As a Media technology teacher in a Canadian classroom, I am fascinated with the ever evolving relationship teens have with technology. We are at a tipping point in which digital media through immersion, has become the language of youth, while many adults still lag behind in awareness and skill. It’s this generational divide that needs to be bridged. Canadian theorist and media teacher, Marshall McLuhan said, “We shape our tools, and afterwards, our tools shape us”. However, engaging in reflective practice, wisdom, guidance, and social etiquette help us shape the use and design of our emerging digital tools. Now, at an increasing time of ever-evolving technological change, media and technological literacy require a more prominent role in education.
Back when I began my career as a reporter, cell phones, for the most part, were installed in the cars of journalists and traveling businessmen. When I transferred into teaching, cell phones weren’t part of the classroom environment, though I, like many adults, carried one in my purse in case of car emergencies. Now teens have appropriated cell phones. They bring them to class and are integrating them into every part of their lives. Many teens tell me they see their cell phones as extensions of their bodies. Others say they look to a network of friends to help them find their identities. With this intensified connectivity comes questions around changes in social relationships, abilities in functioning at school and work, and questions around safety. As mobile technologies become integrated in the classroom, educators must address these questions.
From time to time, I blog on technology, teens, and education. Look back to my blog in September of 2009, and you’ll find I started researching these topics out of concern for the younger generation and out of fear. My fear has largely been replaced with a much better understanding of teens’ relationships with digital technologies and some possible ideas for implementation in guiding them through the rough spots like social etiquette and appropriate use.
Combining the fields of Media and Education has been a career focus of mine since graduating from Ryerson’s Bachelor of Applied Arts program in Radio and Television Arts in 1993. Since that time, I have taught Communications Technology, Film, and Media at the high school level and Journalism at the college level. In October 2010, I completed my Masters of Arts in Media Production at Ryerson where I researched and produced a documentary on teens and texting. I also wrote the course curriculum for the on-line Grade 11/12 Communications Technology qualification course at Queen’s University Faculty of Continuing Education department where I am currently teaching the course. Recently, I joined the executive committee for the Association for Media Literacy.
Workshops, Presentations, and Conferences:
ECOO Educational Computing Organization of Ontario
Waterloo Region District School Board Web 2.0 Conference
Waterloo Region District School Board Vice Principals
Waterloo Region District School Board Teacher-Librarians
Waterloo Region District School Board Bluevale Collegiate Institute Professional Development
Toronto District School Board On-line Media Conference
Media Educators Work Group (OISE, Association for Media Literacy, and NFB)
York University Media Education candidates
OCTOADE Social Media conference at University of Ontario Institute of Technology
I conduct workshops, talks, and media appearances. If you are interested in having me come to speak to your organization, conduct a workshop, or appear for broadcast, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org