School’s out Friday

George Couras sent our a tweet this week to this Google Chrome video. It’s the embodiment of what the Web allows; the crowdsourcing of material inspired by someone who has the ability to inspire and motivate people to create content. In this case it’s Lady Gaga, someone who understands that you don’t need record companies to spend millions of dollars promoting your material now. If you’re smart, you engage your audience, you talk to them through channels of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and you make them feel like they matter to you. Your fans feel like they have a personal connection to you, and they promote your product and make you a superstar in the process. Lady Gaga gets this. So does Justin Beiber, and from the Black Eyed Peas. If you’re an aspiring musician, you better start understanding how social media works, because if you’re going to make it big, you need to find and talk to your audience, and get them to do the promotion that record companies did in the past.

How clever of Google to link with Lady Gaga to promote their products. They are a company working very hard right now to crowdsource users to promote Google+, their new social network going up against the monolith that is Facebook. I wrote a post earlier this week talking of how I don’t think I can manage another social network. It took all of two days for me to succumb to the lure of Google+.

Pathetic, isn’t it.

I still don’t think there is room in my life for another social network, but I have to say there are some things about Google+ that I do like. The circles feature, where you group people into categories, is something I like. You can post content in your stream to specific circles and I like the perceived element of control that appears to come with that. I tried out Google Hangouts with a group including Joyce Valenza, Judy O’Connell, Cathy Jo Nelson, Linda Nitsche, Rob Darrow and Chris Betcher the other morning(see screenshot below). It worked really seamlessly. We could all see and hear one another – there was very little lag and you could conduct a conversation just like you were hanging out with this group in any social setting. No-one had to pick up the microphone like you do in Elluminate; it was a much more natural experience. There are so many possibilities here for education. If you can create circles for specific groups of students, you eliminate the problems that come with sharing content across all of your social groupings. Can you imagine end of year revision before VCE exams taking place in a Google hangout? I can. At the moment, there is no ability to upload a presentation or share a screen, and it’s limited to 10 people. If they work on it though, this presents a real challenge to a company like Blackboard that recently acquired Elluminate.

Thank goodness Google released Google+ while we are on school holidays here in Australia. It’s given me a bit of room to play. Next Wednesday, I leave for Port Douglas with my family on a much needed holiday. While I have no doubt I will check into my networks, I intend to do the right thing by my husband and kids and focus on them. There may not even be a School’s out Friday posting next week!

(And just for a bit of sheer indulgence, take a look at Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera singing ‘Moves like Jagger’, my favourite song right now.)

Have a great weekend. I’ll try not to play too much with Google+!

School’s out Friday

Some Christmas lights for Christmas Day. Another person out there who’s put The Black Eyed Pea’s, ‘I’ve gotta feeling’, to good use.

I’ve sat through two Christmas dinners today, one of which I cooked. I think you can probably guess from this that I’m full to pussy’s bow. That’s something my Mother often says, and yes, those words were uttered today!

I hope all of you who read this blog have a wonderful Christmas and New Year with family and friends. : ) has it worked out -time for school to catch up.

Today I found myself reading a newspaper. An unusual event for me.  These days my access to news is usually via my computer.  I was in a coffee shop with no computer in sight so the newspaper was it.  There was a double page spread about The Black Eyed Peas and included was an interview with, frontman for the group.

Interestingly, had quite a bit to say about use of the internet and its importance to the record industry today. Much of it has relevance for education and the way we can be teaching our students to harness it to make meaningful connections. Here’s a bit of what he had to say;

   “I was telling my record company ‘It’s all about the internet’ and they were saying ‘No, that’s piracy, we’re suing those people’ and I said ‘No, that’s what you need to do, put the song on the internet’.  They wouldn’t listen. So I executed all the things I was talking about with Yes we can.”

The celebrity heavy video for’s Obama ode Yes we can clocked up three million online views in a week. went on to say;

“It’s about connecting people, giving them tools  to connect, if it’s a song or a blog or a sketch or a speech you’ve turned into a song. As long as they’re passing it around. We did that with Boom Boom Pow.  That was leaked, it was all over the net, DJs played it, radio stations found it. I learned a lot from that solo record. It taught me a lot. We wouldn’t be here had I not gone through that.”    

Boom Boom Pow has had 11,346,947 views on the official Black Eyed Peas channel on YouTube.

(Interestingly, in the same paper appeared a report that an Australian retail store, JB Hifi, has made the decision to stop the sale of CD singles. I can’t remember the exact details, but it was something like only 340 singles were sold in stores of the number one single in the last week. By contrast, it was downloaded over 13,000 times in the same period of time.)  

As educators, we need to be paying attention to what has to say. Who knows? We may just have the next big thing sitting in one of our classrooms.  And even if we don’t, shouldn’t we be imparting this kind of knowledge along to all of the students we teach? Let them showcase what they do, share it around, give them an audience. Who knows where it might take them and the meaningful connections they may make in the process?   

Given the success of The Black Eyed Peas latest release I’d say they’ve figured it out. Time for school to catch up.   

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