Revisiting the Digital Footprint message

Today, I delivered a presentation to our Year 11 students about how they conduct themselves in online spaces, to ensure their safety and to cultivate a positive digital footprint. I delivered a similar presentation to this same cohort in May last year, and I thought I might be flogging a dead horse. I was wrong.

They listened intently, asked serious and thoughtful questions, and even provided examples themselves of people who had had reputations damaged due to poor understanding of the magnification of information shared in social networks today. I thought I’d fall short with information and have to fill time, but I was struggling to get through what I wanted to cover.

One of the things I wanted to cover was Facebook’s places feature. My guess would be that the majority of them weren’t using it, and had no idea that their friends could check them into locations unless they disabled the feature in their privacy settings. I used the following lifehacker video to demonstrate what they needed to do in Facebook to opt out of the feature. It helped me too. I lead a very transparent life, but I don’t want to use the places feature and I don’t want to be checked into places by friends in my network. It’s not a straightforward process. You have to find the customise button and find the page where the settings need changing. The lifehacker video explained it very clearly and I followed those instructions to meet my requirements. The students watched it intently, and it’s my guess a number of them will be looking at their privacy settings tonight.

It was nice to receive words of thanks and a round of applause at the end of the session. It’s made it very clear to me that these messages need repeating and reinforcement in our teaching practices.

Toorak Continuous Professional Learning Seminar

I work at Toorak College, an all girls’ school in Mt.Eliza. One of the initiatives being driven here at the moment is the growth of a professional learning network for both the teachers within our school, and those further afield.

Continuous Professional Learning is an online network for our teachers (powered by Ning), and other teachers who are keen to join and share their insights about issues related to our profession. Coupled with this is a series of seminar workshops that will be run at Toorak College throughout the year. The first of these sessions is being run by yours truly (that would be me!).  Toorak College is an hour from central Melbourne, and we are hoping to provide educators from the South Eastern suburbs with professional learning opportunities closer to home. If you are a teacher from Melbourne, and know some teachers who would benefit from the workshop I am offering, please direct them to the site and download the flyer.

Sounds like a bit of an ad really, doesn’t it? It’s a departure from what I usually post about, but it is an exciting development at my school and I am hopeful that anyone who chooses to attend my workshop will leave with more knowledge than they started with! Hopefully they’ll have some strategies for their own personal learning and how they make it happen in their classrooms.

If you want to explore the CPL community, join the site and share your ideas. We’d welcome your presence. : )

Digital trends to watch

Steve Rubel and David Armano put together this presentation that they then shared on Slideshare. It’s designed for business, but if you look at it with your education hat on, you will see there are lessons here for how we approach the use of mobile devices and tablets, how we support the thought leaders who are trying to make change happen, and how we use social tools and transmedia to make connections with our parent and wider teacher communities.

Looking outside the education sphere and listening to how business is responding to the way the world works now, is one way to further your understanding of digital media. We send our students out into that world of work; listening to what it thinks is important is a way to help us prepare them for what they will face when they get there.


School’s out Friday

I saw “I’m reading a book” tweeted by Kim Yeomans yesterday and thought it would make the perfect School’s out Friday post. I sent it to a teacher who was looking for a way to motivate her Exploring English class today and she used it with them. They loved it, and recognised Julian Smith from some of the other 59 videos he has posted to YouTube. My son watched it with me last night and asked if it was a Top 40 song! It’s certainly got appeal.

Just for an extra treat, being the end of the first week back and all, I thought I’d share another video with you. This one was sent to me by my good friend Tania Sheko, and it’s the latest improveverywhere mission. This time it’s an ice skater in New York’s Bryant Park. I walked through Bryant Park last year as they were dismantling this ice rink for the season. It’s a lovely park situated behind the New York Public Library if you ever get the opportunity to visit.

Ahhh…..the end of a busy week. A week that saw our students embrace their new library space, something I’ll try to post about over the weekend. A week that saw my son start high school, a week that saw a new stage of life for him, and me too. All up, exhausting. Time for bed.

Enjoy the weekend ahead. Relax, and drink a glass or two of the good stuff. We all need it. ( I do, anyway!)   🙂


When Twitter comes into its own…

Unfortunately, an impending disaster is sometimes the impetus for naysayers to see the worth of a service like Twitter.

The hashtag being used on Twitter to track the tweets referring to Tropical Cyclone Yasi is #tcyasi. I’ve been following this hashtag today, and as the cyclone gets closer to the east coast of Far North Queensland, I am receiving more pertinent information there than what I am getting from news organisations like Channel 7 and their very sensationalist Today Tonight program. I, like many others on Twitter, was horrified to see Today Tonight using a countdown clock in the top right hand corner of the screen as they broadcast their program tonight. This is a potentially devastating climactic event, not the Olympic games.

Yes, sometimes you have to put up with some inappropriate language and some irrelevant tweets, but following a hashtag to find out  what people are sharing about something like Tropical Cyclone Yasi is one of the most effective ways I know of keeping up to date with what is really happening from a citizen journalist perspective, and from a traditional news media perspective, as evidenced from the ABC_NewsRadio tweet above.

Right now #tcyasi is a trending twitter hastag worldwide. This gives you some indication as to the number of tweets on the twitter timeline using this hashtag. I’ll be following tonight and in the coming days. You should too. As much as I hate to see something as devastating as this convert people to the benefits of a service like Twitter, it’s more likely to be the catalyst for adoption than any attempts Twitter users can make to convince people of its worth.