All posts by Marykate's Master Blog

Not My Thesis Blog

Dear Blogger,

You have been good to me. For all of my graduate classes, I have used you. You made life easy. But now, I am afraid, it is time for us to part ways. It is time for me to put on my big-girl pants and (wo)man up. It is time for my blog to look like a blog. It is a time for me to create a writing space that I can use in my future endeavors. So it is with a heavy heart that I embark on my journey to figured out WordPress. 


BUT that's not where the story ends. I could not, for the life of me, figure out WordPress. After many half hours tinkering away at the computer, and asking other educated individuals, we are at a loss. I am back to Blogger. But hopefully not for long. I ask all of you, my colleagues, to help me! Teach me! I need to conquer WordPress! 

But until then, here is where I will start the next part of my journey: my thesis work! AND BOY GEORGE am I excited! When I first decided to go back to grad school, it was for a few reasons:

-I didn't have a summer job (and was freaking out).
-I was bored.
-I have always wanted to write.

It was the third reason that made me take the leap. Not only did I always want to write, but I knew the story I wanted to tell. But it scared me. 

It scared me because I had doubt. Will it be good? Can I do it? Am I ready?

And in truth, for a while, I didn't have those answers, but I powered ahead. Throughout the past few years of my graduate experience, and through the life experiences I've had, I've been able to answer them to some extent. 

Will it be good? Who knows! Will I try my best? YES! Will that be enough? Maybe. Either way, it's something I have to, and want to, do and THAT makes it "good".

Can I do it? HELL YES! I just have to, ya know, Do It!

Am I ready? Now, this was the hardest. Knowing the story I want to tell. Up until a few months ago, my answer would still have been "I don't know." My answer now is that I am. Some days may be harder than others, and what I have come to realize is that that's okay. It does not mean I'm not ready, it just means some days are harder than others.

The reason "Am I ready?" scared me so much? The story I want to tell... my own. And part fictional version of my own. 

I am going to tell the story of obsessive compulsive disorder, based off of my experiences. My earliest memory with OCD is from my junior year of college, but my friends say they noticed it earlier. And when I think back, I can remember little things I did as a young kid, that I recognize now where ritualistic. 

What I've learned over the years, what I am still learning, is that this disorder is not something I will ever "get rid of". It is something I will always live with-a notion that used to scare the sh*t out of me, but now brings me comfort. My OCD is like an old friend. One that I get to know better every day. 

So, hello my friend. I'm going to tell our story. I hope to start each chapter, or maybe each "part", if there ends up being parts, with a poem, or a story in verse. String these poems together and you have our story. Our memoir. 

And in between those pages will be the story of a girl, a young adult who is finding herself, while dealing with her own friend. One she doesn't know yet, but one she will come to understand. 

So stay tuned ;) 
The best is yet to come.

#Netnarr I Bid You Adieu

I cannot believe that our self-assessment narrative is here already and that I just submitted my final project for our fieldguide! I feel like it was yesterday that we were in that tiny room with barely any windows and no natural light talking about our thoughts of the internet! I remember thinking "It's just like Alice in Wonderland!" and attempting my best illustration of her falling down the rabbit hole, hence the name of my blog, and all that would be swirling around her as she fell. Everything from social media to online shopping blogs to streaming sites-she fell for them all! 

And now here we are...weeks later, with a better understanding of just how vast the internet is and just how ominous it can be if we don't talk about it. I still feel like the internet is a rabbit hole, and I still think we all fall down it; however, now maybe we can do it a little more purposefully! 

I'm thankful for this class. I thought this class would be incredibly interesting, but I didn't think it would end up being valuable or applicable to my job as a teacher. Boy was I wrong! I don't know if I have one big take-away from this class, but the fact that I used what I learned in my classroom, was definitely a big one. I would share, from time to time, what we were learning with my students and they were floored! I feel that a big part of navigating this digital age is talking about it, especially with adolescents, as evident in my final field guide project on F-Instas. 

I had a group of students decide to pursue digital surveillance as their topic for their argumentative essay, and I also was able to use the Four Moves and a Habit approach to teach my students about how to assess, not only website credibility, but the information itself! I was proud to see them engaged in critically questioning the information I feel they normally so readily accept. 

That was what I enjoyed the most! Being able to use what we were talking about and bring it into my classroom. Because wasn't that the point of the class? To raise awareness for these issues and hopefully raise a generation that will be more empowered and hopefully better equipped to deal with it and bring about change? When you look at all the work I've done over the course of this semester, most of it is focused on helping adolescents navigate this word, or looking at how they currently are navigating it, to better understand them and help them.

My second biggest "take-away" would probably be that this class really asked me to step out of my comfort zone. I'm not technologically savy and something as simple as creating a digital alchemist and switching between twitter accounts, to trying to figure out Wordpress (I clearly didn't since I'm using Blogger), and having my bot or digital alchemist send out tweets on like a timer, were all really challenging for me. I do not think I "mastered" any of them, but I think that's okay. I don't think that was the point. I think the point was to ask us to step outside of what we are used to and to have us get a taste of each. I feel proud of myself for having accomplished this! And who knows, maybe Luna P. and I will meet again?!

On a different note-I really enjoyed learning how to create memes and gifs! I definitely feel more confident creating memes and really am loving it! My husband creates them all the time so now I can also!

Overall, I enjoyed this class a lot! It forced me to look at the internet in a different way. I had to take a less blasé stance and think more in terms of "What can I do? What is my role in this?". I've learned that the internet can be a bleak, yet wonderful vessel for knowledge and creativity. It can foster connection and foster fear. It's the epitome of ying and yang. Both the positive and the negative working side by side, and what will matter, is how the public chooses to respond. 

If I Can’t Take Away Their Technology…I Can At Least Try To Understand It

This week I'm feeling very good about my field guide project! With more clarification on the task, I feel more and more like I am on the right page.

At this point, I have four different sources that Luna P. and I have annotated to help us find light in the darkness. We have been exploring the idea that multiple digital identities by adolescents highlights their need to share versions of themselves online, proving that there is no distinction between "real life" and "digital life" and that both make up one's persona. At this point in time, I am currently researching the distinction between digital dualism and anti-digital dualism.

I researched Danah Boyd and according to Wikipedia she is: "danah boyd is a technology and social media scholar. She is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, the founder and president of Data & Society Research Institute, and a Visiting Professor at New York University". I found this very interesting as she does not sound like a professional who works with children. After reading, "Keeping Teens ‘Private’ on Facebook Won’t Protect Them" by Danah Boyd, where she addresses when Facebook allowed teens to share the content public versus just with their friends. The argument Boyd makes is that teenagers need to learn how to interact in the digital age safely, and learn how to make choices in terms of privacy.  I agree. But here's the But-everywhere I read that it's important to give students the freedom to make their own choices and help them navigate this world. While I agree with that, that the world is changing, it's insane to me that we keep giving these kids more freedom, and yet there is a rise in mental health issues in teenagers, and we wonder why? Come on people. The key word in the text is "minors". I get that at 18 they don't drink a magic potion to become an adult, but they for sure have not at 13! Why should a 13 year old be given the same right as an adult? Have the earned it? No. Have the matured enough to handle it? No. 18 is the legal age for a reason: overall more maturity and life experience. Over generalizing for sure, but these kids don't have that and instead of fostering freedom and maturity, we're fostering entitlement and self-righteousness.

I also explored a second source titled, "Networked Teens Are Far From Doomed, New Book Says" by Marco della Cava, who conducts an interview with Danah Boyd in which she states, "When teens engage in an unhealthy way with technology, the first thing that a parent should ask is: what is actually driving this? Then work to address the underlying issue rather than just regulating the symptom." While I understand that a vice is a vice no matter what, and the root of the vice is the main issue, it stands that technology may be creating these issues. I don't know that we'll ever get to the root of why teenagers act and do things a certain way, isn't that proven in the fact that they're hormonal teenagers, but the fact is they are. They see themselves as interacting on these sites, not because it's a vice or they are misusing it but because they are teenagers. Boyd also says that her data shows that technology has not increased bullying, which I call B.S. on because in the world I live in, it most certainly has. 

After researching this week, my plan for next week is to continue down this path of why adolescents use this technology, and if we can't take it away, which I know I need to accept, then how can we better understand it. In terms of the field guide, we were told to offer a solution. My solution is awareness. And as most of the major issues in our world are ongoing because no one seems to have the answer, I think that is sufficient. Raising awareness for an up and coming trend. 

To the AUC Students

My field guide topic is: the creation of multiple digital identities by adolescents highlights their need to share versions of themselves online, proving that there is no distinction between "real life" and "digital life" and that both make up one's persona.
    Below are a few questions I have related to my topic, and would greatly appreciate your help!

    1. Do you know of any adolescents who have a fake instagram where they interact?
    2. The debate surrounding digital dualism and anti-digital dualism argues whether or not having an online identity is a separate entity from our offline selves or if they are intertwined. What are your thoughts? Are they separate personas or intertwined?
    3. What are your perceptions regarding adolescents with multiple accounts for multiple personas online? How do you feel this impacts their development?

    Augmented Reality

    In support of my last post, "Fancy Words for Simple Concepts", I found an article titled, "Digital Dualism Versus Augmented Reality" by Nathan Jurgenson, which discusses the idea of both your online presence and physical life as one entity that is entwined together. The article defines key terms, such as: augmented reality, slacktivism, and false binary. The article states that in this world, we are "comprised of a physical body as well as our digital Profile, acting in constant dialogue." The article discusses how our digital profile reflects what we do offline but that what happens online also affects our offline lives. The author doesn't defend social media, in fact says there's much wrong with it that he plans to critique and explore, but that the idea of whether or not we are living in two separate worlds is not the discussion to be having. Instead, we can explore if this idea of an augmented reality is a good thing or not.

    It’s Crunch Time!

    Next week officially starts spring break in my district and I CAN NOT WAIT! I have spring fever to the max and, between my students and this class, I feel like my brain is fried!                                                                                                                This week, I feel particularly overwhelmed. We went over the specific requirements of the #fieldguide project and I really do not feel like it's any more clear. Last week when we shared our ideas, I felt like I had a great idea, but when I shared out, it wasn't specific enough. So in my blog post, I explored a new idea, that I was fleshing out, but then listening to the requirements and hearing the other conferences that were occurring, mine still didn't feel like it was right. 

    Then, I thought maybe I'd create a unit of lessons as my own personal #fieldguide for helping my students navigate the digital age and explore their digital citizenship, footprint, and identity. After conferencing, I see that's still too broad and Dr. Zamora helped me think about the possible issues I may encounter, which made me nervous. We talked about how digital citizenship, footprint, and identity are such very different ideas. Truthfully, I didn't realize they were. I felt that they are all so intertwined and connected.

    So I read a little bit about each and found:

    • digital footprint is a trail of data you create while using the Internet. There's "passive digital footprint" which is the trail you leave unintentionally, such as your search history. An "active digital footprint" would be an email, one intentionally sent and left online. This is data you expect to be seen by someone.
    • A digital identity is an online identity claimed on the internet. One user may have more than one identity through multiple communities. It's my understanding that this is more about how people choose to present themselves on the network.
    • Digital citizenship is the appropriate and responsible use of technology and behavior.

    I now see how these three ideas could take me down very different rabbit holes. This I don't want. I decided I'm going to go back to revisit my old idea of "F-Instas" which to me, sounds like digital identity, especially the idea of having more than one identity for more than one community. When Dr. Zamora and I talked, she mentioned thinking of instagram and adolescents in terms of what accounts they have, how many, how do they present themselves differently based off of the community they want to view it, and who is a part of the community, with the context being how students see themselves in terms of F-Instas.


    • The creation of multiple digital identities by adolescents highlights their need to share versions of themselves online, proving that there is no distinction between "real life" and "digital life".

    In researching for this topic, I read the article "The Straw Man of Digital Dualism" by John Suler, and had a nice conversation with Luna P over whether or not the article is biased or even takes a stance! You can read more about that when you head to my second post of the week: "Fancy Words for Simple Concepts"! 

    With Luna P., I plan to [drink coffee and wine] explore the following questions:

    • How do adolescents define digital identity? 
      • I do not think it's appropriate to talk about adolescents digital identity and analyzing how they create one, without first knowing and understanding their perception of digital identity. I plan to survey my students to get a census of their views of themselves online.
    • What are the different accounts adolescents have? How many of each do they have?
    • Who has access to each of these accounts?
    • Who do adolescents want to have access to these accounts? Who do they not want to have access?
    I plan to gather two-three articles a week, in addition to the articles I've already gathered, to explore both sides of digital dualism and propose an intended solution. I also think it would be amazing to tell part of the story of digital dualism and those who are anti-digital dualism, through memes or gifs! We've talked so much about how they convey ideas in a different manner, that I think it would be both funny and powerful at the same time.

    I also wanted to end my blog post with a quick comment about how much difficulty I was having doing the "Bot" make. The site required me to verify my twitter account, but kept saying it didn't recognize my twitter or email. Despite having used my digital alchemist's twitter, in addition to, I'm not sure why it has proved difficult. I hope that we can address and figure this out in class. 

    Fancy Words for Simple Concepts

    After much thinking, here is the new idea for my contribution to our fieldguide: 

    • The creation of multiple digital identities by adolescents highlights their need to share versions of themselves online, proving that there is no distinction between "real life" and "digital life".
    You can see the specific questions I plan to explore in my other post: "It's Crunch Time!" Ultimately, I have come to realize that many are discussing the concept of digital dualism, and whether or not living online is real life or a separate entity. After reading "The Straw Man of Digital Dualism" and conversing with my friend Luna P., what's clear to me, is that the conversation sounds like a group of older individuals talking about "kids these days" when the kids are not just kids, but twenty and thirty year olds as well. I'm guilty of this---I've definitely thought "kids these days" when thinking about their technology use and also thought this new generation is a mess! But I also realize my generation is a part of the problem. This conversation presented in the article didn't provide any clarify, it simply discussed the ideals of both digital dualist and anti-digital dualist. 

    I have come to the conclusion that, while there are different layers or things to be gained through in-face connection and then through screen time, they are both people's real life. My solution? I don't think there is one. My advice? That through accepting that this is the case, we can come to a better understanding of how to live our best lives. Period.

    Luna P. Won’t Stop Drinking My Coffee (and wine)!

    At the start of this week's class, we looked at the upcoming schedule for the remainder of the semester-WHERE DID THIS SEMESTER GO? I feel like summer is still so far away, but I also feel like this year FLEW by! 

    One of the main points we discussed with Kelli's upcoming installation of her thesis, which I'm stoked to see! As someone who hasn't thought about her thesis in a while, and knows that she should start, this girl cannot wait to see all the work someone did for theirs!

    We also continued to think about our final project-the field guide for surviving the darkness of the internet! We spent some time looking back over past posts and conversing with our group about topics we are specifically passionate about!

    We reflected on the following:
    • What discussions in class have caught your attention most?  
    • What concerns have felt most urgent?
    • Try to make a list of “internet challenges” that you are most confused, worried, or even scared about.

    I feel most passionately about how teenagers are interacting in the digital age. I know we said that was too broad, so I’m going to try to narrow that down.

    I don’t believe that I can change their minds in terms of using social media. I think they are too involved in this digital age to just say, “Yeah, you’re right we’ll totally stop using it.” I mean I am using it now. But I’m thinking that maybe through some poetic activities, I can shed light on their perspective? If anything, get them thinking about their own thoughts...CRAZY stuff right?

    The IRL Fetish  may be a good place to start in thinking about dualism and “F-Instas” which truthfully horrified me. The concept of "loss of logged-off real life" is frightening to me. Ernest Cline showed us the dangers of this. Ready Player One anyone?

    In trying to get my students to do this work, I was thinking of our upcoming poetry unit, and how I could infuse this work. As I type this, I can hear my coworker down the hall playing one of my favorite Slam Poems-"Touch Screen".

    This poem does a beautiful job of showing the dangers of technology and how, if we're not careful, we could turn even more like robots than we already are.

    I was also thinking of bringing in the "Selfie, Unselfie" idea into my classroom, or maybe an image, like self-image of Brooke Davis from "One Tree Hill" below. One image where they showed how social media makes them feel and one about how they truly feel or want to feel. 
    Or maybe working through Found Poetry. Like maybe having them reflect on how they use technology and feel about technology. But then picking out lines that stand out to them.

    I was also thinking that then maybe I could pull their lines and do a sort of digital project with it, to convey how the incoming generation feels and use that to support what the research shows.

    I would also be interested in maybe looking into memes and selfies but at the younger generation. How do they view it as a representation of self vs. how adults do? Haven't fleshed it out yet, but I can feel the ideas starting to take hold!

    In other news, one of our tasks for the week was to create a Twitter handle and account for our avatar, which I did! While I haven't gotten the hang of tweeting back and forth with my avator (Twitter is dumb and giving me a hard time about switching back and forth between the two since they're sorta kinda on the same account-all these smart techie people in the world and we can't figure this out-come on people) but I actually really enjoyed the back and forth conversation I had with Luna P. on Twitter! She's got some really interesting points and I'm happy I have her as a guide! I'm looking forward to getting to know her more and learning from her!

    Common Sense: Does This Exist in the Middle Schooler’s Mind?

    Instagram, Middle School, and Digital Citizenship by Jeff Knutson

    Check out @LunaPandCoffee and @_teachreadwrite have a somewhat intelligent conversation about digital citizenship at the middle school level. Sarah Landis is a sixth grade teacher who implements lessons from Common Sense Education and allowed Common Sense Education into her room to observe one of the lessons on digital citizenship and how students view themselves online.