I have a confession.
I've adopted a new habit and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit what it is.
I know I’m not alone, and that has me feeling marginally better. But right now my comfort and convenience trumps my better brain. Here it is.
Every morning, right after I regain consciousness from a deep sleep, I reach under my pillow and grab my phone. Yes. I keep it under my pillow. It’s in airplane mode so I’m not overly worried about radio signals terrorizing my brain, but it’s there. I might be grabbing my phone to turn off the alarm, but most likely I’m grabbing slide it out of airplane mode so that I can download the lastest news podcast to lazily listen to while laying in bed. If I’m feeling more ambitious and curious, I might check my notifications and email. If I’m feeling anxious about the day, I’ll check my calendar. If I have a few minutes and am feeling bored, I’ll open up Two Dots and play.
I’m not alone.
I know I’m not alone.
But I feel like I’m being judged.
My first years of teaching (starting in 2005) I worked as a Computer Specialist. My job was to integrate technology into the hearts and minds of elementary students and teachers. We rocked GarageBand, Logo programming, Lego Robotics, and KidPix like nobody's business. After 2 years of excessive winters, I moved to mild Vancouver to complete my Masters degree in Educational Technology. The day of my graduation, I was interviewed for the Technology Integration Specialist role at an independent school in Vancouver.
The next 9 years whizzed past. I moved from working with teachers and students in a computer lab, to a school filled with personalized iPads. When I started, iPhones were rare, and now they are more commonplace than pencils. Back in the day we worried about holding the phone a certain way so that the antenna worked properly, now well now we worry about all kinds of things.
My role at work has changed over the years. I adopted a program at the school that had been running for a few years. It was a game that took users through a series of challenging and exciting problems, but it’s purpose was to scare kids into never talking to strangers in chat rooms because they would kidnap you and make you participate in disgraceful and illegal activities. This terrifying “game” ignited a desire to reconsider what we, teachers, adults, children, need to know when participating online.
Fast forward to now. I have read many books, listened to many podcasts, and watched many videos. I have spoken about the benefits and risks of the internet at length. I have analyzed my use, I have scanned the students and parents in my work place to get a sense of what’s going on for them. I have become a Certified Google Innovator and an Apple Distinguished Educator. I’ve written blog posts, connected with community members, and reached out to other educators. Other than learning that I still have a lot to learn, here is what I know:
The Internet is complex. Our relationship with it increasingly complex. Our digital connection can bring us great pleasure and intense frustration. It’s like an emotional rollercoaster permitting us to feel guilt and fulfillment in the same breath. It’s The Emotive Web.