What are you revealing online?

Our class article Don’t Post About Me On Social Media Children Say, rang true to me for many reasons.  First and foremost, I know I’m not a child but… my dad just got Facebook and he really struggles. It is like a totally new social zone for him, doing tons of things that are some might say, off key. It’s the typical things, liking his own stuff, over “sharing” someone’s posts and posting totally unflattering pictures of his children (25 and 32). Although I guess by me writing about it, it is also sort of socially inappropriate. I think he will forgive me. Now onto the reading, children felt they didn’t want their parents posting about them online for a variety of reasons, whereas parents felt it was OK to post about their children. Even over the last decade, you can see a whole shift on what parents are posting about their children. This could even be seen through Humans of New York, microfashion. The bigger picture is definitely the children’s privacy rights, which would need to be a new post.

This article reminded me of the topic we’ve covered lately, what are you sharing online?

I started off by reading  What are you revealing online? Much more than you think and watched both of the TED Talks (see below). I was amazed when looking at language analysis- what could they find out about me via my social media identity? Am I the things I think I am, or are some other traits coming up more frequently? That would be so interesting to took at this in a Psychology class when you discuss personality (I think that is somewhere in the curriculum?). What are we contributing to these websites research without even knowing, I would say without our consent, but that wouldn’t necessarily be accurate. This absolutely reminded me of our reading last week on Maggie’s farm.

As I’m reading the article, I obviously stop on Take This Lollipop, now I encourage each and everyone of you to do that activity, or share with your students. I most definitely woke up at 4:40 am thinking about the horror. I don’t want to give you any hints….

Back to the TED Talks. I was astonished this the data collected by Target and that they sent a pregnant teen coupons before she told her parents she was expecting. This is a must see! It was definitely interesting looking at the curly fry phenomenon and that what we “like” is unrelated to the content, but to the attributes shared by others. Highly recommend!

You can find them both below:



Net-neutrality, is what?

This week’s set of readings provided me with a great deal of new learning. It kind of reminded me of the use of KWL in classes. Lots of teachers start off a unit or a class and ask these questions: What do you already know? What do you want to know? Then, what have you learned? Now there is a shift to using OWL and other methods to discuss these questions. The reason why I am mentioning this now is because this is a topic which for me is new, I had not a clue that net-neutrality (did or did not) exist. I hadn’t even considered a digital divide which was discussed in one of our readings this week.

John Oliver is correct; I hardly ever think about encryption. Actually, almost never. The only time I think about it when I am logging into banking or using WiFi while travelling. But, what an important piece to dialogue around. Should Apple unlock the phone of criminals to release information to the supervising authorities- that is the question. Although this example is fairly extreme, it would indeed set a precedent for all other police services on unlocking phones and searching for information. Apple has still continued to be cooperative as said in the video and has shared Cloud info. I don’t believe this battle is over nor will this have an “easy” answer.

John Oliver makes any topic engaging and educational, including Net Neutrality.

Initially when I started this video I was of the understanding it was regarding the sale of different internet speeds with service providers, then of course within 13 minutes I had a new understanding of Net Neutrality. I can understand that service providers are competing for clients (by fast speeds and great customer service), but I hadn’t considered the same for companies. The example discussed was Netflix and their ability to purchase faster internet speeds, where as smaller companies would not have that ability.Our next article on Why Net Neutrality Matters to Education was able to explain the implications for Education and what that means for our classrooms or learning in general. Again, the example provided was Netflix paying for better access for their clients and how that would negatively impact education in a variety of ways. The ways discussed was:

  1. Free/open source web tools
  2. Open source textbooks
  3. Wikis and other collaborative sites
  4. school libraries

I can understand why this would indeed put education at risk, but isn’t this already an issue to a degree? Working in a rural school, we have a certain bandwidth based on elementary/highschool and number of students. I don’t know if all schools in SK have similar restrictions or not. The internet is already slowed down when too many people are accessing it, or that we are encouraged not to use the internet during online streamed courses. Another reason why a gap still exists when it comes to technology is that all youth don’t own technology, have technology at home or are still using poor internet services. But, I suppose these still remain two different issues at hand. This ties in seamlessly with the article around bringing internet to the developing world, and doing so with Facebook. It was one giant, “hmmm…” for me when reading. Facebook wants to make their services free, but then it creates a gap between Facebook and other sites. It would directly benefit Facebook and not others. It remains that all parties involved continue to share a common goal: helping people. Would Facebook consider supporting free internet in general, not just their own website?

Looking at digital divide, I hadn’t explicitly considered “the poor” when it came to digital privacy rights. I had considered all people to have similar rights as individuals, where as perhaps corporations may have additional privacy.The argument placed in the article was logical, those individuals with a lower socio-economic status are at a greater disadvantage because of their purchased brand of technology, they may be unaware of their digital rights and they may be fearful of law enforcement. But, where do we go from here, is it unreasonable to want “an equal playing field” as mentioned in the article?

Inclusive Technology Prize Winners

If you had read my previous posts on the Nesta Inclusive Technology Prize, you will know that my sister and her colleagues were in the running for £50,000 to support with their new app.

The winner was announced today and AzuleJoe has won!

What is it?

Free software that helps give a voice to people with communication difficulties. AzuleJoe displays a set of icons that represent words, which a user can look through to find the word they want to express and, once selected, their device will say this word for them.

Photo of AzuleJoe software open on a tablet device.

How does it work?

AzuleJoe is the first open source assistive communication software that is free at the point of delivery.

The software enables users to generate Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices by uploading a pageset – a template for communication aids which users look through to choose the words they want to say. It offers the option to customise devices with personal stories and jokes. “You can store your whole life in a device,” says Joe.

AzuleJoe makes use of many other people’s APIs, giving greater flexibility than many other existing programs. And it can run on a variety of platforms, from iPads to laptops to Kindles, without a complex setup or installation.

All the code is online on GitHub and volunteers from around the world contribute to its development.

– See more at: http://www.nesta.org.uk/inclusive-technology-prize-finalists/azulejoe#sthash.NYkacabu.dpuf

AAC devices already exist across the world, but what makes AzuleJoe different is that it is free. I have been in contact with a few colleagues (Speech and Language Pathologists) around AAC technology here in Saskatchewan. I am interested to know if there is already free and well made programs already in existence.

I am very happy for AzuleJoe,  but if the greatest reason for their win is because it is accessible, does that demonstrate a higher degree of creativity and originality, or is it a outdated system which needs a general overhaul in accessbility? This reminds me of the dialogue around academic publishing, which is the way of the future?

As for How do I?, they may not have won *the* prize but they received a £15,000 Special Recognition Award. Congratulations!

Interview: collaboration, Social Workers and app development

Interview with Taryl Law (available here). Please enjoy my humor at the beginning of the conversation!

Taryl has her Bachelors in Social Work from the U of R. She has been now living in the UK for approximately 8 years. She was a great individual to interview and discuss the differences between schools in SK and her current school in London. We have had many conversations around collaboration and special education schools. She has also been working with a team to create an app to support young adults with lifeskill development. There is an interesting portion of the interview which discusses intellectual property of the app and who it “belongs” to.

Here are a few of the items we discussed in the interview:

  • Description of roles in schools in SK vs UK
  • Description of Swiss Cottage School for children with learning difficulties, emotional, behavioral and communication difficulties.
  • Examples of collaboration in her school
  • SW code of ethics, compare and contrast
  • Culture of collaboration experiences in schools
  • Switching gears: app development, legalities around the app creation, future plans.

How Do I app video below:

Here is what their website says about How do I?

HowDoI? is an interactive learning resource, primarily consisting of step-by-step lifeskill task videos, presented though a well designed and easy to use app activated by NFC tags. NFC stands for Near Field Communication and is the same technology used in contactless debit cards. Tags are placed strategically around a living space to link in situ learning opportunities with the related video, and it’s as easy as touching an NFC-enabled device to the brightly coloured HowDoI? tag. HowDoI? is currently available for Android.

For more information, find them on Facebook or Twitter!

Facebook: How Do I? Nfc Helps Me

Twitter: @NFCHelpsMe

Here is a fantastic video that describes the Inclusive Technology Prize:

Wondering about who they are up against in the Inclusive Technology Prize?Click here to view the 10 finalists.  The winner will be announced on March 17th, 2016 around 2:00pm London time.


30 Day Twitter Challenge

After reviewing my Midterm feedback, I know exactly where I need to improve. Some areas being more challenging than others. One area where I am going to start is my my Twitter presence. I looked online for a 30 day Twitter Challenge and found this one: #Middie30 Twitter Challenge

I’ve made some changes and this is what mine will look like. Anyone is welcome to join me!

*If you have any other suggestions please let me know!*


Send a tweet with your name, grade levels/subjects & school using a #____ (area of interest)
Reply to someone who used #____ in a tweet yesterday & introduce yourself.
RT one of your favourite followers
Follow 5 people
Go to tweetdeck.twitter.com & bookmark it in Chrome-Sign in using your Twitter account.
Add a column in Tweetdeck for #______
Share your favorite educational website/tool/resource by including link (http://…), short description & #eci831
Get familiar w/ all the edu Twitter chats & hashtags: bit.ly/officialchatlist
Add an edu Twitter chat or hashtag column to your Tweetdeck (click magnifying glass)- tweet which one you add & include
Quote a tweet (click RT and select ‘edit’ or ‘quote’) from your chosen edu hashtag
Send a tweet related to your chosen edu chat/hashtag – include that hashtag
Try one of these tweet-shortening tips in your next tweet: http://www.tutwow.com/tips/make-the-most-of-your-140-twitter-characters/.
Share a resource/idea you found from your chosen hashtag (skim Tweetdeck if needed).
Follow 5 other educators in your field/subject area you DON’T know. Find them here: https://twitter.com/Katie_M_Ritter/lists or Tweetdeck
Why do you love teaching? Tweet it with a pic #____
Share a tip for other teachers!
Talk to your classroom neighbor-see if they’re using Twitter, if not- encourage & help them start!
Share a photo, video or multimedia resource about something you’re learning about with #_____
Found someone great to follow on Twitter? Tell us who they are & tag them, Include #FF (follow Friday)
10 day home stretch! Take a break, relax, and enjoy!
Add 2-3 more columns in Tweetdeck from some edu hashtags that interest you (List here: https://docs.google.com/a/middletowncityschools.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AiftIdjCeWSXdDRLRzNsVktUUGJpRWJhdUlWLS1Genc#gid=0)
Participate (or observe) a Twitter chat this week! List of Chats: bit.ly/officialchatlist
Share one way you COULD use Twitter in class. Ideas here: http://www.universityreviewsonline.com/2005/10/50-ways-to-use-twitter-in-the-classroom.html
What new tech tool or site are you looking forward to using this year? Tell what it is, include link to more info
Share a great “Google” in the classroom resource, idea, or success story with us!
It’s that time again- time to share a great teaching resource/tool with #eci831
What are you reading & learning? Share link to blog post, article or book.
How will Twitter become a part of your PLN? http://www.edudemic.com/hashtags-lists-getting-pln/
Go back over challenge, what did you miss? Make it up today- Include missed day
Share something about your Twitter challenge experience. Perception changed? Knowledge gained? Ideas shared?

Conversation with a student

Last week, a student approached me that he had been reading my blog in Mr. Pollard’s class as they have been blogging. At first, my initial reaction (in the hallway) was, “that’s creepy!” Although, it absolutely wasn’t creepy. I was just caught off guard and didn’t think any of my students would  take the time and read my blog for *fun*. I should have been more appreciative and thanked him for reading and asked what intrueged him or where I could improve. So, student, if you are reading this, I thank you for taking the time to be engaged in my writing. I know you wish it was more like Mindy Lahiri, but I can only do what I can do! This incident reminds me of the article we read for class this week, Forget the resumé: Online profiles the tool of young job seekers, your presence online is absolutely your digital identity and you leave a digital footprint every click. As educators, we are mindful of what we are posting online and many of us hope to tailor our online identity to fit our beliefs about education or the world in general. I think it is absolutely fantastic for students to consider building an online portfolio, not in place of their resume but to coincide with their interests and plans for the future. Even on a personal level, I had registered with LinkedIn but hadn’t went very far.

In the news recently, NDP candidates have been dropped due to social media concerns. This demonstrates the need to be aware of your online identity and ensure it is a positive one.

Although these articles were about your own digital identity, what about those who manipulate others for their personal gain? In the articles: For JebBush.com, a Mystery Wrapped Inside a Domain Name and HOW TO: Land Your Dream Job Using Google AdWords, both parties/individuals manipulated others to advance themselves. While the Jeb Bush website redirect hasn’t been claimed by Donald Trump, it seems to be one example of how others can be fooled (shall we say?) online.

Maggie’s Digital Content Farm was an appreciated change of pace with our literature for the class. It prompted my thinking and reflection on the use of technology, personally or professionally. I can relate to the portion of writing where Audrey Watter’s describes online communities as “less friendly, etc and more short tempered and sharp tongued.” I believe many of our students can also agree with this statement. At times we hide behind the screen and will say things we may have otherwise put additional thought into. If anything, this article was thought provoking and I am happy to have read it.




Do we hold back children’s learning without even knowing?

Lawrence Lessig: Laws that choke creativity:

Although not as recent of a video, this video provides many relevant points. There is a comparision made between flying over land without the permission of land owners, previously this was a concern however as time passed, it was no longer relevant to modern day. If this was still the case, all flights would be breaking the law. The video shifts into discussing children and their love for what the do or produce. Kids are using media in different ways, such as remixing and inquiring into how technology works. This isn’t considered piracy, but a form of creativity. As Lawrence describes in the video “it’s not the technique that is important, but the ability to express something new. A few of my favourite portions were found at 12:30 and 17:58 referring to children and the implications for them.

open-access is the future: boycott locked-down academic journals provided an ‘uncensored’ view on academic publishing.  This was the first time I had ever read about academic publishing, therefore I do not have any background knowledge with regards to current trends or how this previously existed, aside from what the article described. It made sense to publish when it was a traditional model, and that paper was a logical way of distribution. From that, I can see why a shift in academic publishing is required. I can understand why tenured faculty could/should choose to post as open-access but I am still slightly conflicted for what that means for those new individuals who still want to receive tenure or haven’t been published yet. By becoming published, doesn’t that give one a sense of accomplishment in their given area? By being published in an open-access environment, does that change the accomplishment? She writes in the article to “publish what you can to get tenure, then stop” but, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of open-access? This was information overload for me!  Further reading: Six things that researchers need to know about open access

If you don’t already use Creative Commons to locate and use media, here is a brief description: Creative Commons- About. This is a mind shift for many students, as well as educators. But, it is critical for photo attribution.

Why Open Education Matters  discusses a global movement that brings quality education to all by making it available online. What are the pros? Here are a few, free license for teachers, able to revise, free to share and the Obama Administration is spending 2 billion on Open Education. Wondering more about the Obama plan for Open Ed? I was too, here are a few websites and articles I found useful: Open Government Initiative at EDWhite House takes another step in support for open educationFACT SHEET: Announcing New U.S. Open Government Commitments on the Third Anniversary of the Open Government Partnership. Although this was announced years ago and it would be interesting to review it’s progress and future plans.