stay. Its form may change, and certainly the
applications we use will not remain the same, but the idea of openly
exchanging information in whatever forms it is produced is not going
away. As educators we can use it or lose it. If we don't start to
understand and use this technology soon, we will lose the opportunity
to harness it, because we will be irrelevant. We don't need social
media to teach, as much as we need it to learn. It is a cornucopia of
information. We can tailor that information to personalize our
learning. This is the way of today's world. For the scholar, the
tomes are no longer stored in the monasteries, they reside on the
Internet, and collectively, if we all share that which we know, we
will all benefit. Collectively we are smarter than we are
individually. That is the basis of collaborative learning. It is no
longer a face-to-face endeavor limited in time and space. It happens
anywhere, and anytime through the use of technology. Technology is
the game-changer. As educated individuals, how can we ignore the

Becoming a connected educator requires the use of 21st Century
skills. This should not come as a surprise 14 years into that
Century. Educators need to be digitally literate. We do not need
educators who loudly proclaim to not get it when it comes to
computers. We would not tolerate an educator in the 19th and 20th
Centuries to loudly proclaim to not get it when it comes to reading
books. This Century requires a new literacy and there is less and
less room for illiterate educators to work alongside those who
constantly strive to remain relevant. To better educate our kids we
need to better educate their educators.

Maybe educators should do a Selfie with their class behind them in
the picture. These are the faces of kids that this educator leaves an
impression on each and every day. They are the educator's charges.
Are they the faces of kids who got from that teacher the best that
that teacher had to offer. Does what that teacher offered meet the
needs of what those kids will have to know in their world in order to
live, thrive, and compete? What's in a Selfie?
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244

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