Changing Your World with Social Media

Today was a very exciting day!  Susan Watt and I presented to a group of 300 grade 7/8 students about social media but took a different spin on the usual “privacy” discussion.

Changing Your World with Social Media” showed the students that there are many uses for social media.  Too often we hear about everything negative in the media – cyber bullying, online safety, online privacy, etc.  We felt that it was time to look at the positive uses, the exciting opportunities and the authentic learning that can take place when using social media to make change.

It was obvious from student participation in the assembly that this was something that interested them. They know the tools.  They use the tools.  Many never thought that their Youtube videos will be seen and might make a difference in the world.

The presenting was a little crazy:

  • three computers with two projectors
  • one SMARTboard – a sick one at that!
  • streaming audio from presenter computer to the gym’s speakers
  • streaming guest audio to gym and vise versa
  • smiling and looking happy while ensuring the wheels don’t fly off the wagon!

Other then one or two small glitches, the technical aspects came off without a hitch.

Throughout our research, Susan and I kept coming back to a few select names of youth who have used Social Media to influence change.  One name, was Trevor Dougherty. Trevor has create numerous Youtube videos and has a list of accomplishments for his involvement in social media.  He had just returned from the World Economic Forum and was setting up home for the summer as in intern for Seesmic.  We were extremely impressed with him and decided to take a risk and tweet him to see if he would be interested in participating in a video chat via Adobe Connect.  He agreed.

This experience was very exciting for many students as they had not been to an assembly like this before.  Although the sound was a little off at times for those in the gym, the recording of the session will be a perfect discussion starter over the next couple of weeks.

Trevor had many amazing insights into the topic:

“Social Media… we are the self-obsessed generation…. It is all about us… We can use social media to reach out beyond ourselves.”

“use a cheap camera… post the video to Youtube.. change the world”

“If you aren’t too inspired by school, you can multitask and do something bigger”  (Jeff’s note: I loved this idea!  It really speaks to many of the students that I have worked with over the years.  Once they are provided with authentic learning projects, they become motivated and inspired.)

“Think about finding a big idea… instead of a blog about yourself, create something much bigger than that”

“Once you enter these communities, you can actually make amazing connections”

It is now 8pm at night and I am still excited and pumped by the outcome of this assembly.  Amazing experience which will not soon be forgotten!

Thanks @trevordty and @susan_watt.

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