Following The Leader

In this lesson, students will have an opportunity to debate whether or not an individual’s number of followers on Instagram and Twitter correlates with that person’s ability to be a positive role model.

The Rant: Making Sense of Mr. Bryant

In this lesson, students will imagine they are Kobe Bryant’s personal editor and use his recent Facebook rant to learn to identify mistakes in writing and compose their own essays to better express Kobe’s woes.

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Teen Usage: Instagram vs. Facebook

Is Instagram the most popular social media app among 12-17 year-old teens? Or is Facebook still on top? Statistics vary on how many teens use each platform. CBS News stated 76% of teens use the app compared to 45% on Facebook. A Pew Research report said only 52% of teens use Instagram versus the 71% who use Facebook.

The Pew Research shows wealthier teens, or those whose parents make over $75,000, use Instagram 23% more than those teens under $30,000 at 7%. Facebook is the preferred social media among the lower income teens at 49% versus 37% for upper income teens. Girls are on Instagram more than boys, 61% versus 44%.

Instagram is more popular than Facebook among wealthy teens

Instagram began as strictly a photo sharing app, but its popularity with teens has made the app more of a social network. Teens use hashtags along with their photos and videos to gain more followers. Because of Instagram, data usage has tripled among teens. As the app has become more popular, Instagram has begun to spread to younger children. One of Instagram’s rules is that a person must be thirteen to have a profile. However, children younger than thirteen are still creating profiles, showing that younger children are becoming drawn into the social media platform.

Hashtags help with SEO, or search engine optimization. Because many teens think it’s best to have more followers than those they are following, they seek to find new followers by showing off their photos to more people. The use of hashtags makes photos and videos available for everyone to see. The more hashtags posted alongside the photos and videos, the more likely it is that new people will see those photos. Having more followers seems to appeal to teens because it makes them look more popular among their peers.
So is Instagram or Facebook more popular among the 12-17-year old teens? Do teens really use hashtags to gain followers?  How do teens know which is the most popular social media among their age group? They can conduct their own survey and draw their own conclusions.

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The Future is Here Pt. 1 of 3: Virtual Reality, The Beginning or the End of Society as We Know It?

 

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“Whoa!” That was the famous word Keanu Reeves said when he discovered the alternate reality of The Matrix back in 1999. Of course, as we learned in the movie, Keanu was stuck in a false reality. His senses were tricked into believing he was on Earth, when in reality an alien planet was living off his body and sending false signals to his brain through some creepy cord connected to his head. It was an apocalyptic, futuristic take on virtual reality, a concept that has been featured in many science fiction films.

The origins of virtual reality date back to 1968 when Ivan Sutherland created a wearable headset  to simulate being in a wireframe polygon room at the University of Utah. Starting in 1966, Thomas Furness spent over two decades at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base developing the virtual reality environments for pilots to train in. In the 1990s, movies like Lawnmower Man and Disclosure, made Virtual Reality look like it was about to enter the mainstream. By the mid-1990s gaming companies Sega, Atari and Nintendo had all invested heavily in Virtual Reality focused games, but the Virtual Reality hype quickly fizzled when all of their prototypes failed. Nintendo managed to get two of its products in the marketplace, the Power Glove and Virtual Boy, but they had awful sales and caused a virtual reality bust.

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The possibilities of virtual reality have only reemerged recently with Oculus Rift, a VR headset company that Facebook bought for $2 billion in 2014. LucasFilms is currently marketing Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a Google Cardboard virtual reality experience called Jakku Spy and even the New York Times is embracing it. But what is it? How does it ‘trick’ our brains? How can it be used for social good? In this lesson make your own VR headset and get in on the ground floor in figuring out how VR can change the world.

The Rant: Making Sense of Mr. Bryant

In this lesson, students will imagine they are Kobe Bryant’s personal editor and use his recent Facebook rant to learn to identify mistakes in writing and compose their own essays to better express Kobe’s woes.

Following The Leader

In this lesson, students will have an opportunity to debate whether or not an individual’s number of followers on Instagram and Twitter correlates with that person’s ability to be a positive role model.

dacebook-instagram-540x359

Teen Usage: Instagram vs. Facebook

Is Instagram the most popular social media app among 12-17 year-old teens? Or is Facebook still on top? Statistics vary on how many teens use each platform. CBS News stated 76% of teens use the app compared to 45% on Facebook. A Pew Research report said only 52% of teens use Instagram versus the 71% who use Facebook.

The Pew Research shows wealthier teens, or those whose parents make over $75,000, use Instagram 23% more than those teens under $30,000 at 7%. Facebook is the preferred social media among the lower income teens at 49% versus 37% for upper income teens. Girls are on Instagram more than boys, 61% versus 44%.

Instagram is more popular than Facebook among wealthy teens

Instagram began as strictly a photo sharing app, but its popularity with teens has made the app more of a social network. Teens use hashtags along with their photos and videos to gain more followers. Because of Instagram, data usage has tripled among teens. As the app has become more popular, Instagram has begun to spread to younger children. One of Instagram’s rules is that a person must be thirteen to have a profile. However, children younger than thirteen are still creating profiles, showing that younger children are becoming drawn into the social media platform.

Hashtags help with SEO, or search engine optimization. Because many teens think it’s best to have more followers than those they are following, they seek to find new followers by showing off their photos to more people. The use of hashtags makes photos and videos available for everyone to see. The more hashtags posted alongside the photos and videos, the more likely it is that new people will see those photos. Having more followers seems to appeal to teens because it makes them look more popular among their peers.
So is Instagram or Facebook more popular among the 12-17-year old teens? Do teens really use hashtags to gain followers?  How do teens know which is the most popular social media among their age group? They can conduct their own survey and draw their own conclusions.

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The Future is Here Pt. 2 of 3: Augmented Reality, Gimmick or Game Changer?

Released in 1999, a scene in David Fincher’s movie Fight Club features the narrator walking through his apartment visualizing products from the IKEA catalog popping up along his walls. The items pop up paired with information about them from the catalog – adding depth to the viewable reality. Today, IKEA has made that brief minute of fiction an actual reality. You can now use an IKEA catalog and your smartphone to visualize how their products would actually fit in your home or office.

IKEA cataloge with a smartphone showing a AR chair.

This new technology is referred to as Augmented Reality or simply AR. It has existed in movies like Robocop, Terminator, Minority Report and Iron Man, for years, but it has only recently found its way into our modern life, with smart devices.

The advance in mobile-device technology has given the world a new digital window to look at our surroundings. Augmented Reality is used in a lot of new advertising, as well as, with translating, construction tools, medical training, military training… the list is endless. Some Augmented Reality uses QR codes, others printed text and still others use real objects like the buildings of a city as a trigger, or marker, for AR objects.

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Augmented Reality augments our viewable realities by adding information, images and depth. Microsoft has developed, what they’re calling, the first untethered augmented reality or holographic computer. They’re looking for innovative people to try out their new technology and come up with new ways to communicate, invent, explore and solve the world’s problems.

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AR is a rapidly expanding technology.  Where is your place in it? Do you currently use it? Is AR surrounding you more than you realize? Do you want to try your hand at creating some of your own AR objects? Explore the limits of AR in this lesson and see what all of the buzz is about!

The Role of Social Media During the Boston Marathon Bombings

The objective of this lesson is for students to evaluate the role of social media during times of crisis.

Americans have become no strangers to hearing about tragic news and responding to it via social media. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have become places where people turn to find out what is happening on the ground during crisis situations and what they can do to help. They have also become forums for people to show support for the community that was hurt the most. The news of the Boston Marathon bombings was shared seconds after the bombs detonated. There were pictures, videos and news of the horrific event all over social network outlets before the traditional news media arrived at the scene.

Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea is a Real Life Catcher in the Rye: Characterization and Cyberbullying on Twitter

 

Iggy Azalea has quit Twitter. Let’s focus on her last tweet and her reasoning. In her final tweets, Iggy Azalea describes the “hatred and pettiness” she finds online, calling the internet the “ugliest reflection of man kind there is.”

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As you can see, not even global fame and celebrity can protect Iggy from the ills of cyberbullying in today’s age.

 

Iggy feels as if she is being attacked and cyber-bullied based upon her appearance. These tweets constitute a narrative and Iggy is the main character in this story. What do these tweets reveal about her character? How is she feeling? What emotions does she bring out? Iggy’s experiences strike a similarity to the experiences of a troubled character in a classic novel named Holden Caulfield from the acclaimed book, Catcher in the Rye. Now, imagine if Holden Caulfield lived in the age of social media, would he have reacted the same way? Like Iggy, Holden is brutally honest throughout the novel. In the book, the audience learns that Holden has been kicked out of yet another school. Like Iggy, Holden gives evidence throughout the book that he is disliked and misunderstood by others.

 

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Cyberbullying, even on social media platforms like Twitter, can lead to people feeling victimized, causing them to verbally lash out at others. As you can see, not even global fame and celebrity can protect Iggy from these ills in today’s age.  However, the Catcher in the Rye novel shows us that this is nothing new. Holden and Iggy both show us that a true test of one’s character is how we respond to the unprovoked negativity in the world and you are only a victim if you allow yourself to become one.