Where to begin? When looking at the options presented for the project, the personal journey into media piqued my interest right away. Having the opportunity to take a closer look at the apps our students are using in their personal lives as well as the apps we are using within schools is something I believe will be valuable. But why? What is the value in knowing more about these apps? In Sherry Turkle’s TED Talk Connected, But Alone she explained “little devices in our pockets are so psychologically powerful that they don’t only change what we do, they change who we are”. This statement helped solidify my why. How much do I really know about the apps students are using everyday and the apps we are asking them to use in our schools? How are these apps changing who they are?
My plan is to examine these apps from an administrator’s perspective. In the past few years my school division has changed the policy around what apps are accessible on the school iPads. Students and teachers still ask why they cannot add a “really great app” because it is free. Why are “fun and free” often the only criteria people consider for what we want our students to use?
At this point I have many ideas and possible directions I can go with this project. I know I need to narrow things down and hope that as I begin to work through my ideas my direction will become more clear. I plan on examining Snapchat and TikTok and two educational apps (looking into the possibilities and will finalize the two very soon). Some questions I have to drive this investigation include:
- What is the purpose of the app? What does it provide the user?
- What is the potential and the pitfalls of the app?
- What are the educational uses?
- What do the terms of service and privacy guidelines mean?
- What is the policy/guideline development for apps in my school division and why do these apps meet/not meet these requirements?
- What is required in terms of parent communication/involvement when these apps are used at school?
My plan is to use these apps as much as possible to be able to get a true understanding. As I do not have my own classroom, I will also be working with my colleagues and speaking to students to hear their voices around the usage of these apps. I am really looking forward to this project and I am open to any suggestions or advice anyone might have!