Our Digital Lives As Resumes

When I post to my social media accounts I have to think of a number of different things before I do so. I need to be careful.

I need to look at how postings effect my identity, I am not just posting items to my various social media walls for my friends to see. There are a number of different people that visit my social media outlets: friends, family (including my Grandmother), co-workers, and I would not be surprised if my employer took a gander the odd time. When I post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter everyone I am friends with can see ME. They know what is happening with my family, vacations, struggles (at times), photos, comments, videos, you name it.

I do have a couple questions I ask myself before I post anything on my accounts:

Would an employer frown upon this?
What would my family think?
Will people get the joke? If it is meant to be funny.
Am I breaking the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
How does this make me look? Smart, fun, ignorant, well/ill informed, professional, the list goes on…..

Bonnie Stewart’s blog she states : “Social media is where we are deciding who we are, not just as individual digital identities but AS A PEOPLE, A SOCIETY.”

I agree with her, she makes some great points, and we need to all look at how we are contributing as a person to our society online.

When we post to the various sites that are highlighting who we are in the cyber-world I think it is necessary to ask the aforementioned questions. Can a guy still have fun on social media? Of course we just need to be calculated and professional when we post.

Our Online Identity as a Resume

In the article written by Kristin Rushowy entitled Forget the resume: Online profiles the tool of young job seekers, Rushowy talks about how resumes are becoming obsolete. Sure they are a good thing for a future employer to look at but what they can see online has a lot more truth about who you are as a future employee and if they see you as a good fit.

I got thinking about this and it made complete sense. We utilize online professional accounts already as professionals such as LinkedIn creating connections with various professionals. This is one of the many reasons we need to teach students about the importance of being a positive digital citizen. Resumes are slowly going the way of the pager, cassette, VHS, land-line, and Discman. We therefore need to learn how to market ourselves in a positive light online.

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Photo Credit: Emma Farrer

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Sit…. Stay…. Facilitate Learning, Good Dog!

In our latest podcast Lance and I had the opportunity to interview Laurie-Ann Martin, an administrator at Ecole White City School. I was really excited to dive into the mind of an administrator and find out where she stood when it came to utilizing technology in the classroom. This was my first time meeting Laurie-Ann and we had a lot of fun and great dialogue about tech in the class.

This was an interesting podcast for me because I want to know how administrators feel about the use of personal learning devices and students being online for periods at a time. The interview did not disappoint, in fact I was quite happy with the product Lance and I put out this week. Not only did Laurie-Ann support the tech in education movement she is trying to get her teachers to use it more in their classes because that is where we are headed in the 21st century. She is a firm believer that we need to help our students and give them the tools necessary to find information and the networks online that they need in order to become successful in their education.

As an educator who is starting to implement technology more in my classroom I am finding it much easier to manage the work load I have at the end of the day. I no longer have to leave the school with buckets of papers at the end of the day looking like I had just been fired. I have all that I need stored on my computer, student produced work that has been shared with me. Life as a teacher is way more manageable now than it ever has been and that is because of technology. We just need to embrace this shift in our teaching ways….

Easier said than done? Not the case!

I have had countless conversations with teachers in the back half of their long careers as teachers about using tech in the class. The bottom line is that they are too intimidated OR struggle immensely when it comes to giving up control and becoming facilitators for learning. Can we teach Old Yeller new trick? I think we can but it would be a bit backwards in their minds and they would need to be open to my idea.

What if schools paired hesitant teachers (2-3) with a teacher fluent in the language of technology? We could help facilitate their learning and teaching styles and show them just how easy it can be to utilize tech in the classroom. This does not mean that they need to ditch everything that they have done throughout their careers that has been successful, no! They will now have different avenues in which they will be able to adapt their past knowledge and lessons with a technological twist. They won’t have to spout out facts, they can hand those reins over to the ever able youth of tomorrow and let them utilize their curiosity and collaborate over what they find with their assistance and the use of technology.

I think we have the capability to enhance learning environments in our classrooms, we just need to be able to take a stand and actively try to implement all of the great and different capabilities that the internet and technology has to offer. This is the shift that should be exciting for teachers, students, and parents!

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Remixing The Internet

When looking at Creative Commons I immediately think of the things that have become popular among my students over the past four years of my teaching career. The first one is NFL bad lip reading, a compilation of NHL players having superimposed voices. Quite funny and in most cases hysterical.

The next is a Taylor Swift goat remix also very funny, there are a number of these goat remixes on YouTube!

After watching the Ted Talk by Larry Lessig it really affirmed my belief that 21st education is going in a digital/technological direction. This is an important concept for teachers in the 21st century to come to terms with and start integrating new and exciting technologies into their classrooms and teaching styles, in his talk he states:

Tools of creativity have become tools of speech, it is a literacy for this generation.
We need to be aware of the different ways students are utilizing technologies and how we might be able to hook them into the world of education through those avenues. If we become resistant to utilizing technology in our classrooms we will lose the interest of the majority of our students. It is important that if there is a collective buy-in among teaching professionals we will see a decrease in the amount of resistance seen in the student population.

Larry also talks about, “…taking and recreating using other people’s content and using digital technologies differently.” Students love to incorporate anything that has to do with pop culture into their education experience.

Last year I had a grade 7 student remix the pop hit by Nikki Minaj, Anaconda (I am not linking to the video because it is VERY suggestive). For a presentation he created a song called Mitochondria explaining how that part of a cell works. This was a student who rarely had his work done but was very capable. When he approached me and asked if he could create a sort of parody I though immediately, “Anything for you to buy in!” I allowed it and in his rendition he articulated through a remix of a pop culture hit how a mitochondria works…definitely a highlight in my teaching career thus far.

When thinking about the prospect of having everything on lock down and being unable to utilize certain creative outlets due to major restrictions we need to ask ourselves how are we doing anyone any favors? Creative commons helps to fix these issues ensuring that the user knows how the content may be used (all rights reserved, some rights reserved, etc.). It is important that we teach students how to honor these requests and give credit to artists and authors.

Thank You For Being a Friend

When I watched the documentary The Internet’s Own Boy I have to admit I was a little shocked by the amount of information that is not available for the public to access without paying for it. The documentary about the American hacker, Aaron Swartz, who started a revolution against payment enforced information that should be accessible for anyone was incredibly eye opening for me. Amy Singh’s latest blog posting highlights this very well. It is interesting how many different companies and schools keep their articles on lock down from the public eye without seeing some Benjamins! This is where I see the beauty of a class such as the one I am currently enrolled in, EC&I 831 at the University of Regina. Sure, I had to pay tuition to take the class but the real breath of fresh air was the fact that I did not have to purchase a $85-$150 text. All of our resources are accessible from one of the best resources out there today, the internet. This is where I have ultimately opened my eyes to the library that is available at my fingertips. Open education is becoming more prominent every year and it’s easily accessible for anyone. My hope is that major universities and colleges jump on the bandwagon and start to let their libraries freely available online for anyone wanting to learn.

…….I just realized I do kind of pay for my readings…..to my internet provider! Next step, FREE INTERNET for ALL!!

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Yik-Yak Paddy Wack Give a Dog a Bone!

How does one edit a podcast?

This was a question I had when our mic unplugged at 19 minutes on our latest episode. Lance and I had just completed a 30 minute recording and started playing back the last five minutes to see how it sounded and we got a repetitive sound back, “and said and said and said and said….” over and over. This was terrifying! We had just sat through a half hour of recording and it was all going down the drain. Before we deleted the post we went back further and noticed the sound chart changed, played it, and could breathe again. It stopped recording properly at 19 minutes…..Thank God, my parents, my family, and anyone else I would mention in my Oscar winning speech!

The issue here was how do we edit where the podcast started looping? I found a helpful video on YouTube that helped with this anxiety ridden moment.

At the 19 minute mark we made our split then started to record the last stretch of the podcast. When we had finished the first thing we did was check it again, we heard our voices and then we merged the two recordings together and had a completed podcast!

What was really a moment of scary proportions was when we were trying to figure out what dialogue we had missed recording. Thankfully Lance and I are fairly organized and had made some organized notes that we heavily relied and were able to re record the content that we had lost after the first time.

Resistance to Technology in the Class

What both of us did not expect in our respective classes was the resistance to use technology. In the podcast we go into this in detail but it was a shock to me that there was any resistance to begin with. This is a generation that constantly have their noses down and buried in their devices. Most of my students have embraced utilizing their devices for school work while others have come to me and said “Can I just write this on paper, Mr. Williams?” when this happened I was stunned…I thought I was making their education and lives better and easier. Ultimately if a student is comfortable using paper over tech it is okay so I do a bit of bargaining at this point. Using technology is a skill our students need now and for the future, computers are going no where soon and are always improving. Not only is it important to be able to write but it is important to learn to type as well. I let them know that this is an important skill and said they could write out their assignment on paper but for the next one they had to use the technology. They agreed and understood why it was important and why I was making a shift in the classroom in order to cut down on paper use. Although this particular student wanted to use paper, they understood how changes happen and slowly wanted to integrate it into their education.

Yik-Yak 

A topic I knew absolutely zero about are the social networks in the subtitle above. Upon further reading about said networks I became a little weary about the different technological avenues students could be heading down. Yik-Yak is a site in which you can post anonymously without a login which leads to a question I have for all of my readers: What good is a social media site that utilizes complete anonymity. For teens, kids and adults I think any media that has these perimeters is a bad idea. If someone needs to remain anonymous online, most times, they are up to no good. This is why it is incredibly important that we educate our future generation about online safety and positive online citizenship.

 

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Beating Yourself Up Online

I recently read an article that I found disturbing… It is titled Why Teenagers are ‘Self-trolling’ on websites like Reddit by Tanith Carey. This brought up the online conundrum of teens who are utilizing social outlets to cyber self-harm. Cyber self-harming is when someone creates another account from which they can bully a berate themselves. This shocked me, and raised a number of questions, but the main one is: Why on earth would anyone want to bully themselves?

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Photo Credit: vvdukov

I thought immediately of my kids when I read this article and it scared me. I have to say that when I was a teen I had a small community of friends. Technology was being utilized by my peers in the form of ICQ, MSN Messenger, and a couple others that escape me. I remember one in particular that I was apart of and would go on where you would post comments in a community with your “friends”. There were a number of different teens in the group so I thought it would be a neat and different experience to partake in. I posted a couple of times and immediately had posts that were slanderous and demeaning towards me…It made me feel unsettled because most of the comments came from screen names that I did not know, but knew it was someone I went to school with. Needless to say I had the mental strength to make the decision to never return to a space that was filled with people who were trying to break me down. I can only hope that my kids will have the strength to separate themselves from online negativity like that.

What is difficult to understand for me is why teens are posting negative things about themselves, to themselves from another username. The only real answer I can come up with is that they are trying to see who their “real” friends are or they are trying to find out if anyone else can see something good in them that they can’t see in themselves…

I know that, as a parent, I will always try to monitor my children’s online identities and have a dialogue about positive digital citizenship with them. But there is only so much I can do as a parent without suffocating their online independence. I will just have to trust that they will be comfortable talking with me about low self-esteem if they ever feel that way.

The article also brings up the issue of teens and pre-teens posting pictures of themselves to be roasted. This is an outlet that has been glorified by comedians and celebrities that is an unhealthy practice for anyone to be a part of. Being a teenager is a delicate time in many peoples lives and, for some of us, it was when we were the most fragile. We did things without really thinking about what the consequences might be and in an instance like this they can be harmful emotionally and mentally. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but word will never hurt me.” In some cases with teens words can be daggers and we need to educate these vulnerable voices of the future to really think about what they are posting on the internet and how it may affect them a day, week, month, or year down the road.

Normally I would have a humorous take on a reading each week. When I read this I felt uneasy, uncomfortable and sad. All I could think about were my two kids and how these things could easily happen to them….We need to start talking about POSITIVE digital citizenship at home and in our schools. We will not be able to help everyone but we can certainly try and it will help clean up the litter that is being posted on the web.

I managed to find another great cyber self-harm article Written by Denise Winterman that had some great quotes in it! You can access it here.

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Trending Social Media Becoming Nostalgic?!?!?

My class consists of 26 students, all of them are active on at least one form of social media. They all love technology, some are more savvy than others and the odd student is hesitant about moving from text to technology. I have started to take the leap from a text based learning environment to a technologically forward thinking inquiry based learning environment. I was interested in finding out what they were utilizing for social media outlets so as a part of our digital citizen unit we talked about what platforms they use, like, and dislike. We also touched on their favorite apps, length of time they utilize said apps, and why they are disengaged by others.

Facebook: I was surprised to find out that 11 of 23 of the students present this day use Facebook…..that is 48% of the class population. I was stunned! 7 of the users were female. Out of the 11, 7 of them visit their Facebook account daily. This social media outlet was the preference for 0 kids….Where are the kids of tomorrow going?

Snapchat: 15 of 23 kids have an account and are active users. 13 0f them are visiting their account daily and a WHOPPING 10 of 23 voted Snapchat as the social media outlet that they prefer! Snapchat was the winner in the preference category. Kids love it because you get moments from friends that are happening now as opposed to updates.

Instagram: 18 of 23 have accounts that they use on a regular basis. 14 of those kids check it daily, but it was only the preference of 2 of 23 kids. Definitely an app for the eye and creativity and that is what the users really liked about it.

Twitter: 13 of 23 have accounts. 7 of those use it daily and it tied Instagram for 2 preferences. I think this one is trickier for students because there is a whole language of hashtags and there are so many different people to follow and lets not forget trolls…..

YouTube: 23 of 23 use this outlet, not all of them have accounts but it was a 100% satisfactory vote from the class. 18 visit once daily, but it was only the preference for 7 students.

Kik: A messaging app that I have never used myself. 16 of 23 use it. 5 chat on it daily and it was the preference of only 2 students.

Messenger: The chatting off-shoot of Facebook had 11 of 23 students using it. 5 active daily and it was the preference of….no one….much like its father before it…..Facebook!

I took it upon myself to create a couple of different charts for you to look at with some of the data I had collected. The bar graph below shows what 23 students in my grade 7/8 class are using for social media outlets.

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This circle chart shows what students preferred social media out let is.

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Why the fallout from Facebook? My students agreed that everyone can see what you posted, among friends and family, and they didn’t want that. They realize that what they post stays on their page so there was hesitance about whether what they were posting was okay or frowned upon. They ultimately do not want to jeopardize their futures with funny photos that they could not remove. The biggest thing was anyone could comment and like what they post from acquaintance to friend to parents to grandparents, this is a fragile time in their lives and no matter how strong a person thinks they are….it is magnified when you are an adolescent. The class all agreed that they preferred to have one-on-one interactions with their peers on a platform in which what they are posting disappears. Felicity Duncan goes into depth about this in her article.

Throughout our lives we are going to see changes in trends from the economy to jean jackets to fany-packs and man-buns we have to come to grips with the idea that this  happens with social media too. My case and point: ICQ, Napster, MySpace, MSN Messenger, and pagers. We just all need to go with the flow and follow the experts of social media, the kids!

 

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Snap-Diddly-Chit-Chatter-Chat

What is all of the Snap-chit-chatter-chat all about? A question I have been thinking about for a while know. I was always of the mindset that it was an app that was being used for more provocative less productive social interactions.

After I finished a little reading on teens and social media, I started to gain a better understanding about why they are all utilizing Snapchat as opposed to Facebook for social media interactions. People are wanting more in the moment types of interactions with their friends, plain and simple.

Facebook is a great social media app where you can go to see what people have been up to over the past day…month….year….years. It is the ultimate timeline app that is a virtually a public diary/journal. It is a great way to keep up with friends and family that you would not see on a regular basis.

Why would a teen not want to use Facebook though? Family is on it….they do not want their grandmother to see what they are posting on a friends timeline. I am friends with my grandmother, mother, father, mother in-law, father in-law, etc., etc…. There are some postings I do not intend for them to read, comment on, or like and they are usually the first ones to. EVERYTHING is very PUBLIC on Facebook! This is where apps such as Messenger and Snapchat come into play. I know what messenger is all about, one on one conversation with anyone. But I had no Idea what Snapchat was utilized for. Here is a great Buzzfeed article that gives a good beginners tutorial about all of the Snapchat lingo.

A couple of days ago I decided to start an account on Snapchat. at first it was a bit of a chore trying to navigate around the app….but lets face it, what app isn’t at first?!?! I started by creating a username, ascottwilly, first step done. Then I took a picture and sent it to a buddy of mine, nothing to write home about really….. but then I found out how to have your face scanned and how to utilize the different graphic goofy features. Not only was I sucked in but I had a blast playing around with those settings with my 5 year old and my 1 year old. They especially liked the feature with the dog ears and nose and whenever they opened their mouth a huge tongue would come out and lick the screen. This was an example of the many different hilarious attributes available, and they update daily.  Another quality I especially like is that I can take a photo or video and send it to only the people I want to see it and it only lasts for 10 seconds and they have the ability to see it once more. It is the ultimate way to check in with a buddy and not have to broadcast it to a network of other friends and family. The last attribute I liked is your story where you can take a photo or video throughout your day and add it to your story. any of your friends can see them over a 24 hour period and then they disappear. Ultimately it is a great place to be creative and goofy and you can share these moments and messages with one person, a couple people or your network-you have a choice and people like that option.

Teens are interested in what people are doing NOW and they want a creative outlet in which they can communicate with anyone at the snap of a chat!

 

 

 

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