Hanging Out on the Internet

“Unlike with other genres of participation (e.g., messing around and geeking out), parents and educators tent not to see the practices involved in hanging out as supporting learning.” (Living and Learning with New Media)

That was exactly me and my first reaction: Just hanging out on the internet can’t be productive and even worse it must be a waste of time. All the more I was surprised to read that this doesn’t have to be the case.

Teenagers are

  • developing and maintaining friendships/relationships with close (local) friends
  • finding out interest/talents – creating an own identity, taste and style
  • engaged and they are believing in something which motivates them to do whatever kind of action
  • communicating with others
  • teaching friends and parents
At a first glance it doesn’t seem too bad, but at a second glance I’m asking as a teacher: How can I open the world of the internet to my students for a different, more contributing involvement? How can I get them always on and always contributing?
I started smiling when I realized that I am probably already doing a step in that direction with my Grade 4 without knowing it. The students are inquiring into “The brain” of the human being. They are reading informational texts and creating afterwards a post for their own wikipedia. The wikipedia is simple and easy to use so the students are able to contribute knowledge to the community every time they are posting something. On my side I try to contribute instructional videos for the first time in my teacher life, f.e. How to create a post? or How to save your draft own the server?. It is a beginning.
Wiki Grade 4
Related to my thoughts here I read What does it mean to disconnect? Thanks, Jeff, for food for thoughts!

Just a little introduction!

My journey up to Coetail

I grew up basically without any computer at home (although I don’t feel that old). In secondary school we did our first steps with Basic programming but I never got into it deeper.

When I started to study at the university I remember that I had to set up an email account. Did I use internet during university time? – I can’t really remember. The reason might be the fact that I did a teaching degree for elementary school instead of Informatics. I tried to combine my interest in technology and education at university for a year before I got the chance at a Software Company Infopark to be a trainer for their costumers. I’m still very thankful for this experience and for the people I met there.

After 4 year though I felt stagnation and it made me questioning what comes next. I traveled for a while before I got another great chance – teaching in Seoul at the German School Seoul International DSSI. It was a great and inspiring experience that I don’t want to miss.

It seems to be a pattern in my life that stagnation in whatever area makes me feel uncomfortable. Again, after 4 years teaching and learning as a homeroom teacher in Seoul I was searching for a new experience and PYP became a new passion for me. Eventually a curriculum already had put a lot of new ideas of teaching in words. A new world was opened.

Fortunately international schools provide an environment to live my passion for technology and education at the same time. I’m in the lucky situation to teach and learn in such great place like the Primary School at BIS. I’m again thankful for all the great people I work with.

If I label and describe my job, it’s “PYP (German) teacher”. But I want to go further, I want to add the technology piece as well. I believe these days all teacher are technology teachers. We need to be and we need to train ourselves to be prepared – always and constantly. That’s why I’m here. 🙂

Let’s start …