Facebook Live launched with a few controversies already. Individuals being shot and the coup in Turkey are just a couple of items that popped up on the live streams so far. In an attempt to get more viewers to pay even more attention to Facebook over YouTube or Pericope, Facebook is going to pay some Vine, Twitter, and YouTube stars big money to post on the Facebook Live platform. Here is a link to the Forbes article that provides more details on exact numbers, but there are some content creators that will make hundreds of thousands of dollars to post a handful of videos each month.
Students who hear about this may become even more tempted than they already are to start searching for viewers on social media. While I do not think that being a digital entrepreneur is a bad thing, teachers and parents need to help students realize that deals like these are rare. We also need to have conversations with students about the things they should and should not post on these sites. Without guidance, our young content creators my not realize that some of the material they are posting to get more and more viewers, may not be appropriate. Students need to understand the implications their posts have on their futures. What if this video creation path does not pan out? They will have to work in another area, and those hiring may not find some of the videos students appeared in when they were younger as funny as some of their peers did.
This all comes back to teaching students appropriate digital usage. Teachers and parents need to work to ensure that students understand the possible ramifications that can come from posting certain material. They also need to be aware of the fact that even if they delete any of their post in social media, it is still out there and impossible to get back . Everyone did something they wish they had not done in their youth. Luckily, social media was not there to catch it and store it all. Our students live in a world where their worst possible moments and bone headed ideas will be available in some form or fashion forever. It is the responsibility of the parents and teachers to show them how to be responsible when using these technologies.
Kiddle is a new kid friendly search engine. This site works along side Google to makes sure that the materials searched for are appropriate and kid friendly resources. I ran a search for Donald Trump, to test it out. The results were basic information and reports about recent news posted by publishers of kid friendly news. This would be a great search engine for elementary students to use.
With the introduction of Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope, live streaming is quickly becoming the norm. What does this mean for our students? This means that they are going to have access to raw unfiltered footage on social media. Yes, videos uploaded to these sites prior to going live were also able to be uploaded in their raw form, but what makes the live streams different is that there is no middle step of having to upload the video to a site for sharing. People can view events as they happen. When thinking about that from the perspective of a teacher or a parent, this can be scary. Here are a couple reasons why:
First, students have no time to reflect on a video they just captured.
Kids of all ages are looking for acceptance from the world around them. One way they feel accepted is by the number of likes, retweets, or comments they get on any given post to social media. This can make some kids forget the great lessons their parents taught them about their behavior in public. We have all heard the stories of seniors who lost scholarships or were refused into a college because of something they posted on social media.
Now with live streaming right to these sites, there is no chance a student who has just captured something they might regret on video will be able to second guess himself. Kids too often forget the old adage, “Once it is on the web, it is out there forever.” At least when students have that extra step of uploading the video there is a slight chance of them taking a look and having second thoughts before it goes up.
Another issue this brings up is that students are viewing graphic material without having someone to help them understand it.
The world is not always a safe place. We say look out for strangers, don’t go down a dark alley alone at 3:00am, and anything else we can think of to keep our kids safe. Now they are seeing crime, in many cases very brutal crime live streaming and replaying on social media. Again this is not a new thing, but for some reason it seems that live streaming has brought this problem to a whole new level. Within 2-3 days 3 separate videos of individuals being shot have streamed through Facebook Live.
From a social justice standpoint, I am glad these things are able to be caught on tape and put somewhere that is safe from deleting when it comes time for the courts to decide what happened and who was at fault. From the standpoint of a teacher or parent, this is unnerving. Who wants their child to watch someone else be shot? At least if I take my son to a movie where someone is shot, I am there to remind him that it is not real. When it is a real human who is really shot and really loses his life, that is a different matter.
Teachers and parents have to realize that this is the new normal. We will now be able to witness some horrific events live online. We have to make sure the children we are responsible for have someone to discuss these things with. They need to understand the implications and the context of what they are seeing. They need to know that we as adults don’t understand many of these heavy incidents ourselves, but we can work through the feelings of shock, anger, and sadness together.
I am not saying that I do not like the live streaming features on these sites. In fact, I was happy to watch Periscope during the ISTE 2016 conference. I am saying that we as teachers and/or parents really need to discuss these things with our children. They need to understand the possible ramifications that posting something can have on their futures. They need to know that someone is there to talk to them and help them make sense of the horrible things they are witnessing on these sites. Seeing bad things happen and making life altering mistakes are not new problems, but students are not mature enough for a lot of what is going on around them.
Students will use these types of technologies. The question is will we guide them in how to use these things appropriately, or will we let them try to figure it out on their own?
I am one of those people who has to do something right when I am thinking about it. For example, I may think that I need to remind the teachers I work with that I will be in the library for a professional development session during their planning periods. Of course I think of these things a week before I actually need to do it so I use Boomerang. This is a Google app that allows you to schedule messages to be sent later. Here is a video to help you set it up if you think this is something you could use too.
Videos are a great way to learn new material or review already acquired knowledge. The problem with using videos with students is that they can passively view assigned videos without truly learning anything. This is why sites like Zaption created ways for teachers to embed items like questions and comments into videos.
For teachers who use Zaption for these services they have been acquired by Workday. This move means that teachers who are accustomed to using Zaption to create interactive videos for their classes will have until September 30th to use the site and remove any materials they have created and saved. But where can teachers go from here?
Zaption does make suggestions in their FAQs