(or, Welcome to the Future)
Last night, I went to parent-teacher night at my daughter’s school. Here is a list of things I wrote down that differ from when I went to middle school. Since I’m a social media researcher, many of them have to do with technology and social media. I thought someone else might find them of interest.
Things in middle school today that differ from my childhood:
- The “loaner Kindles.”
- Everyone gets a “certificate of participation” for everything.
- Cyber-bullying prevention assembly is held once each year.*
- Giant flatscreen TV looks weird on a rolling cart.
- No recess.
- Less unstructured time.
- 20 minute lunch.
- School day is shorter.
- Along with Kleenex and colored pencils, the “teacher wish list” has software licenses.
- “No cut” athletics.
- All of the good teachers have a Weebly.
- Video lectures sent home on thumb drives “in case your broadband is slow.”
- Physical Education (Phys Ed) is optional.
- Shop classes replaced by computer classes, called “Technical Education” (Tech Ed).
- The Concussion Awareness Campaign.
- Most common use of Internet in school: YouTube.
- Most FAQ from parents: “How often do you post grades on Powerschool?” (Powerschool is proprietary courseware.)
- Many textbooks are PDFs.
- As part of a “back strain prevention program” there are two copies of the heaviest textbooks — one for school and one for home.
- When I was a kid: “school resource officer.” Today: “police-free schools.” (Yes Ann Arbor is liberal and affluent.)
- Can’t make a move without a contract that the parent and the child has to sign.
- “For safety,” students not allowed in school building before or after school.
- Student art projects come home via the equivalent of Cafe Press. We got a mug.
- Whole school smells strongly of Axe.
* — An actual quote from a handout: “Facebook, cellphone cameras and texting, My Space [sic], FormSpring, X-box live, etc. are just some of the ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ that are in your children’s hands.”
Me: “Also, ‘My Space’ doesn’t have a space.”
Me: “Also, also, I think ‘My Space’ is over now.”
(This was cross-posted to the Social Media Collective.)
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