The Good, The Bad, and The Unintentional

We are a generation lucky to be born into a world with information at our finger tips. I find myself often thinking of how we have research papers so easy compared to when people actually had to read full books for information. We have GPS that literally tells us where to go instead of having to plan a route, and follow a map. We have all of these amazing things, but sometimes it seems they take over. It is so easy to get lost in them, and not think about those around us.

According to a post called Bored…And Brilliant?  they show that, “Many of us reflexively grab our phones at the first hint of boredom throughout the day. And indeed a recent study by the research group Flurry found that mobile consumers now spend an average of 2 hours and 57 minutes each day on mobile devices.” They also mention an app called Moment, it is supposed to track your phone usage in order to make you more aware of what you are doing when you may  not notice it.

I downloaded an app similar to it called QualityTime, it tracks what apps you use when you open your phone, and for how long. They then are able to show how long you spent on a certain app throughout the day. It is currently 9:49 pm, according to the QualityTime app I have spent 3 hours and 33 minutes on my phone. Yikes! Though I am proud to say that over an hour of it was spent on reading a book I bought on my phone.

I think this is where it gets tough for people. Yes, I am still on my phone a lot when I could be doing other things, but it would be the same had I been holding an actual book in my hands. This is the beauty of the app, you can see if you are at least spending your time on things that will build you up, or if you are truly wasting your time. I am not usually good about being mindful on my phone or computer or TV. I really hadn’t thought much of it until this unit, and hope to change some of my habits.

When we are permanently tied to our devices we lose out on pretty much everything. We may be in the know, and up to date on certain things. But, we are completely missing everything around us. As we saw in the TED talk (shown below) there really is a balance that needs to be found. The internet can offer connections to people we may not be able to see any other way, but we also need to be available to those around us. As he gets to the end he mentions his sister telling him his wall is going back up once he is back on the internet. You can tell this meant something to him as I think it should to all of us.

Be an Activist

Digital activism was a new term for me! I have participated in, and shared digital activism plenty of times since I began my digital citizenship. I just didn’t have a name for it. There are many things that go into the idea of digital activism: petitions, funding, blogs, tweeting to spread knowledge of a subject.

Activism online can be a huge relief to someone because anyone can join in no matter their circumstance, and you can see how you are really helping! “With an estimated two in five young adults engaging with social issues online, we’ve entered into the age of digital activism, where grassroots movements are created through tweets, reblogs, likes, and status updates.” TeenVogue even did a story on it where I pulled this quote.

I have shared/commented on plenty of articles about domestic violence, sexual assault, consent, human trafficking from my job’s Facebook page. These are topics that need talked about, shared, and information spread all around. Anytime I can help push the agenda towards a DV free world I am going to do it!

I have signed a couple of petitions, one being Bring Back Brendan Fraser. They are super close to their goal! “In early 2013, Fraser petitioned the courts for a reduction of his alimony, asserting he was unable to meet the annual obligation of $900,000.” Taken from the page. It may seem silly, but they only need a little over 5,000 signatures to reach 50,000. That just proves one signature and a share can reach thousands of people. This petition started in Australia! If you wanted to take some time to sign and get them closer to their goal it would be awesome, and maybe a good first step towards digital activism!

As for all of the teenagers out there who are selflessly utilizing the social media at their fingertips to help out others who are dealing with issues amaze me. As a teenager it was hard to see past my own problems to even think about helping others. They actually give away awards each year to kids who are doing something with digital activism. Teen Activist Finalists all are doing something bigger.

A lot of them are dealing with bullying, suicide, and other issues teens face. I think having another teen there for them during this time is great! Another great side to it being online is they get to stay anonymous if they want to! Sometimes knowing the person doesn’t know it is you may make it easier to talk, and that can really help someone out, but doesn’t give them the okay to bully anyone themselves!

What I leave you with today: Go be an activist either in person or online. These issues are your issues. There are 13 year olds doing more with digital activism than a lot of people who are older and capable. It doesn’t take long, and you can find many different causes to become a part of! Enjoy searching, and feeling like you’re making a difference, because you are!


Show and Tell

Working a full time job, going to school, being married, and having a teen living with you doesn’t leave much time for fun. I used to have a book with me every where I went. I have read 2 books for pleasure in the last 6 months. I don’t know if I can fully explain how sad that makes me, or how thrilling it was to read a book yesterday for fun. Though I am also calling it research for my ILP! The book was Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. It is part of a 5 book series, and I cannot wait to start on book 2!

In order to remember why I write I need to remember why people read. Though it isn’t always for pleasure, (especially as a student) books can move people. They can pull you into their world, and hours can go by. Finishing a book or a series can truly change your life even if you don’t notice it. Through writing you have the chance to connect people who would have no other reason to be connected. There is power in the written word.

I love when I am reading and something happens in the book and my heart leaps to my chest, or when a character you love dies and it can bring you to tears. I saw a quote recently, “Reading is just staring at a dead piece of tree for hours and hallucinating.”-Unknown. Though it is funny, and slightly exaggerated, it is true. There is power in the pages that can make a book take you so much farther than a movie ever could. If it is done right, of course. Which leads me to my topic of this blog post. Showing not telling.

I think way too much about showing and not telling. This can sometimes make my job in writing hard. In a normal day we don’t talk or write to show something, or paint a picture. We usually are just trying to get a point across. It takes me a lot of time and effort to make sure I am not telling in a story. This time I forced myself to just write, and not think about it. I wrote my little heart out without stopping. This helped me get a lot farther than I have in a long time since I wasn’t thinking about anything but the story I was trying to tell.

I talk about editing in all of my ILP blogs, but it is something I was wanting to work on this semester. By writing through the story first it gave me the chance to not only edit for grammar, but for making sure to show the story through my words as well. Sometimes I still have to question whether I am showing vs. telling. I look up examples and it helps get me out of my head instead of over thinking it. One site that is a big help is Creative Writing 101 it gives many examples, and has extra tips when needed.

Writing is meant to be soothing, and not a chore so I don’t know why I make it one. I’m excited to work on something new next week!



If you’re reading this…

You’re a digital citizen! Congratulations! This means we are all in charge of our digital citizenship, and for those of you who don’t know what I am talking about watch this video…

Digital Citizenship has become a part of everyday life for a majority of people in the United States. Though the sad fact of this is a lot of people have become desensitized to how they should act when talking with other human beings even if it isn’t face to face. They are behind a screen, and have a pretty good chance of never seeing the person so why not say everything you’re thinking.

Image result for picture beyonce wants removed from internet

This is a very flawed concept though, because what you put on the internet doesn’t go away. No matter who you are. Beyonce had her lawyers try to delete the following picture from the internet. Even with all her money and power as you can see I still found the picture by literally Googling, “Picture Beyonce wants removed from the internet” it even pops up with a drop down option!

Image result for picture beyonce wants removed from internet

The point of all of this is to show that nothing you do disappears. I have heard many people joke about their great-granddaughters being able to see all of your tweets, and Instagram selfies. While our generation just gets old photos you hope to not lose! Though the amount of people who don’t have their privacy turned on amazes me! Some people are going to be able to see stuff you may not want everyone to see. That is just how the internet goes. It can only be so secure.

This is important to keep in mind as many jobs, colleges, and just random people have the access to get a lot of your information. If you look at how you act online will jobs or colleges want you? If not you may want to start cleaning up!

A quick switch in gears back to my first point. People say horrible things through technology because they can.  Cyber-bullying is real, and there unfortunately not a lot that can be done about it. I believe wholly in prevention, but unfortunately until prevention is possible there are certain things people can do to protect themselves from those who find courage behind their screens. I read a great article on how you can deal with Digital Cruelty. Though what they suggest is easier said than done!

I hope this was helpful for some, and all I can say to send you away with is to please check your privacy settings for all accounts, and be good people. It really is simple I promise!!


What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name? The answer is a lot. In the age of technology it is smart to Google yourself every now and then just to make sure there is nothing up that shouldn’t be. Schools, employers, and even random people (such as pervs, potential dates, or soon to be in-laws) can Google you to find out anything they possibly can.

Every site has privacy settings, but those who have access to your accounts can do whatever they wish with your information. There is a video that shows a man who befriends teens on Facebook what all he finds with their account info… 6 Clicks Video. It is a little goofy and played out, but the information is good!

I googled myself just to see what others can see. I used all combinations of my name. “Courtney Haywood” came up with a bunch of others with the same name, and with more searching through these the only place I found myself was Google Images. There are 2 photos, both of which were my Twitter profile pictures.

When I searched my maiden name it came up with a few pics from my high schools speech, and journalism teams. Nothing too exciting. I did a combination of both names and using my middle name, and only came up with my Facebook link (where I have Privacy set to high) and 2 reviews for my hair salon and gym.

I was curious about my Twitter tag, so after I searched it I did get the link to that, but also all of my blog posts from school. So, I would argue I am mostly boring, and secure with what I allow on the internet! Everything I post for school is appropriate, and you have to have my Twitter tag to find it.

As I mentioned above anything you post to your sites, even with privacy on, allows those who are  friends to use any of it. You can go on Facebook and save pictures of people online. You can also sometimes see your friends-friends updates. Depending on what they are sharing it could be detrimental to them later on.

I am pretty lucky to have been taught to be safe online, and not post anything I wouldn’t want out there. I honestly don’t worry about what my employer or anyone else will see when they look me up!  I do have a digital footprint, but it is as I said before very tame, and besides Facebook the only reason I have images, and anything else is due to school. I’d call that a success!



I had taken a class similar to this one before from CSC. It was Adolescent Lit, and it had the same format as this class including blog, and Twitter. Due to this I was able to know somewhat what to expect from the assignments and grading. Though as it pertains to learning I am not 100% sure what I expected to get out of the class.

When I hear the title “Literacy in the Digital Age” I honestly thought it would be about keeping students literate in English as the digital age brings about text lingo and the like. I was pleasantly surprised that it was more about keeping people, especially teachers, up to date on all things technology. I personally took the class because of the ENG tag. Though in my opinion it should be more EDUC as the class leans more towards teachers.

Though I am not planning to be a teacher anymore I have learned a lot of useful information in this class. I was able to make a PLN that is set more to me as a writer which will be useful in the future! The PLN was the most difficult module in my opinion because of all the work that went along with it in finding 100 people to follow on Twitter. Though it was worth while, finding that many people who had something to say was hard!

As for the most interesting module I enjoyed the week we worked on ds106. I love being creative so having that outlet to help me be a little creative everyday is awesome! I also enjoyed the TED Talk that came with that module, 30 Days TED Talk. I think it is important to start new, healthy habits. I hope to continue going with The Daily create with ds106 after the 30 days for class are up!

As for the next half of the semester I know I will learn a lot more about digital literacy I have never heard of before. I look forward to learning new tech that can be used in many parts of my life. If I ever do decide to become a teacher all that I learned this semester will be very valuable to me and my students.

I have enjoyed this online class more than any other. I think it is one of the only classes that really works online because of the freedom brought with the assignments. Especially as they all deal with the internet anyways! I can’t wait to learn more about how the internet can be used beyond Facebook, and how I can keep on learning Dig Lit after the class ends!



Do the Write Thing

I’m not going to lie, this week was a struggle with my ILP. I had little to no motivation and felt like my creativity was on hold after a long week of being sick. But come hell or high water, I want a good grade, so I pushed through it.

I think it is good to talk about writer’s block and how often it can happen even if you are in a push to get something done. I would even argue the time constraint makes it worse. Even when you love to write there are days when it is the bane of your existence.

I decided to really push scheduled writing for myself these last few days in order to reach the time expected, and to make sure it got done. I set up to do a half hour each night before bed. That shouldn’t be too hard right? Wrong.

The first two nights were really a struggle. It was one of those times you write a sentence and just stare at it. I know you aren’t supposed to do that. You’re supposed to just write and keep writing. Editing comes later, but sometimes it feels like you can’t get the story right without getting the first few sentences just right.

I had never really looked at writer’s block as much before. In all reality I normally just gave up on my writing until I have a new idea to work on. I have a lot of unfinished pieces from not knowing how to finish them. I am hoping that by continuing to push through and writing each night will help.

One thing I also decided to do to help myself learn and grow is sign up for Word of the Day with Everyday when I get the word through email I copy and paste the word and definition into a document. I then write a sentence using the word to put it in my mind.

Growing vocabulary helps in everyday life, but especially as a writer! I have learned words that Microsoft doesn’t consider words! It has been interesting to learn even more words than I already knew. As I have mentioned on Twitter I am normally very verbose, and love to learn new words so this seemed a no brainier!

I don’t really have much to share this week, but I hope to share something with you all next week! I like to have enough to make it interesting, and make sense before I share!