I had a really interesting slip-up in my speech this afternoon. My friend and I were doing a crossword puzzle in our History class, as is our new routine (we only recently got into them, but we rock at them unashamedly). We were stuck on the name of a river in Venezuela. So without thinking, I told her, “When we’re done taking notes, I’ll just google it on the map.”
What I meant was that I would look it up on the wall map, of course (it’s a history classroom, it has more maps than students), but somewhere in my mind the verb ‘look up’ just slipped out as ‘google’. I didn’t even notice what I had said until she pointed it out with a joke that I had been spending too much time on the internet.
It’s fascinating to see the impact that Google has had on people’s everyday lives.
In my world, I see Web 2.0 fully entwined with our normal lives. I do suffer a significant population bias; mine is the world of Echo-Boomer teenagers and the IB program. The collective geekiness levels are enough to maim a small child, I’m sure, but the experiences I have IRL are sometimes so indistinguishable from my online life that it can feel sometimes that logging in to MSN, Facebook, or my usual forum haunts after school is like walking back into class, but without a teacher scolding us for talking too loud and being off-task.
My lab partner and I in Chemistry once came up with a funny monologue. The first classmate we showed it to advised us to act it out together on Youtube. We insisted that it was just a writing thing, and that if we ever posted it anywhere at all, it would be a short written piece. It wasn’t the stuff of Youtube videos. “But it has to be on youtube,” he insisted. “A monologue isn’t funny if it’s not on youtube.”
Even earlier in the year, one of our Chinese projects was a cooking show that had to be filmed and presented to the class, no exceptions. The group commonly known as the class clowns (as close to class clowns as we get in the IB program, which is not very by normal standards) created the most amazing student video that we had ever seen that left us rolling in laughter. Someone on the other side of the class shouted, “That had better be on youtube tonight!” The same gang, doing an exaggerated dance to a romantic Mandarin song, was filmed on somebody’s cell phone with the promise/threat that “this is going on youtube!”.
The guys my lab partner and I team up with for dissections in Biology are “feminists”. This is the technical term they use to make themselves feel better about standing off to the side and looking sick while my partner and I (both female) cut open whatever slimy thing is on our dissecting tray. Our latest escapade was the dissection of a gigantic earthworm, which looked so cool when opened up that the guys forgot their queasiness and all four of us instinctively pulled out our cell phones to snap pictures of it.
Powerpoint presentations are the most commonly used medium for projects in all of our classes, especially History. More than half of the presentations I’ve seen link to a youtube video for a video clip or mini-documentary relating to the material, and this is completely accepted by all the teachers we’ve had so far.
I won’t even mention facebook. “Tell me on facebook,” “We’ll chat on facebook,” “Those had better be up on facebook tonight!” are phrases we hear many times a day. Any photos taken during school (a large percentage of us bring our digital cameras) will be on facebook within the next two days. And everyone has a facebook. Everyone. At the time of this posting, our school network has 1,444 people. I don’t know how many students are in our school, but I think that’s almost all of them.
Our more tech-literate teachers stalk MSN late on the nights before major projects are due and laugh about who was up at 3am in class. Little do they know that most of us are on facebook, checking our ‘friends online’ lists to see who shares that class with us so we can complain about the project, discuss our approaches, whine about what’s going wrong, and panic over the vaguely-defined criteria.
It should sound crazy, but it doesn’t. This generation – at least, my geeky IB circle of it – is totally Web 2.0 compatible.