Tag Archives: HWL

Teenagers say goodbye to Facebook and hello to messenger apps

Gradual exodus of young people towards WhatsApp, WeChat and KakaoTalk is just as their mums and dads get the hang of social networking:

Parmy Olson, The Observer, November 10, 2013– Facebook made a startling admission in its earnings announcement this month: it was seeing a “decrease in daily users, specifically among teens”. In other words, teenagers are still on Facebook; they’re just not using it as much as they did. It was a landmark statement, since teens are the demographic who often point the rest of us towards the next big thing.

Their gradual exodus to messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat and KakaoTalk boils down to Facebook becoming a victim of its own success. The road to gaining nearly 1.2 billion monthly active users has seen the mums, dads, aunts and uncles of the generation who pioneered Facebook join it too, spamming their walls with inspirational quotes and images of cute animals, and (shock, horror) commenting on their kids’ photos. No surprise, then, that Facebook is no longer a place for uninhibited status updates about pub antics, but an obligatory communication tool that younger people maintain because everyone else does.

All the fun stuff is happening elsewhere. On their mobiles.

When mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp first emerged in 2009, they looked like a threat to mobile carriers. Everyone from Vodafone to Dutch operator KPN was mentioning them in sales calls. Mobile operators are estimated to have lost $23bn in SMS revenue in 2012 due to messaging apps, which host free instant messages through a phone’s data connection, which these days is often unlimited. Now these apps are becoming a threat to established social networks too.

WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app in the UK and on half the country’s iPhones, according to Mobile Marketing Magazine, has more than 350 million monthly active users globally. That makes it the biggest messaging app in the world by users, with even more active users thansocial media darling Twitter, which counts 218 million. About 90% of the population of Brazil uses messaging apps, three-quarters of Russians, and half of Britons, according to mobile consultancy Tyntec. WhatsApp alone is on more than 95% of all smartphones in Spain. The power users and early adopters of these apps, the ones you’re most likely to see tapping their thumbs over a tiny screen, are under 25.

Part of the reason is that gradual encroachment of the grey-haired ones on Facebook. Another is what messaging apps have to offer: private chatting with people you are friends with in real life. Instead of passively stalking people you barely know on Facebook, messaging apps promote dynamic real-time chatting with different groups of real-life friends, real life because to connect with them on these apps you will typically already have their mobile number. The trend flies in the face of recurring criticism of young people – that their social lives are largely virtual – when many more are in fact embracing the virtues of privacy and services like WhatsApp, which shun advertising.

“I only use WhatsApp to communicate and send pics these days,” said Natalie West, a twentysomething financial sales associate in London. In the last few years she has used Facebook less and less because she doesn’t want “the whole world to know” what she’s doing. When people set up events and get-togethers on Facebook, West and her boyfriend tend to reply on WhatsApp instead because “it’s more personal”. For similar reasons, some 78% of teenagers and young people use mobile messengers to plan a meet-up with friends, according to research advisory firm mobileYouth.

Another factor is the rise of the selfie, often silly self-portraits taken at arm’s length with a mobile. Almost half of the photos on Instagram feeds among people aged 14 to 21 in the UK are selfies, according to mobileYouth. Sending those photos via a mobile messaging service is safer than broadcasting them on Facebook, since they’re less likely to be seen by a boss or dozens of Facebook friends you forgot you had. Selfies are even bigger on Snapchat, the evanescent photo sharing app that deletes a photo several seconds after it has been viewed. With about 5 million active monthly users, the service has inevitably become a favoured way for teens to send sexy or even naked photos of themselves, an ill-advised practice known as “sexting”. But teens also love Snapchat because it allows them to send inane photos of themselves without fear of leaving a permanent digital footprint.The California-based app is seen as so hot, with so much potential for growth, that it has already been pegged with a $2-$4bn valuation in the Silicon Valley tech community. Estimates are even higher for WhatsApp, which makes money through an annual subscription; some observers suggest it could be worth $5bn or more.

The final, big reason why young people are gravitating towards messaging apps is that many of these apps no longer do just messaging. They are social networks. The best examples come out of Asia, with messaging platforms KakaoTalk (South Korea), WeChat (China) and LINE (Japan). All have tens of millions of users, with WeChat boasting more than 200 million, and take their services beyond offering straight messaging to games, stickers and music sharing. Before you write off digital stickers as inane, they are a decent moneyspinner for LINE: of the $58m the company made in sales in the first quarter of 2013, half came from selling games and 30%, or roughly $17m, from sales of its 8,000 different stickers. Some are free or, in Spain where LINE has 15 million registered users, cost around €1.99. Often users choose stickers instead of words when they need to express themselves, one LINE executive said; it’s known to have helped couples get over fights more easily by offering multiple stickers to say sorry.

Read More: The Observer

STEM 2014 conference Call for Papers

The University of British Columbia is hosting the 3rd International STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education Conference on its Vancouver campus in July 2014.  The Call for Papers is posted below and the submission deadline is December 9, 2013.

We hope those of you engaged in STEM Education will submit a proposal to present: detailed information on the submission process is on the STEM 2014 website.  Your assistance in sharing the Call for Papers with colleagues and networks would be greatly appreciated.

CALL FOR PAPERS

STEM 2014 Conference | July 12-15
The University of British Columbia | Vancouver, Canada

STEM Education and Our Planet:
Making Connections Across Contexts

 The International Conference of STEM in Education is an opportunity for educators and researchers from schools, universities, colleges, businesses, industries and other private and public agencies to share and discuss their innovative practices and research initiatives that may advance STEM education.

The conference will create opportunities for sharing:

  • information and knowledge through keynote addresses from world leaders in STEM education, papers, poster presentations, panels, workshops, symposia, and innovative showcases;
  • effective STEM pedagogical practices and strategies in and across a variety of education settings;
  • the most contemporary STEM research initiatives and their outcomes;
  • professional development approaches for STEM educators in a range of educational contexts;
  • experiences and networking between participants from across the globe.

Join us in the summer of 2014 at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver.  Submit your proposal to present at the STEM 2014 Conference at stem2014.ubc.ca.  Call for Papers closes December 9, 2013.

We invite proposals from educators, academics, education officers, industry partners, graduate and undergraduate students for papers, poster presentations, panels, workshops, symposia, and innovative showcases.  Proposals will be peer reviewed, and are invited in any area related to the overall focus of the conference, including:

  • Innovation in STEM Research
  • Innovative Resources for STEM Education
  • Transformation in Educational Practices through STEM
  • Sustainability Education and STEM
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Popular Science Education
  • Life-long learning in STEM
  • STEM learning in and across formal and informal contexts
  • Curriculum Theory and Development in STEM
  • Educational Philosophy and Theory about STEM
  • Educational Policy, Leadership and Management for STEM
  • Rural Education and STEM
  • Special Education and STEM
  • Educational Technology in STEM
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development in STEM
  • Design and Technology Education
  • Science Fiction and STEM Education
  • Disasters and STEM Education
  • Other related STEM topics will also be considered

Presenters whose papers are accepted for the Conference will be invited to submit their full papers to be published in the peer-reviewed online STEM 2014 Conference Proceedings. Author guidelines are available on the conference website.

Video Gaming in the Classroom: Insights and Ideas from Teenage Students by Peter Halim

Peter and research participants in focus group

Congratulations to Peter Halim for successfully defending his thesis titled “Video Gaming in the Classroom: Insights and Ideas from Teenage Students”! Peter made the minor edits and closed his MA program, meaning that he will graduate in November. The thesis can be downloaded from the CIRCLE database.

Video Gaming in the Classroom: Insights and Ideas from Teenage Students

Peter Halim

For this research, four high school aged teenagers participated in an intensive one week video gaming camp, at which time they articulated their attitudes and ideas about mainstream video games and their place in education. The purpose was to explore strategies for utilizing mainstream commercial video games for educative purposes in the classroom. The participants’ insights along with observations made on their interaction with video games were analyzed through Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation and the General Aggression Model. In summary, the participants, more or less experts in gaming, enjoyed video games and described them as one of their favourite activities. Furthermore, it was found that video games played both a positive and negative role in the participants’ lives. For example, all participants seemed to have developed healthy values and relationships directly through playing video games during their pre-adolescent years. Conversely, their responses also indicated that they experienced limits to video games and did not see innovation from market and home to school as a smooth, trivial process. Rather, they provided key insights into aligning specific games with specific content, curriculum, and courses. The participants’ insights suggest that the use of mainstream video games for learning will most likely continue to be a fringe strategy implemented by individual teachers who actively discern the educational uses of video games. Game and gaming literacies are among the most recent entries into new literacies research. This thesis contributes to this research by exploring teenagers’ ideas about gaming in the classroom. In conclusion, this study finds that mainstream video games have potential to be effectively used as learning strategies in the classroom in the future pending on continued progress and interest in this endeavor.

Critical Mass September 28, 2007

Hi folks, critical mass was a great success this year. It was amazing fun! We went over almost every bridge attached to downtown, which was very satisfying. I felt like I was in a swarm during the ride. It is quite fascinating how the swarm moves. Sometimes individuals from the swarm stop at the intersections and in various necessary places along the way. Other members of the swarm thank those individuals for stopping. This stopping is called: blocking or corking. As the swarm moves, the stopped members are swept back up by the moving mass.

Critical Mass CM

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