You have homework this summer.
I know that the lyrics to Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” are still echoing in your head but understand that summer’s academic slide is real. You need some background before I tell you what the assignment is.
When I started in education, the “divide” for students was between the digital haves and digital have nots. Over the past 13 years the divide has evolved as technology became ubiquitous. Today, it’s between digital creators and digital consumers.
Unfortunately, the divide is wide with most students falling into the latter category. This should not come as a surprise. We live in a consumer society with our mobile devices offering a 24/7 all-you-can-eat buffet of free mindless content.
That’s sad when you consider that today’s youth have more computing power in their pocket than all of NASA had when we landed men on the moon. These same devices have the power to deliver a carefully crafted message to a billion person audience through social media.
That’s power, unimaginable just a generation ago. But what do we do with that power? Play Clash Royale while streaming music.
Why create, you ask? What’s wrong with just being a digital consumer? Nothing really. But it was invention and creating things that made America great. Not to mention that those virtual coins don’t earn you anything real. Digital creators, on the other hand, are earning real money after monetizing their platforms using original content. Digital creators will be the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.
Digital creators get hired.
Digital creators get promoted.
Digital creators get rich.
Some argue that today’s youth are creating. They cite the popularity of Instagram and the creation of content this medium demands. I’m not so sure. Check out these Instagram screenshots from some LS News followers.
How can you have 1,300 followers but only nine posts!?! What is there to follow? When we do post content it’s often screenshots of reaching the Legendary Arena or a checklist of completed chores. That’s not creating real content.
So here is your homework for this summer: Choose one of the following.
- Instead of reposting the same tired meme create your own hilarious gif. Extra credit if you filmed the gif. Automatic course A if your gif becomes cultural currency.
- Instead of reading Reddit, submit content. Extra credit getting more positive than negative votes. Automatic course A for getting your content on the front page.
- Instead of thumbing through Instagram liking images of things people ate, post an authentic image. Extra credit for editing your image. Automatic course A for using your Instagram to promote your personal babysitting / lawn mowing business.
- Instead of surfing the web, write for LS News. Extra credit for becoming a weekly columnist. Automatic course A for becoming a section editor.
- Instead of watching YouTube make an own original YouTube video. Extra credit for starting a channel with regular uploads. Automatic course A for having your video earn a million views.
- Instead of unlocking chests in Clash Royale create an app. Extra credit for coding it. Automatic A for cracking the top ten list in the App Store.
Instead of being a digital consumer be a digital creator this summer. Your assignment is due Wednesday, August 24 on the first day of school. I look forward to reviewing your submission.