“Blue Jeans Are The Most Beautiful Things Since The Gondola”

Now, you might be wondering why I’ve chosen Diana Vreeland’s quote to capture the message of the following blog post. Initially, when the term “Blue Jeans” comes to mind, I think about the excitement of the weekend when all you want to do is throw those ironed dress clothes aside and lounge around in your comfiest pair of jeans you own! However, now that another learning-packed week has gone by, it is time for me to share with you the newest possibility technology offers that I learned.. it’s Blue Jeans!

Let me explain. Blue Jeans is essentially an online, cloud-based conference room where you can connect with anyone via messaging, audio, and/or video. To really gain a true understanding for this service our ECMP455 class met through Blue Jeans for our Tuesday night class. I’ll be honest, it was a tad weird at first just silently staring at all of your friends and classmates, but it was extremely easy to interact and speak up during discussion. Alec was still able to share his screen and present his slides for us to follow along with, even while we had video screens of our classmates up to ‘watch’ at the same time (sounds so much creepier than it actually is, I swear! 😛 ).

During our collaboration online we kept discussing other forms of social media and access our students interact through, whether it be good or bad. A few specific websites and apps we discussed were SnapChat, ChatRoulette, Tinder, Kik, and YikYak. As a group of future teachers, we talked about ways we can approach these apps our students have direct access too, to ensure a they have a safe online identity. There were many of us who have tried these programs ourselves, and for most still have accounts on a few. The message that was emphasized by all of us was that there is more bad rep for all of these apps than there is good, but we reached the conclusion that people simply abuse them. Our professor brought up Tinder, where most of my classmates laughed and said how it is a complete joke; however, one guy shared his cousin met his current girlfriend via Tinder. The majority of us are on Snapchat, but strictly for sending goofy pictures to our best friends while including a little ‘text message’. In general, many online sites or apps we have access to, so do our students. I believe it is our responsibility to be aware of what is out there, and have the discussion with our students on how to be responsible with this access. My biggest goal is to address the topic of online identity and safety before it’s too late, not to wait until a situation of bullying or picture distribution occurs with one of my students. This led to the importance of having parents on board, ensuring you have their consent and support to highlight these issues with hopes they are instilling these expectations at home as well.

Social media has endless opportunities, but all it takes is connecting with the wrong stranger or hitting that ‘send’ button when you maybe should have thought twice about it first to turn fun into a nightmare.

Take home message:

**Educate your children and students about safe online identities, and practice this responsible, professional conduct through your own accounts!

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