Examining Consumption and Engagement Online

Leading our hot topic seminar this week, Terry and I reflected on several key items involving online consumerism include micro-loan organizations, youth online consumption vs adult online consumption (i.e. social media behaviours), and online shopping comfort and access.


As an educator, I had previously made an assumption that all students wanted digital tools, all of the time. And in our studies this week, it seemed to fit in certain circumstances. Danah Boyd talked about the changing pattern of youth social media expression; in essence, when parents are in your social media group you filter what you say (2013). Student spend time engaged in social media throughout the day and in portions of the evening, so one would think that increased screen time at school would lead to greater engagement.


On the other hand, this week Loewen and Terry (2015) described how students in an elementary/junior high setting found 90 minutes of screen time with an IPad (on remedial English and Math apps) was not engaging; it was just too long. Overall, this study found that “IPads can enhance students’ academic skills and school engagement”, however, technology was merely a tool not a replacement for a teacher.


Again, considering the articles and the points offered this week, I struggle with certain questions in the field of educational technology:

  • How do educational technology leads continue to promote the idea of balance digital tool use rather than replacement?
  • In what ways do students use digital tools and how much time is appropriate for engagement at a critical level?

Loewen, L., & Terry, M. (2015). IPad Learning Project in a Northern Manitoba School.Canadian Association of Principals, 1(15), 14-16.

Danah Boyd at the 2013 NASL Annual Conference [Motion picture]. (2013). YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YOR69TBxBA.


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