Sunday, December 12, 2010
Stay young - Teach!
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a small Christmas party with my husband and some of his work colleagues, I did not know anyone except the host and my husband, so it was a good night to meet new people. Just to set the scene here ....these people were about my age - some older, a few younger, and none of them were in the education sector saving for having had children go through school. All had children in their late teens and early twenties and all were expatriates. Most were in the aviation industry, a few were not, none were teachers except me and the large majority were men (4 women to about 20 males)
The evening grew later and there were a handful of people left and the conversation turned to social networking - starting off with Facebook. Discussion was about how good it was for their children to keep in touch with friends who had left, this then led to 'being friends' with their kids to know that they are doing and how some of the teenagers wouldn't allow it, I mentioned that maybe the family dog could have an account and be the teenagers friend rather than Mum or Dad. (idea gleaned from Warren Apel at ECIS forum)They then mentioned how they didn't like it at staff parties when people took their photo and tagged them on Facebook, "what if I don't want to be tagged?", and how people from all over the place can see what I was doing etc. I jumped in and mentioned how you can untag yourself, and have privacy settings that restricts who can see what, and maybe they could talk to their colleagues about this, and how they do not want to be tagged in photos - asserting their own digital rights. The "oldies" thought this was a novel and good idea and were surprised that they could untag themselves. When I mentioned they should also Google themselves to see what is actually on the internet about them - they were surprised that this could be done and would come up with results. I am sure some went home and did it.
The conversation led onto twitter and what a waste of a time that was. I again piped up and mentioned that it actually wasn't if you had a purpose to using twitter, that many educators used it as a tool for sharing resources and best practise, they still were not convinced, but I had planted a seed of another perspective.
Second life then came up and the comments about it were quite funny, and again they were surprised when I mentioned I use it for professional development, and how the British Health service was using it to help those who were housebound to connect and have a social life. It was all too much for some of them, they were also surprised that I knew so much and and I actually used these 'things'. When I mentioned that I also blogged, have various wiki's and actively monitor my online presence - their eyes glazed over, and not from alcohol.
I left the party feeling thankful to work in the education sector, and particularly as a Teacher Librarian as I do believe TL's in many and most cases are the leaders in moving schools forward in their thinking and practises in social media. I am also glad to be kept on my toes and in the loop just even to keep young, and not be fearful of the changes going on in the world. These men were extremely intelligent, many commanding or teaching others to use some of the most expensive, sophisticated equipment in the world, and had trouble keeping up with what their young adult children were up to online, or even how to protect themselves from unwanted tags.
I do believe this is not uncommon in this age group outside of education, and I had never noticed it before because I usually mix with educators. Maybe a catch phrase should be "Stay young - Teach!"
Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com http://school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/clip/teecher.html