As I was in the Happy Valley watching my niece graduate yesterday, I did, in fact, feel happy for her. I thought about how she must be satisfied with the effort she’s put forth and excited for her future. As she sets off for a contracted five year assistantship at U.C.S.D. to work toward her doctorate and conduct cancer research, it’s good to know that her cousins will be able to keep in touch with her through social media. And while social media will connect her personal world, I believe her professional learning community will grow exponentially. Shirley Malcom, the commencement speaker, said she runs into PSU alumnae throughout the world as she travels with work and service. It is likely that my niece will likewise become more Networked on and offline over the next few years.
As a mother, sitting with my three children during the graduation ceremony, I was grateful for the portable technology and wifi. I had given my two youngest children my iPad and they moved quietly between taking pictures and video of the ceremony, to playing Flow, to sharing ear buds and watching Duck Dynasty (oi vay!). With little encouragement, they took pictures when their cousin’s name was called and captured her as she walked across the stage. The technology allowed them to document, share, and be entertained in ways that brought peace not only to them but also to the adults around them. I thought of Turkle’s Alone Together. There were times we were alone together and that was perfectly okay.