Thursday, July 29, 2021
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
I saw tech as a distraction and new gadgets as investments that only lost value once purchased. Only with the pandemic did I start to appreciate the resources at our disposal. Not only did the internet make distance learning possible, but it helped people connect in a way unimaginable even ten years ago. Profesors who had studied code and kept up with technology had classes that were more streamlined and easy to follow. The profs who never posted grades online or used blackboard before the pandemic had, frankly, some of the worst classes because they had refused to learn any technology until they were forced to learn in 2020.
I've since realized, I don't want to be the fifty-year old who doesn't know how to work a (proverbial) projector. I don't want to label myself as "non-techy" and rely on other people to figure things out for me. As an educator, I should set the example as someone who continues to learn new skills throughout life. With that in mind, I recently started to learn some basic coding. I'm not sure how relevent this skill will be as technology becomes more user friendly, but I do know that the people in my life who have studied code are more confident in their abilities to figure out different programs and platforms on a computer.
As we learned in class, creators are going to rule the world. The more we can shift our own understanding of tech from something to consume to something to utilize, the more we can prepare for the future we can't see.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
For a good part of the course, we discussed how to responsibly approach our own social media as educators. I've known for most of my life that the way I present myself on social media can hurt my chances of getting a job or being accepted into college, but something about "this is your resume" spoke to me.
For mental health reasons, I've avoided following social media as much as possible. While consuming social media can lead to feelings of inadequacy, treating it as a "one-way street" would allow me to participate in digital networking without losing valuable time to the endless scroll of Instagram.
I have a unique last name, and can confidently say that I am the ONLY Cassandra Jabbora in the world. Google my name and you will learn that I have a senior recital on YouTube, was an honors student, Rotary scholar, and (disturbingly) any address I've held in the past ten years. All of that, while good, was posted by people who weren't me. It's time that I take control over my narrative.
I created my first Instagram post, sharing a picture of myself and colleagues in a pit orchestra for a gig in the Valley. Over time, I'd like to share classroom ideas and even TikToks related to music education. I know, because I've googled most of my teachers, that students will look me up. I don't want there to be nothing; I want to let them know who I am.
To wrap up this blog post, here's a TikTok by miss_stiles. I admire her humor and insight in the teaching profession, and clips like this inspire me to participate in my students' digital culture.
When Wikipedia was touted as a reliable source in this course, I immediately drew on years of bias and reservation toward the site. Years of teachers telling us not to use Wikipedia because "anyone can write anything" made me untrusting of using the site for anything besides bibliography mining.
Something funny about this mistrust though ... that same criticism isn't used for biased news sources or websites that end in ".org." I remember one project in particular where fourth-grade Cassandra researched a nineteenth-century American inventor and told my entire class that he batted another inventor for title of "Superior Wheat Harvester" at high noon. My teacher kindly gave me an A-minus and reminded the class to stay off Wikipedia, even though I had found that information on a blog-style website recommended on the school computers.
As I've grown, I notice the same people who told me to stay off Wikipedia sharing Facebook "news" based on the headline. People young and old know not to use Wikipedia, but have no issue trusting almost any other website. In social media and television, there is a growing movement to share "both sides," even if one "side" of the argument is completely false (Dr. Oz, I'm looking at you.) In the name of hearing everyone out, we've allowed fake news to run rampant. It's the Illusory Truth Effect. If we hear something false enough times, we subconsciously believe that it's the truth.
As noted by Feldman's Intelligencer article, Wikipedia has no problem deleting false information. Moderators from all viewpoints decide what they can generally agree to be true, and there is no incentive for Wikipedia to benefit from user data or advertisements because of its publicly-funded model.
Teaching students to navigate Wikipedia goes further than scrolling to the "Resource" section. We can ask that students only use articles GA or above (GA, A, FL, FA). While finding primary sources is important, well-reviewed secondary sources are huge in academia. I looked for information on Joseph Bologne and was disappointed I didn't read through all the information before writing a fifteen-page research paper a few years ago. Why reinvent the wheel piecing together his life when I can look for someone else's research.
Wikipedia, like all sources on the internet, shouldn't be taken at face value. Despite years of being told not to touch the site, I'm a convert and feel inspired to help edit a couple articles of my own.