Tag Archives: video

Now That’s PD!

EdCamp Hamilton
via David Carruthers @pluggedportable

What a fantastic end to a rough week. I had the opportunity to attend EdCamp Hamilton, coming off the back end of several heated discussions around the organization and attendance of a focus group held by Pearson last weekend. I had taken issue with the fact that some were unable to distinguish the difference between a conference and a focus group. Today, I stand somewhere in the middle.

My colleagues were at the Pearson session to share opinions about social media. They weren’t told exactly what Pearson was looking to gain from the meeting but I’m told by several attendees that it didn’t really matter since anytime Tweeps come together face to face, PD is happening. Fair enough. Members of this group have a high interest in advancing education into the 21st century and are well-meaning and forward-thinking people. Though I still take issue with the misguided use of the ontsm hashtag. It suggested that 50 educators were representing all Ontario teachers on the topic of social media. It also didn’t include Pearson’s company name in the hashtag. This led to the embarrassment of at least one colleague doing her best to smooth over the recent political turbulence with the public over education, tweeting how proud she was that Ontario educators were getting together over a weekend on their own time for PD. She did not know that this time, these teachers were being paid. Though I can’t go without mentioning that several of the same attendees of the focus group had paid for PD at the Google summit the week previously and showed up to the free edcamp event in Hamilton this weekend. Afterall, these are highly engaged teachers.

Edcamp felt like neutral ground. The uninhibited chance for everyone to freely post and select topics keeps current practice just that-CURRENT-with a capital “C”, and I thoroughly enjoy edcamp for that. The topics were also uninhibited by companies hawking their wares through sessions and trade show-like activities. Yes, there was some corporate sponsorship, but we’d be remiss if we failed to acknowledge that at least some money has to come from somewhere for an event like this. However, towards the end of the day, I overheard a publishing representative approach a colleague of mine asking for a meeting. It proves just how desperate these companies are to infiltrate the good things we have going on in education. Whether you view it as a goal to exploit teachers for profits or whether you chalk it up to simple recognition that we’re on to something big here, we’ll have to examine our relationships with publishers and educators. The line has become blurred between our meeting spaces.

I suggest that we need to take into account all the relationships that we have-with our employer, the college of teachers, our union, and our corporate suppliers. It’s time to revisit our contracts around ownership of our content in all arenas. Consider also whether you will take an open approach and use Creative Commons or whether you will go privately; corporate or as sole owner. So, the next time a company approaches you with a media release or some other sort of contract, what would it hurt to ask for it in advance and have it checked over by a board or union lawyer? Sometimes in our effort to be shift disturbers we push too hard, too fast without considering the agency of all parties. And above all, keep a critical eye open and remember that all media have commercial interests.

The Benefits of Social Media

An article on Mashable titled, “Facebook Makes You Smarter, While Twitter Makes You Dumber” caught my eye a couple of years back. Dr. Tracey Alloway of Stirling University was quoted as saying, “On Twitter you receive an endless stream of information, but it’s also very succinct. You don’t have to process that information. Your attention span is being reduced and you’re not engaging your brain and improving nerve connections.” Alloway studied youth and their use of Facebook and found that the social network platform actually increased their working memory and improved IQ scores. The study fascinated me. So, I hopped on a plane and went to visit her. Here is a video clip from the interview with Alloway talking about the benefits of engaging in online social networks.

The original news story on Dr. Alloway’s study from the UK Telgraph also mentions that excessive texting is associated with lower IQ scores.

 

Dealing With the Stress of Living in a High-Tech World

As school approaches, I’m reminding myself not to get thrown back into the chaos of being constantly plugged in. It has taken me two months to get back to paying single-focused attention to the events going on around me. In July, my idea of unwinding meant surfing the net and answering messages while watching TV. By the time I got to the cottage we rent every summer, I couldn’t even allow myself to just sit on the beach and enjoy watching my children, the waves, or absorb some sunshine. That’s even without a signal going to my cell phone. I had to read book after book, fiction and non-fiction, to focus my wandering mind. I took walks every morning and night to calm my nerves. By mid-August my heart palpitations had finally calmed down.

Now I look to another busy year of teaching Communications Technology to high school students and teacher candidates, working towards the paperless classroom, and continuing my research on teens and technology, and I know I must find good and efficient daily coping methods. While filming a documentary for my Masters I talked about stress and technology with Dr. David E. Meyer of the University of Michigan and with Linda Stone, former executive of Apple and Microsoft. I put together a short video on how stress builds and what it does to us, as well as coping methods.

Dealing With the Stress of Living in a High-Tech World
Dr. David E Meyer and Linda Stone

danah boyd and Social Media in the Classroom

Social Media in the classroom has become a hot issue in education. I’ve talked to several teachers who want to create opportunities for students to communicate using the same technological platforms teens have already grown accustomed to. I interviewed Microsoft Social Media Researcher and Harvard Fellow, danah boyd about how teens connect using social media and asked her to suggest some tips for teachers wanting to use these platforms. I also spoke with Educational Researcher Dr. Tracey Alloway from Stirling University in Scotland about the benefits of social media in Education including the building of working memory.

Interview with danah boyd

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Interview with Dr. Tracey Alloway

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Paper on Participatory Cultures
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