Elementary School Then And Now

At my internship, I’ve been doing a lot of Twitter work, meaning I’ve spent hours scrolling through the feeds of various elementary schools, principals, and teachers. Now, I know I’m not that old and it’s only been eight years since I was in elementary school (feels a lot longer, though), but so much has changed.

My generation of peers are a very interesting group because though we grew up with technology, it didn’t consume our lives. So I can adapt to new tech and programs a lot better than my mom can, but I’m no hacker and I can’t really code. I’m pretty average, I’d say. Video games and TV and mp3 players and computers were around when I was a kid, but they weren’t a big deal. My life became tech consumed in high school and it’s at the point now where if I’m awake, I’m using some form of technology. Whether that’s healthy or not is beside the point. My point is that my elementary experience was very different to what I’m seeing now via Twitter. We had those big boxy beige computers in our classrooms, and I remember when my school got smartboards because they were the coolest, but only two classes got them (not mine). I remember using those bulky overhead projectors and using those black box TV’s on a cart when we watched a movie, and I remember when my grade 8 teacher had a class website but it was the ugliest Web 1.o thing you’ve ever seen.

Tom Haverford looking at an old phone with buttons

Nowadays, kids are forced into the tech life. They’re supplied with iPads and sleek laptops in class from grade one onwards. Every classroom has a smartboard, and these kids are learning the basics of coding (seriously!) before they learn fractions. They play with drones and can work a green screen and can do so much more than even I know. And that’s just how it is, I guess. They were born into this life of networks and screens, so of course they’re adapting and thriving!

What surprises and interests me more, though, is how technology has shaped even teachers nowadays, and some of these educators were teaching even back when I was in elementary, so they’ve grown into it. As I said, teachers and schools and principals and superintendents all have Twitter accounts, and they’re all active, sharing educational tips and articles and all that (my internship supervisor and I think it’s board-mandated, but we’re not sure). But what they’re also doing is sharing their days and showcasing classwork. Some days I’ll see around ten tweets from one teacher just showing pictures of art or projects done or what the kids did in class that day. They’re usually not doing it in a braggy way, they’re just documenting it and showing parents and other teachers what the kids learned and created, and I’ll admit it’s kind of cool to see their work. I think parents enjoy these updates, too.

But I’ve noticed that most of these pictures include the students in them. Sometimes they’ll be posed, but sometimes they’ll be candids, and that really fascinates me because that means the teachers must always have their phones out, ready to snap a picture, all day. And before you ask, the parents are probably aware of this going on. Sometimes I’ll see those Twitter stickers over some kids’ faces, meaning those kids don’t have parental consent, and that is valid. I’ll also see teachers not use the students’ names and instead they’ll tweet things like “B and K painted this picture today during art!” But are the kids okay with this? Do they enjoy this? Are they self-conscious about this? In my elementary days, pictures needed to be developed at a store, so I have no idea what it must be like to always have you/your work posted online by your teacher.

Mean Girls mom with camera

Even the other day in my university class, we were doing user testing sessions of a product prototype my group created and my prof actually was going around with his phone. I don’t know if he was taking pictures or video or what he planned to do with it, but I do know that we didn’t expect it, and I was a little surprised that in a class where we learned about proper user testing and proper interview protocol, he was doing this without informing us. In the long run, I didn’t care too much and I know his camera was pointed at the prototypes and not us people, but it was interesting that this happened to me only a few days after I was wondering about these elementary kids.

And while it’s been almost a decade since I was in elementary school and as I’ve just explained, a lot has changed, you can rest easy knowing that some aspects haven’t changed at all. The other day I saw a tweet from a teacher showing a little structure a student made with K’nex, and I loved that because I remember building with K’nex in my basement (my brother, my friend, and I would build cars and race them) and I didn’t know kids even knew what K’nex were. I also saw a tweet from a school account informing parents that Beyblades and Pokemon cards were in fact banned, and that amused me greatly because I loved both of those growing up (I still have all my Pokemon cards) and I remember when my elementary school tried banning them too. Kids today may have iPads and cell phones, but they are still kids and even classic toys like Beyblades are fun for them too.

Donna Meagle giving respect

Anyhoo, those are just some thoughts I’ve had regarding elementary school and technology. I don’t really have an ending question for you, but if you have any thoughts on the matter, I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment!

That’s all for now!

 

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The Best Feeling In The World

I just wanted to let you know that I’ve figured out what the best feeling in the world is. I know there’s been some debate over what it is, but I assure you, I know it.

The best feeling in the world happens when you finally remember something you know you’ve forgotten.

Lemmie explain. Sometimes I’ll be doing something like scrolling through Twitter and somewhere mid-scroll, I’ll think to do something afterwards like, oh, I have to check the weather on Friday or oh, I need to defrost broth for dinner, and I’ll have every intention of doing it right away when I’m done my scrolling, but then I’ll forget. But it won’t be an out of sight out of mind situation, because I know I’ve forgotten something. Somewhere in my body, in my mind, I can feel this tiny knot of discontent that will just live in me until I remember what it is I’ve forgotten. Sometimes I’ll remember something else I’ve forgotten and I’ll think surely, that was it. But I’ll still feel that discontent, and I’ll know that I quite haven’t gotten it yet.

Neville not knowing what he's forgotten

There’s no real way to remember it. I’ll try everything to recall it. I’ll try scrolling backwards on Twitter hoping I’ll see whatever it was that triggered the thought the first time (this has, like, a 20% success rate). It’ll try looking around the room. I’ll try checking my recent apps to see if I’ve left myself a hint. And unless one of these tactics works, I just end up going about my day like normal, but still feeling this tiny, bothersome sense of dissatisfaction.

And so, my friends, the best feeling in the world is when I remember whatever thing it is I’ve forgotten, and right away, my body eases up, my head feels lighter, and I know that I’ve finally remembered the specific thing causing my little inner knot. The knot then just unravels and I am free. It’s pure bliss. Usually nothing triggers this remembering, as I just end up remembering it during my normal thoughts, though sometimes it happens when I’m lying in bed, and have to focus on remembering things so I can get to sleep.

Have you ever felt this? Do you what this sensation is like?

Emma Stone yelling "THIS IS THE BEST!"

Two things are amusing about this feeling though. One, all the things I forget are usually very inconsequential. Checking the weather, replying to an email, watching a new YouTube video…. they’re things that shouldn’t bug me as they don’t affect my life all that much. And two, I often wonder if this happens to me because I’m overstimulated. As I said, this happens sometimes when scrolling Twitter. Because I scroll so fast and am hit with an onslaught of info in seconds, this is perhaps causing my brain to go too fast and I end up forgetting little things easily. If I wasn’t so attached to my phone, would this happen as often? Not that it happens often…maybe once or twice a month?

To conclude, this is indubitably the best feeling in the world.

Obama mic drop

That’s all for now!

 

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Empty Followers: A Problem Plaguing Social Media

A few weeks ago a friend asked how many blog followers I had. I told him I had 776, as that was the number at the time, and he was impressed…until I added that most are inactive and really shouldn’t count. It’s easy to measure one’s followers with that number, but a lot harder to measure engagement. And because I’ve been meaning to do it anyway, I decided to take some time and go through the blogs of my followers who I don’t follow back. I follow about six hundred blogs, but they’re not all my followers. I often get followers who write about things I have no interest in, and as much as I feel a bit guilty for not supporting them the way they support me, I shouldn’t have to put up with things I don’t care about in my Reader. I am under no obligation, and anyone is free to unfollow me if they don’t dig my posts either.

Anyway, I went through probably close to four hundred blogs over two nights. And you would not believe how many of those blogs were inactive. I wish I counted and had an exact number to share, but I did not. Some were straight up deleted, but most were just left abandoned. I’m going to assume that if a blogger hasn’t updated their blog for whatever reason, they’re probably not going through their Reader to read my posts either.

My followers didn't even say goodbye

I have hundreds of followers but on average I get maybe twenty likes on a post and maybe ten comments. I am so grateful to the people who take the time to interact with my posts, especially those who do it regularly (I do try to interact with posts I read too, but I know I kind of suck at it. I will be better.). I think the level of interaction I get is quite low considering the number of followers, but considering how many inactive blogs follow me, it’s really not surprising. But of course, no one can tell. WordPress says I have 776 followers and anyone who sees that number can and will judge based on that because it’s all there is. The same goes for other social media platforms like Twitter. It says I have 231 followers, but how many do I really have?

And then there’s this whole issue about fake followers. I haven’t heard of it being a problem on WordPress, but it definitely is on Twitter and Instagram. If one wanted to buy ‘followers’ so that it makes them appear more popular so others feel like they need to follow them too, they legally can do that if they so choose. I don’t think it’s ethical, and I think most people feel the same, but it is an option out there that some people do use.

Related image

It’s unfortunate that this is a problem for social media. I will admit that I do use one’s follower count to quickly judge their quality. Of course, I’ll read their work and all that, but the first impression is made by whatever number is shown. Imagine if social media instead showed the number of active followers? Imagine if instead of 776 followers, we saw ‘392 active followers’ or ‘103 followers who interact with this person’s work’. Imagine if platforms could just delete all those inactive accounts from our count so we stop celebrating milestones that are completely fake. That one YouTuber, Pewdiepie, has almost 60 million subscribers, making him the leader, but how many subscribers does he really have? Does someone have a lower number of subs but regularly gets more views and thumbs up?

But I guess WordPress has no business going around deleting blogs just so I can be happier with my blog stats. And do I really expect Twitter to get a handle on their spam problem? Yes, but that’s my mistake.

What are your thoughts on empty followers? How many followers do you really think you have?

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Fear Is The Worst Emotion

It’s October, which means that the number of horror movies watched this month skyrockets. Not by me, of course. I would never. I could never. I get scared far too easily. I joke that the evening news scares me, but half the time, that’s not entirely false.

Fear is the absolute worst emotion. Like, if you’re sad or mad, it’s not too hard to become not sad or not mad. There’s usually one direct fix. But fear? Fear has no direct fix. Fear lives in you and stays with you and ruins your sanity.

There are two levels of fear, I’d say. The first is those fears that you have no problem talking about. For example, I’m afraid of insects. Do you know how many times I’ve cried because I saw a spider or something? I hate insects and bugs, and I’ll always fear them. I’ll tell anyone and everyone that I’m afraid of this. But my fear of spiders doesn’t keep me up at night. That’s the work of second level fears.

scared girl hiding under covers

I’ve had fears that keep me up at night. I’ve had fears that force my body to shake and my stomach to churn. I’ve had fears that creep up when I least expect them to. There are movies and TV shows that I’ll never watch again because something in them just creeped me out so much.

Anyway, I just don’t really get why people want to purposely scare themselves. Even if these horror movies y’all watch are more jump-scares than creepy scares, I still don’t get the attraction. But I did some Googling and apparently, it has to with our brains and the chemicals released in the fight or flight situations. I guess some people like their beating hearts and shaky breaths, even in safe environments, but I do not and will not. My brain just isn’t built for that.

And that’s fine. I can live a normal life never watching a horror movie. And I’ve learned to trust my body and not watch or read things that are creeping me out so to avoid more sleepless nights. It’s fine.

But if you’re one of those people who keep pressuring friends to watch scary things because “it’s not even scary at all” or “it’s not that scary” then you’re a jerk and should knock it off. I don’t care if Get Out is one of the highest rated movies or if Stranger Things is just sooooo good, I will not be watching it.

Image result for i dont care what you think gif

Fear is the worst emotion and I will be avoiding it at all costs, even if that cost is friendship.

Are you in the same boat or are you always first in line to the newest horror movie?

 

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No Offence But Why Is Humanity Such A Mess Right Now

It seems like I wake up every day to some more disheartening news. Mass shootings, sexual harassment, Trump’s existence… I am tired of it, y’all. It seems like nothing in the world is going right.

How did it come to this? How is humanity as a whole so messed up? How did it get so bad?

No one is safe. Nothing is safe. You can’t avoid the news or the commentary or the outcomes. You just have to deal with it all and try to learn from it and hope that we can move on, but we can’t. There’ll be another mass shooting, another sexual predator, another tragedy, and the cycle of disappointment starts all over again.

a broken world in a dustpan

I usually try to stay away from the negatives and keep out of the discussions, but news of Harvey Weinstein’s creepy and disgusting behavior has completely consumed my social media feeds and it’s just so scary. It’s so scary that there are a) people in this world that think what he did is normal or okay, b) people in this world who allowed it to happen for decades, and c) people in this world who have to deal with creeps like that. All of the sudden, people of all ages and sizes and genders are speaking out about their sexual harassment experiences and it’s so sad. If people with power are experiencing it, how are the rest of us supposed to deal when we can’t afford lawyers or have legions of fan support? It’s heartbreaking.

This whole event is really shining a light on sexual harassment, which is good, but as I said, nothing is safe. People are calling for the upcoming Justice League movie to fail because old footage of stars Ben Affleck and Jason Momoa being rude and sexist has surfaced. I was looking forward to that movie. As twisted as it may sound right now, the entertainment industry is my escape from the world’s issues…even if a lot of shows and movies now slide in subtle political commentary…

I feel like the whole entertainment industry is being shaken up, but in the end, very little will change. While Weinstein may have gotten fired, people like Casey Affleck and even Donald Trump still have jobs, and I suspect Ben Affleck and Jason Momoa will too.

And while I’d love to say that in twenty or thirty years when all the creepy old men are retired or dead and the next generation is in charge that things will be better, I don’t think it will be. Kids these days are wild. Have you seen a 12-year-old on the Internet recently? They’re rude and sexist and inappropriate. My generation is only slightly better. That’s not to say that everyone is doomed, but I’m not too optimistic. Just saying.

The thing is, there’s no quick fix. I try educating my male friends on feminism and all that jazz, but who’s to say they understand it? Who’s to say they’ll stop making rude jokes? And how is that going to change the world? How is that going to help women in America? How is that going to help people of colour in America? Or people in the rest of the world? People better than me have for years tried to educate the world and make a change and yet here we are, as the world burns and drowns around us and politicians are more concerned with kneeling at a sporting event. We’ll never be free.

I don’t know what else to do or say.

girl saying she's losing faith in humanity

And why am I writing this? So far, I haven’t been personally affected. It feels silly of me to sit here and complain about this and how disheartening it is when I’m up in Canada enjoying healthcare and gun laws and a sane leader. I’m sorry if I sound pretentious right now.

If everyone could just, like, be a civil, normal, kind human being, that’d be really great. Thanks.

 

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