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Connected –> Organized –> Disconnected

Image representing Netvibes as depicted in Cru...This post is about the idea that we have definitely moved into a connected society.  You cannot argue with statistics like these:

We had 845 million monthly active users at the end of December 2011.
Approximately 80% of our monthly active users are outside the U.S. and Canada.
We had 483 million daily active users on average in December 2011.
We had more than 425 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products in December 2011.
Facebook is available in more than 70 languages. (Facebook, 2012)

What does this mean for learners, or better yet for facilitators and parents of those learners?
I see two things that people need to focus on learning now that we are so connected.  The first is organization and discerning between good and bad sources.  The second is working towards systematic and non-systematic disconnection.

With the first idea that we need to work towards organization of all of the information that is bombarding us, there are a few ideas that I can think of.  The first is using consolidating sites like iGoogle.com or preferably Netvibes.com.  I recommend Netvibes because it allows you to see all of your emails, your website.

You can direct the content to this feed so that you don’t miss what any of your favorite website are talking about.  I cannot speak about whether iGoogle has this feature, but this in itself is one reason that I would recommend the competition.  Both of the platforms are completely customizable and are simple to use with a drag and drop user interface.es, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more, plus it allows you to have notes and to-do lists for yourself.  This is the same as iGoogle, but it also allow for you to have your RSS feeds, and view them as email, so you know which ones you have read and which ones you haven’t.  In case you don’t know what an RSS feed is, it can be a blog or website that updates.

The green space A at top is even simply connec...

The second idea is about moving away from connectedness to a disconnected time period.  As Mark Prensky (2001) coined it, students today are digital natives, which means they have always had computers and the ability to access the internet for every answer, query, or need for connection with ‘friends’.  The problem is that of ‘offline-edness’.  Mobile technology and the Edge has moved those with this technology to constant connection all the time.  Push notifications wake us up at night.  Smart phones, tablets, and laptops all receive and send a signal just about anywhere we are these days.  So how do we fight it?  And why?

First why?
Children need to be in nature.  They need to interact with one another in collaborative ways without using a computer.  They need to not be distracted by the tweet or email that was just sent through.  They need to sit down for dinner and have a conversation without a screen in front of them.  So do adult!

And how do we fight constant connectedness?
Parents need to limit the amount of time a child has on their device.  In doing so, they need to model this with their own limitation of the devices.  If they are at the dinner table, a rule needs to be that devices AND push notifications are turned off.  On vacations, there should be days where technology is left behind, or at least turned to airplane mode.  Parents should also put charging stations for devices in a central location, like the kitchen.  This may not be possible with many which charge but are also used to amplify the device with speakers or some other connection, but it is worth a consideration.

Schools need to have screen-free days or weeks.  This is the idea that EVERYONE in the school goes a day or week without using a computer or mobile device.  Everything is turned off and left at home or in lockers.  If people need to send an email, they do what people did in the old days, they send their messenger, I mean walk down the hall and talk with that person face-to-face.  It’s not a novel idea.  I heard about it years ago from Jeff Utecht, a technology integration specialist of all people, who was promoting the non-use of technology.

This is something we need to concern ourselves with.  We need to get back to the roots, and I don’t just mean them figuratively.  I mean we need to get back out into nature and climb a tree…or at least lay under one and watch the clouds.

References
Facebook. (2012). NewRoom. Retrieved March 11, 2012, from Facebook: http://newsroom.fb.com/content/default.aspx?NewsAreaId=22

Prensky, M. (2001, October). Digital Natives Digital Immigrants. Retrieved October 23, 2011, from MarkPrensky.com: http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

 

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Technology Integration Specialist – job descriptions

International Conference for the Integration o...

As a technology integration specialist (TIS) my job description is all over the place.  I was in a meeting today where the principal of the school, who has been doing interviews with teachers to find their needs, has come to the conclusion that teachers have very specific needs, and so do their classes.  I agree and am glad he gathered this evidence to support what I was thinking.

What does this mean then for a TIS?

The first thing that it seems to mean is communication is needed on the part of the TIS.  As a TIS, we need to explain:  What is it that we are doing?  Where are we?  How can we be contacted or booked?  What types of things can we bring to the class?  What types of systems are we putting in to place? and the list goes on…

What kinds of strategies can we put into place?

  • Walking from classroom to classroom – trying to drop in to the classrooms that have the computers out with their kids.  And dropping in to the classrooms where SMARTboards are being used…or dropping in to classrooms where no tech is being offered, to get a sense of the units.
  • Being available at certain times in specific locations – this could rotate through the week.  For example, Week 1: Mon – Fri 12:30 – 1:00 in an available room, like a Science room or computer lab, Week 2: Mon – Fri 9:00 – 9:30 in an available room, and so on.
  • Offering as much PD as possible – lunches, after school.
  • Being at everyone’s beck and call – Offering phone numbers to teachers who can call when it is necessary to come down to trouble shoot a problem.
  • Offering kids available times to meet – lunches or after school should suffice.
  • Designing new policies – For example, Facebook and online social policies.
  • Setting up infrastructures.  For example, Google Docs and Dropbox for communication and collaboration, Netvibes for organizing life, booking systems, saving and cloud systems, infrastructures for instruction online and more.
  • Tweeting great sites and strategies.
  • Blogging about what we are doing.
  • Creating websites or resources for teachers who need it.
  • Researching and learning about all the latest trends or immediate tech that is necessary.
  • Being friendly and approachable by everyone.

But is this enough?

As a TIS, this probably means that many hats are to be worn.  For example, TISers might be on committees about websites, or technology in general.  They might be trying to do overarching projects, like developing larger PD or workshops, or building community relations with other schools and their tech and media departments.  They might be inundated with emails every day, but it is their job to set an example, to reply to each and every question, query, statement, request, reply, and quandary.

They should realize they are lucky. This is because they have the opportunity to continually better themselves while they are helping others.  In walking into every classroom, they get to see what other teachers and classes are doing and glean or appropriate (read: steal) ideas from their coworkers and friends.  Because of this, they are continually learning and growing and able to offer more to their fellow workers and student body.

As a TIS, its great to be loved and needed.  It is just too bad there aren’t more ways we can split our time or add more hours to the day.  I am sure as an educator or a human I am not the only one who feels this, but it would be great.  Maybe this is one more system we need to design. 🙂

 
 

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Your search results are different than others: Important to know

Attention:  

Did you know that Facebook and Google were filtering the results you get?  It’s true.  This means that results you get may be completely different from results that your friends, your neighbors, your adversaries, people of different ages, different demographics, different locales and countries get.  This is a scary thought to me.

Essentially what is happening: If I am a right-wing or left-wing person who only searches for right-wing or left-wing ideas, this is what I will find.  This is what will be presented to me.  This is what is reinforced in me as: Truth.  I take that idea back that ‘this is scary to me’ and want to replace it with: THIS IS TERRIFYING TO ME!!

Proof:

Watch this video to understand more:

Strategy:

I am not going to repost this post from The Filter Bubble, but they explain main ideas for how to combat search result filtering:

  1. Burn your cookies.
  2. Erase your web history.
  3. Tell Facebook to keep your data private.
  4. Hide your birthday.
  5. Turn off targeted ads, and tell the stalking sneakers to buzz off.
  6. Go incognito.
  7. Or better yet, go anonymous.
  8. Depersonalize your browser.
  9. Tell Google and Facebook to make it easier to see and control your filters.
  10. Tell Congress you care.

I would add:

  • Compare friend results – like you saw in the video
  • Network through places like Twitter around the world and ask to compare results from people outside of your sphere of thinking – Try to think what you search for and like and choose the opposite #tag instead – for example, if you are a Republican and always search #Republican, try #Democrat instead, and vice versa.  If you search #Vanilla, try #Chocolate.  Connect with new people from the other side of your views, your searches, and your beliefs.
  • Start searching things you don’t normally search – Try to trick these algorithms. (I don’t know if this is possible, but it’s worth a try)
Taylor made is good, but not always.  I hope you take action to see what you might be missing.
 
 

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Stop Cyber-bullying Now!

Attention: 

STOP CYBER-BULLYING NOW!

The following video shows a glimpse of what some of the worst outcomes are from cyber-bullying:

Proof:

How many people are getting cyber bullied a year?

Bullying statistics 2010:

New bullying statistics for 2010 revealed about one in seven students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade is either a bully or has been a victim of bullying. Sometimes a teen or child who has been bullied eventually becomes the bully as a way to retaliate. In fact, revenge for bullying is one of the strongest motivations for school shootings, according to recent bullying statistics. A reported 61 percent of students said they believe students shoot others at school because they have been victims of physical violence at home or at school. This is a true indicator that bullying can occur in all forms by other students, children, teens as well as adults. According to various bullying studies, many teens and children act out violently on their peers through acts of bullying because they are abused at home.

Other bullying statistics:

  • Over half, about 56 percent, of all students have witnesses a bullying crime take place while at school.
  • A reported 15 percent of all students who don’t show up for school report it to being out of fear of being bullied while at school.
  • There are about 71 percent of students that report bullying as an on-going problem.
  • Along that same vein, about one out of every 10 students drops out or changes schools because of repeated bullying.
  • One out of every 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.
  • Some of the top years for bullying include 4th through 8th graders in which 90 percent were reported as victims of some kind of bullying.
  • Other recent bullying statistics reveal that 54 percent of students reported that witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school.
  • Among students of all ages, homicide perpetrators were found to be twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied previously by their peers.
  • There are about 282,000 students that are reportedly attacked in high schools throughout the nation each month.

Bullycide statistics:

Suicide continues to be one of the leading causes of death among children under the age of 14. Bullycide is a term used to describe suicide as the result of bullying. New bullying statistics 2010 are reporting that there is a strong connection between bullying, being bullied and suicide, according to a new study from the Yale School of Medicine. Suicide rates are continuing to grow among adolescents, and have grown more than 50 percent in the past 30 years.

bullystatistics.org

Strategy:

  • Think about online safety.
  • If you are a student, kid or teen, watch these videos.  Think about yourself and how someone has effected you or how you are effecting someone.  If you need to:

Tell someone.

  • If you are a teacher or parent, start by showing and talking to kids about any of the following videos:

Anti-Cyber-Bullying

Cyber-Bullying Talent Show – You wouldn’t say this in person

Do you really know who you are talking to?

Bulletin Board – Once you put it in Cyber-Space, it is always there

Be careful what you post.  You never know who is going to see it

Sweety High – Straight talk about Cyber-Bullying

Anyone can seem like a different person Online – Brad Paisley

Consequences of Cyber-Bullying

Internet Stranger – Possible Case Scenarios

Read more about cyber-bullying.

 
 

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