#GoodbyeBreakingBad

Did you watch it?  The finale of all finales?… … … Do you even know what I’m talking about?  If you don’t, it’s cool.  It’s only a matter of time before you decide to binge-watch all 5 seasons of the best TV show in television history, Breaking Bad.  But this post isn’t about the show’s 100% pure awesomeness (inside joke, again, if you haven’t seen it, I apologize), this post is about the power of the media and its undeniable and unstoppable global connectivity.

**This post itself doesn’t include any spoilers, however, some of the links might lead to the online community’s reactions to the finale and they are likely to include spoilers**

I live in a timezone that is 14hrs ahead of the west, so my favorite TV shows are DVRd upon airing and saved on my hard drive waiting until I come back from work, ready for me to sit, relax and watch.  I love those moments when I unplug and ‘lend’ my thoughts to fictional characters on the screen. Global Connectivity It’s also worth mentioning that in the last 10 years, TV shows have upped their game incredibly and a lot of the writing and performances are outstanding.  But I digress.  As an avid TV watcher, I rely on the availability of online media to not only get the episodes immediately after they have aired, but also to  read up on what the online viewing community is saying.  This sense of community is at the core of global connectivity.

You might be wondering, why is this so important to me, I mean, it’s just a TV show right?  Maybe to bring up the topic of a global community in the context of a TV show is a bit superficial (you might change your mind if you watched this genius show, just saying ;)).  But the ability to connect in real time with people from all over the world, who speak different languages, who come from different cultures, who think in different ways with different perspectives… all over one common topic (be it a TV show or any other), is a great privilege.

Don’t get me wrong, it can also be overwhelming and sometimes a pain in the neck (I hate spoilers!).  So how can one person keep up with all these global interactions?  Just today, as I opened my HuffPo feed, three days after the BB finale aired, it’s still a much talked about topic in the online community.   If you look up any Twitter #s related to the show (#GoodbyeBreakingBad, #BreakingBad, #BreakingBadFinale, etc), they’re still “blowing up” (trending and relevant) as people continue to talk about it.

This community, these connections, allow all of us to feel like we’re part of something big.  That we all have a voice.  And as we connect to these communities, we become active listeners of different global perspectives.

Connect in Real Time...

For instance, these critics (and some of the actors from the show) LOVED the BB finale, where as this critic was very disappointed.  I read both opinion pieces and although it didn’t change how I felt about it myself, it did make me think of how awesome it is that we can all see things in different ways.

I also felt validated.  I love this show! And it’s cool to read up on others who feel just as strongly about it as I do.  I mean, it’s not like it’s part of my professional life (the story line is about a chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and decides to start a meth lab with an ex student to make money and secure his family’s future before he dies… hooked yet?!); nor is it an essential part of my personal life… It’s just pure entertainment. You know that feeling when you find out someone else has read a book you loved? And loved it too? Or didn’t? It doesn’t matter! That feeling of sharing that commonality is what’s awesome.  Now think of it in a way bigger scale… Imagine finding a whole global community that you share something with, that not only you can be a part of but contribute to it as well.  Pretty powerful stuff.

A global community of this can now empower people to share their views in real time about all sorts of issues and topics.  I quickly realize that this was not possible 20, 15 or even 10 years ago.  I talk about a TV show, but can you fathom the impact on current world issues?  A platform that gives anyone a voice, and not just that, but gives influential people a chance to hear these different voices?  A privilege.  A great one.

Ponder on these thoughts of global connectivity, the impact it has on us as educators, world citizens and/or avid TV watchers.  I’d love to hear your thoughts via this blog or Twitter – In fact, I love that I can hear your thoughts via this blog or Twitter 🙂  We may never meet face to face, but the fact that we are all part of COETAIL’s online community is certainly a privilege in itself.

Also, if/when you decide to watch BB, don’t forget to join the online community who will hold your hand (albeit digitally) through the intense story line.  So good!

Google Yourself

Have you googled yourself lately?  I predict you have.  Just like me, I’ve done it a couple of times.  Actually, I just did it now.  Nothing surprising.  There’s my Twitter, my Facebook, a LinkedIn account that I swore I had deleted, my work bio, etc.  This, as I understand it, is my digital footprint.  This is how I exist in the World Wide Web.  So what does this mean?

I read somewhere a while back (I will search this source and site it later) that 20 years from now, our generation would not be eligible for election to office (if being held to today’s standards for election).  When I read this, I snarkily asked myself ‘Why?’  So I quickly thought about my posts, photos & overall Facebook account history… Mmh, nothing major.  I opened my account when I was 26 so… Oh wait, didn’t I have a MySpace account before that? And before that didn’t I have that Hotmail account that I used to chat with my buddies using MSN Messenger?? You know, when it was all about those cool emoticons?

Pause.

Wow.  I’ve been around ‘digitally’ for far longer than I thought.  Should I be worried? It’s not that I made poor choices with the information I put out there,  I mean, I must have, I was a kid!  But I don’t remember now..!  So, what does this mean??  It probably means that running for office is not in the cards.  But as an educator, I agree with my friend and colleague Liz that it is part of our responsibility to teach responsible digital citizenship.

Currently at our school, we are running self-managed 1:1 iPad programs, grades 4-7, and MacBooks in high school.  Our learners make all sorts of choices on a daily basis that are leaving their own digital footprint.  I’m certain these choices aren’t always the best, so it’s on us who have given them these devices and expected them to self-manage their hardware, software and information.

Maybe I should ask my students to google themselves, and we can start from there?

Does Twitter Count?

As I was going over my COETAIL assignments, I realized I was missing one!  Oops!  This reflection is all about collaborative online projects.  I struggled with this since there are so many out there, yet, none of them I’m currently collaborating on.  Not just that, the amount of choice overwhelmed me a bit and I couldn’t think of which one to reach out to for collaboration.  While opening an array of tabs with different projects, I kept on checking back to my Tweetdeck, posting new tweets, responding to tweets, retweeting, adding links, hashtagging… And then it hit me… Aren’t I participating in a collaborative  online project? Isn’t Twitter the ultimate collaborative online project?

So I this is what I want to reflect upon: the impact Twitter has had in my professional learning and the way I collaborate with others through this medium.  But instead of a long-winded blog post on how great and wonderful I think Twitter is, I will represent my collaboration through some key images of my Twitter world.

A screenshot of my current Twitter profile

Me on Twtitter using Discovr People

A screenshot of my Tweetdeck, which I keep open on a separate desktop on my Mac at all times 🙂

These are snapshots of a an online collaboration I am a part of everyday, constantly changing, moving, updating, learning, connecting, geeking, sharing…  So, does this count?