I recently went to the movies and paid full price.  Which is generally not the norm. I’m a wait-for-on-demand kinda girl, or wait until Tuesday when the cost is half the price.  I’m a teacher and frugal; labels that seem to go hand-in-hand.  So, it was a special occasion that caused this excursion: one month countdown until my recent high school graduate son flees the nest and leaves for his first year in college.  On a whim, hubby and I found ourselves home with our boy and decided to go to dinner and catch a movie.  What were the options?  Sausage Party-to which our son said, there is no way I’m seeing THAT movie with you guys. Notice he didn’t say he wouldn’t watch it later. That left us with Pets and Nerve.  We chose the latter.

And, you know those moments when you feel old…? Watching that movie was one of them; but, in a good, 41-years of age kind of way.  You see, I actually really enjoyed the movie.  It was, in my opinion, a commentary to the draw of internet culture that pushes levels of personal comfort for the sake of followers and likes.  I know, I know…I’m writing about it on my blog; the irony is not lost on me.  

Nerve posed as a reminder of the constant distraction that our students face.  This virtual social realm while living in the “real world” or IRL (in real life) and how that plays in our classrooms.  While discussing the virtual world is a post on it’s own, the themes in the movie is what I aim to explore.  

  1. You bail; You fail

These are the two choices offered to the players in the game.  There is no way out except to win.  

2. Followers are more important than relationships

All social media outlets rely on a following and numbers matter to the characters in the movie.

3. Virtual actions impact real life

Sadly, this is a concept that has to be a lesson that is learned in this movie and quite possibly, one that our students have yet to learn.

Without giving the movie away, I think these three points really reflect much of the gaps that our students face.  With technology being a driving force in their lives and access to it unprecedented, the need to be “seen” on social media is a reality.  How can educators compete with the draw?  Again…I’m working on that post!  (Stay TUNED!)

Back to the movie, the first point (theme 1)  is one that educators must combat.  There are not two options of “bail/fail” rather, we must show progress to our students.  This can be in the form of a rubric or feedback of a grade; however, students must know that if they TRY, there will be success.  

At the secondary level, relationships are everything and social clout is huge (theme 2).  This cannot be stressed enough.  Teachers must nurture this and treat all students with equal billing.  I know this isn’t easy, especially with huge class sizes, but the argument is that a classroom is the equalizer.  Mister or Miss popular is equal to the quiet or eccentric student.  Also, students who may not “talk” to one another or live in the same circles at school are likely to follow each other on social media. As educators it’s important to shake up groupings and encourage students who may not be “friends” to work together in class.

Our students do some crazy things online (theme 3).  Like crazy things online.  I have had very direct discussions with them about repercussions and I swear, it has fallen on deaf ears.  I would venture to say that most students are more astute in technology than their parents, so many have an online presence that is not known to their families.  Students are covert as are the apps that are available for students to hide behind.  This point has to be an ongoing discussion with students as many don’t see the connect to real life-until it is too late.

Technology and usage is a never ending conversation and learning curve.  As educators, we have to be aware of how tech impacts our classrooms; creative with how we blend tech in our lessons and intuitive with methodology that encourages students to be engaged in real life versus distracted by the virtual world.