Media Mania

After watching Michael Wesch’s video, I was surprised to find out about the evolution of YouTube and of Media in general. Thinking back to when I was still in elementary school, I can remember bits and pieces of the early stages of YouTube, especially the Soulja Boy song and the Charlie Bit My Finger video — This was the first online digital video that I shared –by email– to all my friends. When YouTube was still new, I remember being told by my parents that I was not allowed to use it because it wasn’t for kids. At the time, I remember thinking this was unfair because a lot of my friends from school were always using it and uploading videos to the site. Looking back now though, I think that at the time, my parents were right and it wasn’t as big on kid friendly content as it is now, especially with their YouTube Kids addition. Now, my 3 year old cousin scrolls through YouTube Kids, knowing exactly how to find what she is looking for in a matter of seconds. To me, this further proves how quickly technology and peoples’ mindsets towards technology is and has changed.

I think that technology is a huge asset to education and I think that bringing it into the classroom can be beneficial. I think that we have seen a dramatic increase in the idea of the importance of technology in schools, especially within the last few months because of the COVID-19 virus. In March, in-person schools completely shut down and everything was shifted to online learning. Even still, 7 months later, my brother is no longer attending school in-person, but rather, is attending grade 7 from his bedroom, through the internet, as are the majority of the students at the U of R. Something that I wonder about is how this dramatic change in schooling will affect the methods of schooling in the future. I wonder if online learning is going to become a new normal and if eventually, the idea of in-person schools will become obsolete, similar to the Netflix/ Blockbuster scenario?

While there can be benefits to bringing media and technology into the classroom, I think there can also be challenges. The need to inform students about digital citizenship is extremely important, and in my opinion, I think that it should be introduced as soon as kindergarten. Children are getting online earlier and earlier, and as we discussed in class, a fair percentage of children have a digital footprint even before they are born.

With the increasing amount of screen time that students are getting, whether that be because of online-learning or just through recreational usage, I think that the need to balance screen time with physical activity is so important. I have witnessed it with my brother. Every time he gets a 15 minute break or as soon as he finishes school for the day, he moves from one screen to the next. I remember when I got home from school as a kid, we were not allowed to use the computer or watch TV until after dinner. We always came home and played outside usually until dinner was ready– even in the winter with our big snowsuits. Growing up in a different time than my brother, although we are only 10 years apart in age, has made me realize how different things are and how quickly things have changed in just a short 10 year gap.

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