As I watched Generation Like, a friend overheard the video and immediately said, “Is that Tyler Oakley?” My friend is a big time YouTuber and is one of Tyler’s 4.5 million plus followers. I am right on the outskirts of this “generation like” and am not ashamed of it.
As I sit on my computer or in front of the TV, I am constantly checking my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest on my phone. While my interaction with social media is not as extreme as many of my friends, my awareness of it all connects me to the kids around me. My knowledge of social media is an important aspect in my life that prepares me for instruction in my classroom. For me this might be slightly different than for a secondary teacher.
As I plan my lessons and teach my class, I think about how can I make this relate to my students and how can I prepare them for what is to come in their life. My students are not at the age where they are legally allowed to use many of these social media outlets; however, they are 100% aware of what they are and what they consist of. For example, when I was in a 2nd grade classroom, my students “tweeted” all about the books they read. Their tweeting consisted of writing a quick post about a book they read on a post-it and putting it on a Twitter themed bulletin board. While these 7 and 8 year olds are not on Twitter themselves, they were excited to be part of something relating to Twitter. These second graders are also putting something on a bulletin board for the whole school to see. What they write is available for others to read and comment on. Teaching students to be aware of the world they are part of, how to use social media in a positive way, and how to interpret and understand all sorts of media in front of them.
Something that scares me with social media are the “likes” and “favorites.” These things can cause image disorders in young people. I have witnessed some of these problems first hand. What happens when comments or “likes” are not longer positive? Preparing these students to be aware of the repercussions of their posts is an important role of both teachers and parents. How will they react when they receive no “likes” to their selfie? What about if they receive 400? And how will they react when someone posts a negative comment? Generation Like is learning to live their lives under a microscope, but they must understand this and use it for the better.
I love social media and I am definitely part of it. As teachers we need to prepare our younger students of what is to come in the world of social media and being role models to those older students that are already part of it.
Now go! Post, Tweet, and Snap away!