My birthday was last week. I am now 34 – mid thirties – still young by many standards (including my own) – and at the same time, there is now yet even more distance between my age and those of the students in our schools. I was asked today by one of my co-workers if he was just too old to keep up with all of the emerging technologies in use by kids today. Consider my depression when I found out we are the same age – actually he is getting ready to TURN 34!
Believe it or not, this is a common question I get from people in my age-group. Am I too old to keep up with the emerging technology? Of course, my answer is a definite NO – but I understand their struggle, because it is one I face myself.
My peers do not rely on MySpace, Facebook, or other social networks to keep up with one another. We use email, which I consistently read is considered by today’s students the way they communicate with old people. Hang on, it gets worse. We even still call each other on the PHONE! Therefore, I was motivated to join the virtual social network known as MySpace not by friends, but because I felt I needed to be a part of it in order to understand why my students use it. And guess what – it turns out a lot of my friends were ALREADY on MySpace!!! So now, with those friends I do find myself keeping in touch with them primarily through that medium rather than through email – and I have found friends in MySpace that I have not seen since high school. It is actually a lot of fun.
Now the question is, how to harness the attraction of these social networks and use them for the educational greater good. And I am convinced we can. But I know that we cannot even begin to understand how to do it, if we are not a part of it!!!! So, if you are feeling like learning something new, create a MySpace page and friend me. Yes – friend is now a verb.