Starting Up An Online Pa’Troll’ing Unit!

Remember when the term “Troll” meant that you were getting a cool little toy with bulging beautiful eyes, gnarly, unkempt hair with a gem bellybutton? Those were the days… You could see them on dashboards in cars, in your friend’s bedrooms, and at times lined up at a Bingo Hall for “good luck”!

Photo Credit: KalinAyn Photo

“Troll” has turned into a term for people who hide behind their computer screens verbally abusing others on social media outlets.

After reading different articles about trolls, I was shocked at how women are pretty much the sole target. This makes the internet a dark place for females who are trying to network through connectivity, a prime example is found in Katia’s blog post about her experience with a number of trolls on twitter. Threats and constant hatred in comments to blogs, posts, and tweets becomes a matter of personal safety. We need to find ways to cope with this type of bigotry, the best that I have found is by just ignoring the troll…do not respond! It is a difficult thing to do though sometimes, and Matt Rozsa outlines this well in his article.

Jon Oliver shows just how bad it can be for some females that utilize the internet that are targeted by trolls in his video found here.

When I think about some of the hate that is posted by trolls I wonder if it would be a god idea to have an online Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Should there not be some sort of punishment for degrading slanderous posts? The internet can be a great universe filled with unlimited tools and we should not have to deal with this kind of abuse. If we have laws against acting this way in person, why are there minor consequences for the same actions online?

Some questions to think about, that still baffle my mind!

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The Vlog Driver’s Waltz

The title for this blog post is a tribute to The Log Driver’s Waltz which is a Canadian treasure when it comes to commercials. If you have not seen it check it out NOW below!

Now that our free time has virtually run out on SoundCloud, Lance and I have decided to try a change in format and website host.


YouTube has been a major video sharing outlet for years. Lance and I have never really dabbled in posting videos before so we thought that this would be a great opportunity to expand out learning and try a new format….Vlogging. We want it to be much like what our podcast has been in the past the only real difference, you can see us.

In our first vlog attempt we used iMovie on Mac to record. First we had to figure out how to use this program so I found a couple of videos that helped quite a bit.

After watching the first video I still felt fairly overwhelmed because, although it was thorough, it covered too much too quickly. We just needed to know the basics so I found another that was much more helpful.

This one covered the basics, it was easy to follow, not overwhelming and showed the simple process of creating a new project, recording utilizing the webcam, how to take footage and insert it into your movie, and finally how to export the final product.

When we went to post the final product to YouTube we were notified that we could only submit 10 minutes at a time….ugh, we had almost 30 minutes worth of footage. So we found another helpful Youtube video that took us through how to verify our accounts therefore giving us the freedom to post longer videos.

Finally, without further ado, our very first, rough, vlog!!! Please enjoy!!!

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Free Internet and Children’s Identity Rights

Free the Internet

When I think about the amount of people who do not have the access to the internet I am a little bit bothered. Here is the ultimate source filled with almost and endless amount of knowledge and fun. I have had access to the internet probably since I was around twelve years old. I have access at work, home and in my pocket.

To think that there is a vast population of people in this world who do not have access is not all that mind numbing at all. Poverty is an issue in many cities and countries throughout the world and unfortunately this socioeconomic group will have a difficult time coming up with the extra funds to pay for a basic internet package, data plan or smart phone for that matter. This makes the internet difficult for this population of people to reach and take advantage of. is the start of something good for the previously stated population of people who do not have the cash to pay for the perks of the internet. Although there is a small amount of data that can be used and a limited amount of programs that can be taken advantage of, they can get a taste of what the internet has to offer.

This is an important step in the right direction especially when we talk about open education. If there was a way in which everyone could access the internet then they would be able to take advantage of all of the great educational tools that are available for free online.

Your Child’s Identity on the Internet Published by…..You?!

I am a father of two beautifully healthy and fun boys. My oldest is five and the youngest one. My wife and I are constantly taking photo’s documenting the time we have with these little dudes until they become too cool and we are set on their back burner to their social lives. I love posting some of these photos to my Facebook and Instagram pages. I am very selective in this process because I do not want to make my future 17 year old and future 13 year old resent the choices I made to post said pictures on my accounts.

Below are a couple examples of pictures I have posted to my social media outlets that have included my boys. The only thing my five year old might be irritated by is the fact that he is twinning Art Garfunkel…

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I also think it is important to be careful about what you are sharing in you Facebook status updates when talking about your children. KJ Dell’antonia’s article, Don’t Post About Me on Social Media, Children Say, tells about how children feel about their parents posting about them online. I found this article very intriguing because I am a parent. The bottom line for me though is we as parents need to treat our children as humans and protect their identities and dignity from being plagued by us on social media. They are humans not pets. The best possible thing to think of when posting about your kids is, will they want to see this when they are 10, 13, 16, or 19? Especially since those are some pretty fragile years in their life and everything is magnified in their eyes. We as Parents just need to be careful and considerate of our children and their future selves.

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The Devils Advocate

Is technology always utilized positively in the class?

In our latest episode of Education Tech we discuss this with High School teacher Danielle Bauche-Williams the speed bumps that we encounter when we incorporate technology in the classroom. (I linked to a reflection blog she had done for ECMP in 2009 because she is not active on twitter or any other social media outlet, other than Facebook.)

What seems to be the biggest distractions in her class when utilizing these avenues is SnapChat. When she asked her students approximately how many “snaps” they send in a day they answered easily 250-500 with a couple sending 1,000. This is mind numbingly crazy to me! They are using it in the place of texting and it is so bad that the school has implemented suspensions because of it. This is obviously a big problem when letting students utilize their own devices.

Photo Credit: thenewsin3

How can we monitor student activity on devices in a class of 25-35 students? This is one of the difficult questions that needs to be asked when looking at implementing tech in the classroom. I think this is the biggest struggle we face as educators who are trying to implement tech based learning.

In order for us as teachers to help our students make their digital footprints we need to help them learn about effective usage of time and technology. With the major concept and practice of open education there is a wealth of information and resources online, at their fingertips and we need to try to facilitate effective learning environments when we are giving students time to search, inquire, and further their education with the use of the internet.

It is great to implement technology into the classroom but we, as teacher, need to be hypersensitive to what our students are doing when they are given this time on computers and devices.

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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.

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… my internet provider! Next step, FREE INTERNET for ALL!!

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