Out of the four options we were given for this semester’s major project (Option 1: Development of a curriculum-supported digital citizenship/literacy resource; Option 2: Personal journey into media; Option 3: Internet-based social activism project; and Option 4: Student-designed project), I decided to dive deeper into my personal journey into media (“option2”). I decided to take the courage and ask my 109 adult students about their most used apps, one educational and one social. I was afraid I would have to use Snapchat, and my fear became a reality.
I am not 100% sure of the reason why I did not want to use Snapchat, but I believe it was for the same reason I was not on Twitter before my first course with Dr. Coursos. When I started using the Internet, I knew nothing about digital identity and digital sociability. Like Jessie, I want to live more in the moment and have less unnecessary distractions.
For the assignment, I gave Snapchat a try. I tried to understand the purpose and functionalities of the app, but yet I was disappointed. Some days later, and after an interesting (and momentarily scary) experience, I realized what the main purpose of my experience with this major project was. I had a big aha moment when I understood that there is no value in experiencing what an app may offer, such as connectivity, collaboration, and independent learning, if we don’t discuss, first and foremost, the importance of responsibility and integrity.
When my tweet showed up on a big screen during a very important event for our community, I could have damaged my own reputation and others’. It is no different when we share or post something on Snapchat. Our actions, private and public, matter. Our actions represent who we are and what we believe in.
This is why I decided to stop using Snapchat and have not even started analysing the U of R app (the educational app most used by my students). I decided to use my time to explore the development of integrity in the online world.
Even though I won’t have time to explore and share my findings on online integrity before this semester is over, I am certainly going to keep learning about teaching practices that foster integrity and responsibility. I had a short conversation with my 16-year old nephew about online integrity just some days ago. It was not the best approach, but it was a good start.
My goal moving forward is to create a lesson plan on the importance of integrity and spread the word among my adult students. On March 28, I gave a speech to a group of 74 high school students in Brazil, on the importance of integrity and honesty in achieving personal goals.
I believe integrity should become a popular word in every single family conversation at the dinner table, as it was when I was a teenager. Well, are families still gathering around the dinner table?
I am thankful for the turnaround of my major project and all the learnings attached to it!
As Mrs. Soto said, we need to have our own code and live by it.