Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Are YOU a Digital Leader?

It's the first week of my senior year of high school; I'm taking a heavy course load consisting of multiple AP and College level courses. As I sit in Calculus, I quickly realize that the small amount of material I am retaining, won't affect me in the future. This class is driving me crazy.

It's the third week of my senior year of high school; Calculus is driving me crazy. I run down to the Guidance office and ask to switch into a class that will help me with my future goals. Eventually, I want to own an advertising firm in a big city-- why do I need Calculus? 

As soon as my Guidance counselor says that "DigCit" is an option, I immediately join the class. This was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself (not only because I got out of taking Calculus).

Throughout the semester, we focused on many different aspects on how we, as young adults, could become Digital Leaders. I think it's fair to say that, as a class, we all started out as Digital Citizens. My transition from Digital Citizen to Leader to quick and efficient. When I was informed of the criteria, I starting to notice a change in my digital life, as I was becoming more positive and educational. 

Towards the end of the semester, we compiled all of our work into a portfolio and presented it to many judges and classmates. We were told to address the criteria to prove the we, indeed, became Digital Leaders. 

Personally, I believe that my coverage of the criteria was very notable. It is amazing how much I improved as a Digital Leader throughout the semester without putting in too much effort. The internet is an amazing place and a great platform to learn and share everything, so being positive online should come naturally. Although I do believe I could have made my portfolio more complex, I like to think that it is simplistic and informative to my audience.

A challenge for me during this process was collecting evidence for each strand, since many of my examples could have been counted in many different sections. I overcame this struggle by realizing that I had more than enough examples to share, so I could easily spread out the ones I believed overlapped categories.

Success doesn't come easy. For me, I worked hard on my project to be able to showcase my experiences of the semester. I did this successfully by organized my portfolio into categories based on the strands of evidence. This helped me and my audience separate the data so I could explain why I put each one where it was.

My most successful criteria
Evidence 4: To Promote Important Causes, was my most successful strand of evidence. I enjoy using my social media as a form of communicating the wrong-and-right doings in the world. Many of my tweets and Facebook posts promote causes that I find to be important, especially women's rights. 

My weakest criteria
Evidence 2: To Empower Others with No Voice, was my weakest strand. Although I wish I could empower others more often, I found it to be quite challenging to find evidence to prove that I did so. On Twitter, I often retweet others who are in need of help or need help raising awareness. This could be considered "empowering", but I do wish that I could personally help these people. This will be my new goal: empower others with no voice as often as I possibly can.

Comments from judges and classmates about my presentation

Above are some comments left for me after I presented. Yes, I did present 4 days after getting all of my wisdom teeth removed. I believe that this helped to show my point of how important being a Digital Leader is. After enduring oral surgery, I still came in and explained to everyone why this is such a vital part of the world we live in today. My presentation probably could have been better if I didn't have chipmunk cheeks while talking, but I think that I did a good job conveying the importance.

If you are looking to become a Digital Leader like me, I encourage you to think before you post anything and to think of how your posts could potentially help other people.

Digital Citizenship is an invaluable class where I learned many life lessons I will take with me as I continue to grow up in this digital age.

My Portfolio

Thursday, December 22, 2016


After a grueling self-analysis, I've discovered that if someone were to meet me for the first time, they would believe that I am an upstander based on my social media posts. An upstander is someone who takes a stand against negativity and bullying. In my examples, I am seen being an upstander by retweeting a mother and daughter who are stuck in Aleppo. This shows an example of an upstander since I am bringing awareness to a terrible doing that is happening in the world. Another execution of me being an upstander is my tweeting #ThankfulThursday posts to friends, family, and inspirations. Personally, I believe that this is the action of an upstander because it displays positivity and instigates kindness in others.
Family in Aleppo

#ThankfulThursday tweets

If I were being bullied, I feel as though I would be equally offended by the words of the bully and the people who witnessed it and didn't do anything. Although the words are originally the bully's and not the bystander's, by witnessing and not reporting/helping, the words can be interpreted as the bystander's. Another reason that this would be so offending is because the victim might start believing that what the bully said is true since no one is disagreeing. Bullying takes a mental toll on the victim and by the bystanders furthering it, no one knows how the victim may be reacting.

I believe that social media has effectively furthered bullying. People who are non confrontational may find it easier to harass other's online. This gives them the power to bully their victim extensively and repeatedly. Social media gives people confidence they didn't know they had, and they could use this new found terror in negative ways. On the other hand, it can make people feel worse about themselves and they could take that out on other's who "have what they want". 

YouTube allows viewers to give a video a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down". This is a form of bullying because someone could feel attacked by the "thumbs down" vote. The video creator could feel bullied from this because they most likely put lots of time and effort into this video. The "thumb up" vote could make the creator feel good about themselves, but sometimes, the "thumbs down" vote outdoes the positive vote.

In a perfect world, we wouldn't need to worry about bystander, perpetrators, and upstanders because there would be no bullying. In the world we live in, we need to keep enforcing the importance of upstanders. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Learn a New Word (or Two)!

BriefTube's logo

When was the last time you were watching a video and didn't know a word that was used? BriefTube has solved this never-ending problem for you!

After constantly being confused as to what my AP English readings say and never having the energy to Google what it means, this extension is a lifesaver. Now, when watching summaries of my books (after I read them, of course), I know exactly what is going to be discussed in class. 

BriefTube in action on a YouTube video
Above, BriefTube is pictured on a "Crash Course" video about "Hamlet". Personally, I believe that Shakespeare is a pain to read, let alone listening to people talk about it. BriefTube helped me simplify what John Green was saying and helped me (possibly) pass my quiz while also embracing my laziness!

For this assignment, we were asked to rank the extension on a scale of 0-4 with 0 being the lowest and 4 being the highest.

I'd give BriefTube a 3 rating for appealing looks and sounds. I believe that BriefTube deserves this rating because the display is very basic. It is clear that the developers made this display simple so the viewer can focus on the video while expanding their vernacular at the same time. The sound on this extension is the sound of the video being played, so it would be too arbitrary to judge this in my rating. 

I feel as though BriefTube kept me thoroughly engaged while using it. Even though there was a chunk of the screen being used to define the words and phrases, it kept me focused on the video so I could hear the words I didn't know being used in context. In addition to keeping me engaged, I felt more motivated to learn as opposed to my usual ignoring the words I don't know in hopes that I will be able to figure it out at a later time. For these reasons, I am giving BriefTube a 4.

There aren't many instructions given to the user other than that the video must be in a certain format and at least 5 minutes long. Personally, I found this extension pretty self explanatory. Since I am giving this rating based on my usage of BriefTube, I am giving it a rating of 3 in this category purely for the reason that I could clearly understand how the extension should be used.

BriefTube was very fast and instantly gave me the results that I needed. As soon as I opened a video that met the criteria, BriefTube was open and giving me the definitions and context of the words. This was very useful for my needs of quickly watching the summary of "Hamlet" since there wasn't much time before I had class. Since this feature saved my life (or grade, same thing), I am giving a rating of 4 in this category.

Another feature of this extension is the word cloud. I found this feature to be very interesting since I could easily figure out what the most common words were that I should definitely know about "Hamlet". As seen in the photo below, I clearly needed to know who Claudius was. I liked this feature due to my ability to quickly find out what was the most important. In addition to the outline and word cloud features, there is the option to search through the video as well. I did not find this part as necessary for what I was doing because I was watching the video for a summary and was not looking for specific key words. Overall, BriefTube deserves a rating of 3 due to the 3 levels of customization.

Word Cloud of "Crash Course" video on "Hamlet"
By far, I'd highlight BriefTube's ability to quickly find the words in the videos that I needed to learn. It really made me feel like I was not wasting any of my time and kept me focused on the video because I didn't have to switch between multiple screens to define the words, and also had me constantly listening so I could keep learning. I feel as though my grades will improve because I am now being surrounded by unfamiliar words while learning what they mean and how to use them in context.

Unfortunately, BriefTube isn't perfect. A lowlight of this extension is that the videos have to be at least 5 minutes long for it to generate word clouds and outlines. I simply do not understand why the developers made the extension function this way since there are words in videos shorter than 5 minutes which I still need to define.
BriefTube's message for when it isn't eligible on the page
My overall rating of BriefTube is a 3.4. Due to my experiences with the extension as stated above, I will personally be recommending BriefTube to my peers and friends. This extension has many benefits that I believe will help students and anyone who is willing to learn.