Redefining Privacy

This prank could easily be me and the scary part is that it could actually not be a prank . . .

I now realize that in many ways I have been operating on the internet similar to how I interact with people. I assume positive intent. I assume I can trust someone until I have some reason not to. I assume that personal information about me doesn’t travel beyond our conversations. I know, a lot of assumptions here which could be considered naive or it could be seen as optimistic. Either way this week’s readings have given me pause to think about if this is the approach I actually choose. The key here is that whatever I decide I want my privacy to be online, I want to decide that. (Similar to the closing remarks in the Ted talk by Eli Pariser, posted by Kim).

Eli’s talk linked me to this Ted Talk by Gary Kovacs which helped me to visualize how I am being tracked online and to see how far reaching this issue goes beyond simply what I post on Facebook.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S14Beg_ovdg

Once I realized the extent of online privacy, which was eye opening by the way, I immediately went to the next step. If this is the current reality (and I know I am not going to forego the internet) then what choices do I have regarding my privacy?

For me, two things floated to the surface in response to this question:

1. Be more aware. 

This step won’t be too difficult because a) I am starting at ground zero and b) the articles we read for this week have provided a solid foundation to start from. For example, in Don’t Overestimate Privacy of Online Information Samantha MacConnell writes, “Knowing what a site’s terms of use are is critical before signing your name to anything, just as posting information about yourself.” In addition, learning more about online privacy resources such as Disconnect or Ghostery or Simplewa.sh have increased my awareness of the choices I do have regarding my privacy online.

2. Redefine privacy.

I couldn’t help but wonder if part of this issue may be in how we define privacy. I assume most of us are defining privacy in the traditional sense as our ability to control or determine what and how information is shared about ourselves. But it seems to me that with the new reality of how our personal information and preferences are being tracked online, we may need to shift our definition. In the post Beware: The Internet Could Own Your Future, Husna Najand writes, “We have come to a point where Internet privacy rights are eroding while simultaneously, the line between our private lives and the public persona are blurring.” To me, this indicates that a change in thinking needs to occur.  Jeff Utecht writes about just such a shift in his post on Privacy where he states, “We’re in a time period where we as a society are trying to figure out how much privacy we’re willing to give up. We benefit from giving up our privacy but it’s also a scary concept.” He goes on to say, “. . . privacy looks very different these days than it did a short while ago. That doesn’t mean that privacy doesn’t exist…it does. It just means you start with public. Everything you do is public and you work backwards from there. That’s a mind shift from where we were even just 15 years ago. Where we all started thinking our lives were private and we got to decide how public they were. That’s not the case! The moment you signed up for Facebook, bought a cell phone, or signed into an email account…..you became public.” Here Jeff advocates that our lives are public automatically as a default and therefore privacy has now become something we must create and advocate for individually.

There is a lot to think about with this topic both in regards to personal choices online but also to how those choices can impact our professional lives. I get the feeling that this week has only scratched the surface. In the end, maybe the simplest advice to follow is . . .

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey via Compfight cc

Students and Teachers Alike

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Photo Credit: Whiskeygonebad via Compfight cc

There was definitely a time in which the role of a teacher differed greatly from the role of a student. However, in classrooms today our roles and daily actions as teachers are very similar to what we expect of our students. We seek out new information alongside our students. In short, we persevere, we collaborate, we think critically, we communicate, we reflect . . . we grow! And we do all of this right alongside our students as they do exactly the same. No doubt, the roles of teachers and students are transforming.

This week I realized that the growing similarity between teachers and students as learners extends beyond our classrooms and into our digital worlds. When evaluating the performance task questions for this lesson (should we, as international teachers, have a digital footprint and how should we be teaching students to create a positive digital footprint?) I found myself thinking that there is no need here for a distinction between teachers and students. Yes, both teachers and students should have positive digital footprints and the process for how you go about creating one is the same whether you are in third grade or teaching third grade.

I found that this video from Common Sense Media really clarified not only what a digital footprint is but also why it’s important to create a positive one. I can imagine showing it to my fifth graders and I can also imagine it being shown on a teacher PD day.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P_gj3oRn8s[/youtube]

At this point, I think teaching students or adults how to create a positive digital footprint can be accomplished by three simple steps.

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https://mashable.com/2011/10/23/how-recruiters-use-social-networks-to-screen-candidates-infographic/

Step 1: EDUCATE

All too often people are unaware of how their digital footprint is being used. The infographic shown (left) in Erica Swallow’s “How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates” is a great example of a tool we can use to show how who we are on social media sites can impact our future opportunities. Additionally the quote from Will Richardson in William Ferriter’s article reminds us of the importance of having a digital footprint: “One of my worst fears as [my children] grow older is that they won’t be Googled well. … Or, even worse, that no links about her will come up at all. (p. 16) 

Step 2: PRACTICE

Once we educate as to why our footprints matter we are ready to practice creating a positive digital trail for ourselves. We need time, support, and practice to transform our online profile into one that we feel truly represents who we are. We need to practice hesitating and thinking about the impact of posting a certain picture of our weekend. We need time to think through an angry post that we may want to fire off in the moment. We need the chance to begin practicing online behaviors that The Power of a Positive Digital Footprint for Students outlines including: displaying groups we are proud to be a part of, highlighting accomplishments we are known for, demonstrating our constantly improving communication skills, etc. The good news about this step is that the younger we begin practicing these behaviors online, the more natural it will become and the less there will be to reverse.

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https://www.afrobella.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/woman.with.hands_.on_.heart_.jpg

Step 3: Hand on Our Hearts

I have a good friend who often uses this saying. He simply states, “If at the end of the day, you can put your hand on your heart and know that you gave it your best and that you remained true to who you are, that’s all you can ask.” I would recommend this self-check, of sorts, as the third and final step. If when you take a look at your actions online and review how you have represented yourself through social media, you can put your hand over your heart and say this is me, then I think you are well on your way to creating a positive digital footprint.

What floats to the surface for me after constructing this post is this: how lucky we are to be in a profession where our own growth is as encouraged as the growth of our students.

Final Project Course 1: Conflict

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The bulletin board we used to record how our thinking changed through the study of conflict in the countries shown here.

When our class began this new inquiry unit, entitled Conflict and Perspective, I had no idea where it was going to take us. I planned some engagement activities assuming my students’ interests would stay within the realm of personal conflict: fights with siblings, arguments on the playground, etc. However, three things became apparent quite quickly:

1. My 5th graders were burnt out on this theme of “why don’t we all just get along.” It was a conversation they had been having since grade one   . . . and they were tired of it.

2. I was reading about multiple international conflicts daily in the news and was struggling with a way to share such current events in class.

3. During our “Tuning In” phase, students were asking deeper and more global conflict questions such as, “What is going on with the Ukraine exactly?” or “How do big governments get into conflicts?”

These three observations created an opportunity that was too good to pass up! By combining what my students were interested in with the importance of what was going on in the world, I saw a new direction to take this unit. I decided to guide my students from evaluating their own worlds of personal conflict to researching and reflecting on current global conflicts. The engagement level in the class, the conversations that started at home, the higher order questions that were being asked, the collaboration amongst students and community members, all sky rocketed due to this more global shift. It was an amazing experience for all of us. Here is a sampling of what it looked like:

Resources: 

1. Conflict and Perspective note taking Template

2. Sample Student Script with highlighted images to create

3.  Israel/Palestine Conflict 2014 Sample Final Student Common Craft video. The only involvement I had was to narrate during the taping.

Reflection: What worked?

  • high engagement
  • relevant learning, immediately applicable to our world today
  • community involvement with guest speakers
  • grouping sizes best for collaboration
  • student choice and individual creativity
  • conversations initiated at home as a result

Reflection: What could be added/changed/deleted to improve the inquiry?

  • create a rubric for the final Common Craft video
  • create a google doc template for each student to record reflections
  • integrate more lessons on perspective
  • invite parents in as guest speakers to share their experiences
  • broaden the audience for the final videos

From my perspective, this unit was successful in reaching our enduring understanding of “our perspectives influence our choices when dealing with conflict.” Both the students and I learned from our community, had fun together, and became more informed global citizens as a result. Perhaps this mother’s email sums it up best . . .

“I wanted to send you a thank you for the great job you are doing teaching [our son] this year and share with you the impact you have made on him and therefore us. We were driving in the car listening to NPR when the situation with Gaza was covered. His older sister asked what prompted the attacks and what was the root of the issue between Israel and the Palestinians. To be perfectly honest with you – I was pretty hesitant to get into it because it’s pretty complex. While I was struggling how to start, [our son] asked if he could explain it – and he did . . . beautifully. He was succinct and knowledgable on the subject. I especially appreciated the unbiased presentation of the facts. When I asked him where he learned this – his answer was simple: ‘in class, of course.'”

As Course 1 comes to a close, I am definitely seeing the benefits of COETAIL conversations being translated into my teaching. Many new ideas have come to the surface for me and this time I am left wondering: How can I replicate this quality of learning experience for my students in other units throughout the year?

 

On board . . . with some questions??

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I loved reading about global collaboration this week and I was immediately energized about facilitating such experiences with my students!

In Collaborative Learning for the Digital Age, Cathy Davidson shares this wisdom, “Collaboration by difference is an antidote to attention blindness. It signifies that the complex and interconnected problems of our time cannot be solved by anyone alone, and that those who think they can act in an entirely focused, solitary fashion are undoubtedly missing the main point that isglobal table right there in front of them, thumping its chest and staring them in the face. Collaboration by difference respects and rewards different forms and levels of expertise, perspective, culture, age, ability, and insight, treating difference not as a deficit but as a point of distinction. It always seems more cumbersome in the short run to seek out divergent and even quirky opinions, but it turns out to be efficient in the end and necessary for success if one seeks an outcome that is unexpected and sustainable.”

This concept of “collaboration by difference” is something that I feel is difficult to find role modeled in our world of adults today. If we can teach children to value varied perspectives and teamwork as strengthening agents to decision making and problem solving, we will be planting seeds for a more collaborative world. What a powerful experience to provide students at any age!

In reflecting on where I am with facilitating such experiences for my students, I found my answer in the closing sentence of Andrew Marcinek’s post, Help Students Use Social Media to Empower, not Just Connect, “Simply allowing students to connect is only the beginning.” This is exactly where I  am at the moment. I have helped my students to connect to others using technology but I have yet to push those initial connections deeper into the realm of global collaboration. After browsing through many examples of such projects, I am both humbled in that I have a lot to learn and excited for this journey ahead.

Thankfully, I already have a few sample collaborative projects and guides in place for this journey. For instance, Kim’s blog post, A Step-by-Step Guide to Global Collaborations has already helped me to know some of the major components that I will need to think through such as: “developing explicit expectations, a communication structure, and assessment methods.” I plan to rely on her organizational steps heavily as they will help me to see a path through the forrest in this new adventure.

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So I am on board . . .

  • I see the value in global collaboration
  • I believe “collaboration by difference” is an important tool for both kids (and adults)
  • I want to try this in my classroom
  • I think my students would love it (and I would too)
  • I have some examples to guide me

But before I dive right in, I find that I have some questions . . .

  1. How do I find another classroom(s) to collaborate with?
  2. How do I choose the content that would be best for collaboration?
  3. Should I try this first with another classroom at my own school to work out any kinks?
  4. With a full schedule, how do I find enough time to integrate the lessons?
  5. How do I know what platform to use (google docs, wiki, blog, etc)?
  6. How do I present this new type of learning to my students/parents/school leadership?
  7. How much of global collaboration is too much to manage? One unit a quarter? a semester? a year?

Maybe there are already answers to those questions out there and maybe I will discover them as my trials unfold, but I do know this: I want to create an opportunity for my students to collaborate with peers to address the “complex and interconnected problems of our time” as part of a global team.

In closing, I came across Eric Whitacre’s work with The Virtual Choir in one of my online searches for examples of global collaboration, pretty amazing stuff!  So I end this post wondering: how can we, as educators, integrate this depth of collaboration, across the world, united by passions within our classrooms?

Let the Kids Drive!

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 5.24.12 PMThis week a very clear message floated to the surface for me: if you want to improve learning, put kids in the drivers’ seats. While this isn’t necessarily news to me, as I consider myself a proponent of self-directed learning, I did think this would be a strand worth exploring further. In Marc Prensky’s article, Shaping Tech for the Classroom, he outlines how we typically adopt technology:

  • Dabbling.
  • Doing old things in old ways.
  • Doing old things in new ways.
  • Doing new things in new ways.

and I couldn’t help but wonder where am I on that journey not only in regards to tech integration but also in regards to student-directed learning?

One of the findings in Living and Learning with New Media describes the roles adults can play in peer-based learning: adults can still have an important role to play, though it is not a conventionally authoritative one . . . in interest-driven groups we found a much stronger role for more experienced participants to play . . . these adults are passionate hobbyists and creators, and youth see them as experienced peers, not as people who have authority over them. These adults exert tremendous influence in setting communal norms and what educators might call “learning goals,” though they do not have direct authority over newcomers. . . what Dilan Mahendran has called ‘co-conspirators.'”

exactly as I sayThis finding seems to suggest that, as educators, we need to find a way to play down our authoritative role in order to be seen as “experienced peers” or “co-conspirators.” This idea immediately applied to my current experience of being a COETAIL student. Although I am being evaluated, I do feel as though the leaders of this cohort are “co-conspirators.” It seems that they have already accomplished what I aim to do with my own students. (Now I just need to figure out how they did that . . . possibly a later post.)

I then came across Lucy Gray’s blog post, which describes how PLNs (Personal Learning Networks) can be used to transform teacher practice. Although her quotation by Keith Hamon is talking of his experience as a teacher, I couldn’t help but link his words to what I want to create for my own students. He states, “I am my own universe – ity. But here’s the real magic: so is everyone else. In a network, we are all in the center, all empowered to work the network—adding value and taking value—to meet our goals.” That’s it! I want my students to create their own PLNs to put them at the center, to create a classroom (and beyond) network, and to show them the importance of contributing to and extracting value from a community.

whistling

At this point, I wondered . . . how are educators creating an environment in which students are driving their own learning and teachers are being seen as “experienced peers”? I used this inquiry to guide my next round of reading, via my RSS, and I found the following two examples:

1. Joshua Davis’ article entitled “How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses” describes how teachers today see that “knowledge isn’t a commodity that’s delivered from teacher to student but something that emerges from the students’ own curiosity-fueled exploration. Teachers provide prompts, not answers, and then they step aside so students can teach themselves and one another. They are creating ways for children to discover their passion—and uncovering a generation of geniuses in the process.” In one section, Davis tells the story of Sugata Mitra and references his famous Hole in the Wall Project where kids successfully taught themselves, guided by their own curiosities, without any adult instruction. Mitra comments, “The bottom line is, if you’re not the one controlling your learning, you’re not going to learn as well.” This is one approach to creating student-driven learning – remove the adults!

2. A series of You Tube videos describing the value of how students are able to self-direct and drive their own learning in Summit County Public Schools in California. This is another approach – develop entire schools where self-directed learning is the instructional philosophy.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCaPpdFoXu8[/youtube]

“As teachers and leaders in the building it is our job to really facilitate their growth and all of that, but mostly to facilitate their ability to direct their own learning.” – Joe Bielecki, Principal

And so after reading and reflecting I have come to a conclusion of where I am in relation to self-directed learning. I would place myself between “doing old things in old ways” and “doing old things in new ways,” depending on the lesson. But always striving towards “doing new things in new ways!”

Cultivating Creativity

I began our reading this week in the “Geeking Out” section of Living with
New Media
 and a quote from Clarissa really struck me: “‘It’s something I
can do in my spare time, be creative and write and not have to bepeacock graded,’ because, ‘you know how in school you’re creative, but you’re
doing it for a grade so it doesn’t really count?'” Clarissa’s comment made me wonder if students generate a limited form of creativity for school, which may not necessarily be genuine or may not express their full creative capacity. This quotation made me then question the following: How is creativity defined? Can it be defined? Can creativity be taught? How can it be taught? Can creativity actually be assessed? And that’s how the definition of, the teaching of, and the assessment of creativity became my “geeking out” interest for this week.

In the past weeks I have been reflecting on how I can push my students into more of the HOTS such as “creating” from our Bloom’s Taxonomy article. So since creativity contains the root word create, I enhanced-buzz-1710-1354650885-3found myself starting there. Bloom’s speaks to creating as: “designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing, devising, making . . . Before we can create we must have remembered, understood, applied, analysed, and evaluated.” This portrays “creating” as a complex and highly layered skill that can take many forms. Often I find that some of my students and my adult friends say “I am not creative” basing their definition on their lack of ability to draw, sing, dance, act, etc.  However, I wonder how their self perception might change if they used this broader, more encompassing definition of “creativity”, centered around intentional action and production?

I then focused on this idea of intentional action and was reminded of Sir Ken Robinson’s famous Ted talk heard around the world on How Schools Kill Creativity. So I used my handy RSS feed to see what he had to say on the topic of defining creativity and here is what I found:

Sir Ken Robinson’s thoughts seemed so clear to me. His comments resonated with how I was beginning to understand, and possibly how my students can easily misunderstand, the concept of creativity.

I then came across Andrew Miller’s post on edutopia “Yes, You Can Teach and Assess Creativity” in which he states, “If you and your students don’t unpack and understand what creativity looks like, then teaching and assessing it will be very difficult.” This rang true for me and I immediately saw an adjustment I could make. I needed to structure a conversation with my students to unpack what we mean by creativity. I presumed that they had gathered definitions in their specials classes (art, music, dance, drama) and that they would apply those understandings to our subjects. However, I now see my own blind spot. I was also operating as though creativity is only taught in those fine arts areas, just as my friends narrow their definition of what it means to be creative and in turn exclude so much!

Andrew Miller goes on in his post to offer a sample creativity rubric from Grant Wiggins and includes some of his own guidelines for quality indicators of  creativity:

  • Synthesize ideas in original and surprising ways.
  • Ask new questions to build upon an idea.
  • Brainstorm multiple ideas and solutions to problems.
  • Communicate ideas in new and innovative ways.”

These indicators led me to wonder more about the assessment of creativity and more specifically the standards say about it. I found amongst the ISTE Student Standards that students should be able to enhanced-buzz-20646-1354814540-0“demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. . . a. Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes b. Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.” It doesn’t get more obvious than that, creativity is required of our students both as a skill and as an understanding. So the natural next question was, what is required of teachers to help students reach those standards. The ISTE Teacher Standards state that “Teachers facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity. Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments. . . a.Promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness c. Promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes.” It is clear that we, as educators, have a responsibility to both facilitate and model creative practices. 

It seems I have gained the following answers to my initial questions:

1. Creativity can be defined as a broader concept of creating new, which is not only present in the formal arts programs. This quote by Mary Lou Cook comes closest to how I would like to broaden my students undesrtanding of creativity.

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2. Creativity can and should be taught. Furthermore, we need to unpack what we believe creativity to be as a classroom community so we can recognize it and celebrate it in its various forms.

3. And creativity can be assessed once a common definition is created. There are creativity rubrics already out there that place the highest value on the creation of novel ideas and even go so far as to require courage. I think this is exactly what we want to encourage in each of our students.

So through my “geeking out” experience, it seems that most questions have been answered to an initial degree. I have a foundational understanding to now inquire into the limits students feel are placed on their creativity in schools. For me, what floats to the surface this week is a variation from my original question: How do we define, develop, support, and evaluate creativity within our students without limiting them?

Learning Regardless

This is no longer our reality . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smT2jsAW9xM

Today, school is not essential to learning, as it once was. The boundaries between when, where, how, and with whom we learn no longer exist. It seems students are learning (dare I say) possibly more outside of the traditional classroom setting than in it. They can be coding while in line for a slice of pizza, learning phonics while mom shops for groceries, skyping with a friend on another continent while riding the bus to school, chatting with a fellow gamer to record “cheat codes” for a new game, and the list goes on.

It is clear from our readings this week that there are no longer boundaries to learning:

  • From Will Richardson’s blog: “A growing appreciation for the porous boundaries between the classroom and life experience, along with the power of social learning, authentic audiences, and integrative contexts, has created not only promising changes in learning but also disruptive moments in teaching.”
  • From MindShift: “The 21st century is a 24/7 environment. And the next decade is going to see the traditional temporal boundaries between home and school disappear.”
  • From “The Guardian”: “the average six-year-old child understands more about digital technology than a 45-year-old adult”
  • From Living with New Media: “‘Basically, I had to self-teach myself, even though I was going to school for digital media'”
  • From elearnspace: “Informal learning is a significant aspect of our learning experience. Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning. Learning now occurs in a variety of ways – through communities of practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks. Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime.”

First, as educators, we must acknowledge that there aren’t restrictions determining when we learn. Learning is no longer divided into “in school” and “out of school”. Our students aren’t saying what the cartoon child expressed in the first video, “There are lots of things that I can do at school with my friends that I might not be able to do at home on my own” because it is simply no longer true.

Second, we must listen to our students who are saying this . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0H7b9faIBo

“[my education] is freedom, it’s about being creative, doing things differently, it’s about community and helping each other, it’s about being happy and healthy among my very best friends.” – Logan

And third we must ask the question that floats to the top for me this week: how do we, as teachers, create an environment within our schools/classrooms to facilitate learning for students who are redefining their own education? Could Connectivism be the answer?

 

 

 

About Me

A little bit about my journey . . .

  • I grew up in Denver, Colorado a big sister who always loved school, the outdoors, and  playing soccer
  • I studied English Lit and Italian in college and then headed to India for six months to volunteer where I fell in love with teaching
  • I moved to Chicago, Illinois studied teaching at Northwestern, and then taught two years at a charter school on the west side, one of the steepest learning curves of my life
  • I then joined my best friend to work at a KIPP charter school in Gary, Indiana where I remained for three years teaching 5th and 6th graders Nonfiction Studies
  • Finally, I moved to Jakarta, Indonesia to teach 5th graders and began my experience teaching abroad, I am now entering my fourth year here and still learning every day

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What brought me to COETAIL:

I learn best by reading, discussing new ideas, working together, experimenting, creating, and reflecting. When I go through that process, either professionally or personally, I gather lots of information about both the content and myself as a learner. I can’t hold onto it all but amidst those new experiences, there are always some ideas that float to the surface, that stay with me. Ideas that I want to try more of or explore further. COETAIL has been one of those ideas, something I have heard about, a learning experience I have wanted to try. I know it will be a steep learning curve for me but I am excited for the opportunity to see what comes to the surface.

 

Identity Mapping

As I read “Living and Learning with New Media”, I found myself gaining a critical new understanding regarding youth and their connection to media. Prior to this article, I would have classified myself amongst this group, “parents and educators tend not to see the practices involved in hanging out as supporting learning.” (p.13) Within the classroom context I saw media as a way to enhance and propel learning so just “hanging out” on media for the heck of it always seemed like a waste of time. Similar to how this woman seems to feel . . .

However, the light bulb that went on for me, as a result of this article, is that media is crucial to the identity formation of youth today. As stated on page 14, “This ready availability of multiple forms of media, in diverse contexts of everyday life, means that media content is increasingly central to everyday communication and identity construction. Mizuko Ito uses the term “hypersocial” to define the process through which young people use specific media as tokens of identity, taste, and style to negotiate their sense of self in relation to their peers . . . These practices have become part and parcel of sociability in youth culture and, in turn, central to identity formation among youth.” This is a completely different angle on “hanging out” that I had not truly considered, which makes perfect sense. Youth are using media not only as a platform to present who they are but to simultaneously figure out who they are in relation to their peers and the world around them. They are constantly exploring their interests, integrating or discarding information, and presenting who they are, what they like, who they like, who they want to be, etc. in real time. This is changing possibly every moment and those changes are being recorded. Through media, youth are able to experiment and try on different aspects of who they want to be and then adjust as they feel necessary, instantaneously.

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With this understanding, it seems like an incredible map is being created of people’s trials of and paths to identity. This amazes me because when I think back to my own youth (and while I went through similar highs and lows of who am I, who are my real friends, etc) there is no real record or linear road map of that experience. Sure, I have journal entries, photo albums, and anecdotes from family and friends, but there are a lot of holes and years between some of those artifacts. I wonder what I could learn differently about my own identity development if I had had an online profile that recorded my every action and preference and all the changes I went through all those years ago? I also wonder what it’s like to have all that struggle of who you are showcased publicly to your “friends” and online communities? I remember that process feeling highly vulnerable at times, does the involvement of media mediate that feeling of insecurity or just put it on blast for everyone (you choose) to see?

Group of Friends Text Messaging on Cell PhonesSo I guess I am realizing that what floats to the surface for me is: how does creating who you are via today’s media impact identity development for better or for worse?