EduTECH 2014 part 2

Yesterday I posted about the EduTECH 2014 conference in general. Today I’d like to add a little more information about the content of the session that I participated in.

If you read yesterday’s post, then you’ll know that the title of the panel session was ‘Future possibilities of the cloud for schools’. (Interestingly, when I was talking to non teaching friends pre-conference, almost every one asked me what the cloud was.)

Our focus questions were:

  • How can we capitalise on the vast information available and networks online?
  • Selecting cloud-based resources such as videos, apps and portals
  • Reimaging school in a paradigm of online learning
  • How will the cloud continue to extend the roles of technology in education?

Paul Hamilton of Matthew Flinders Anglican College chaired the discussion. My points included:

  • Anytime you have connection to the internet, you have your documents. The latest, synced version. No need to wonder if you’re working or collaborating on the latest version.
  • The cloud is device agnostic
  • Perfect for devices like Chromebooks that don’t have storage.
  • Black Saturday photos, documents in cloud wouldn’t have been lost.
  • Perfect for collaborating across the room or across the world.
  • A great way for introverts to collaborate.
  • Social bookmarking. Curation.
  • The cloud caters for our online library system and ebooks that can be discovered and downloaded immediately at anytime.
  • Self organised learning system. 4-5 children per PC. Broadband + collaboration + encouragement.
  • Edna Sackson’s post Too many iPads. Is 1:1 ideal or should we ensure there’s someone online somewhere to collaborate with?
  • I select cloud resources by reading blogs and through Twitter feed, by trying them out personally, then professionally then sharing with colleagues.
  • Cloud resources I use include: Blogs, wikis for student resources, wikis for professional learning, google docs, google forms, history pin, YouTube channel and embeds, Flickr, padlet, Google+, twitter, diigo, scoopit, zite, Feedly, storify. Used to love Ning and posterous. Potentially publishing to iBooks and Kindle. Google docs for PBL class.
  • The internet of everything is enabled through the cloud.
  • Edna Sackson often uses Skype with other schools.
  • Jenny Luca’s post on the cloud for schools is a must read.
  • My role at Kew HS, leadership team meeting I presented to. (All cloud based technologies)
  • Cloud referred to in the Pew report
  • Cloud referred to in the 2014 Horizon report
  • Cloud referred to in the IFLA report
Thanks to Kim Yeomans for this photo.

Thanks to Kim Yeomans for this photo.

My take on EduTECH 2014

It was a career highlight and an absolute honour to be asked to participate in a panel at EduTECH 2014, held in Brisbane last week. The conference began with a keynote from Sugata Mitra, who is an interesting and thoughtful speaker and it was terrific to see him in person.

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Seeing my name on a massive board was too much!

I was asked to discuss the role of the cloud in schools with Paul Hamilton and Paul Kenna. The focus questions we were given were:

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A few days before the conference, I received an email revealing the location of the panel. I was expecting a small room, but certainly was shocked to read that we would be in the Great Hall. I consoled myself that as there were concurrent sessions on at the same time, there would only be a small audience. My anxiety flared again when I read that our panel would be offered to both the K-12 Ed Leaders and Library Managers streams (I had attended EduTECh in 2012 and the K-12 Ed Leaders was a huge stream. Apparently over 5000 people were attending EduTECH 2014 within the nine streams offered).

Our panel session took place after a session from the wonderful Jenny Luca (talk about a hard act to follow!). Fortunately, my nerves were not too bad as the lighting meant that those on the stage couldn’t really see the audience until nearly the end of the panel when the house lights were turned on to allow questions from the floor.

That’s when I realised the audience was fairly sizeable, but thankfully by then the panel was in its concluding stages. I had never spoken to so many people before, but I had never been so relaxed either. Being a part of a panel certainly took the pressure off, as the focus was not just on me and the session really was just a conversation, which was nice. It was also fun to be offered a job on stage from one of the other panel participants!

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Afterwards I received some nice comments online and in person, which was generous and reassuring.

Now that my formal commitments were over, I could relax and enjoy the rest of the conference. That enjoyment increased when I bumped into the one and only Sir Ken Robinson when I was returning to my hotel to rest. He was so sweet and inquired if I would be attending his session. If only he knew that I have such an educrush on him!

What a lucky girl to meet one of my heroes!

Sir Ken’s talk was passionate and engaging, he is such a brilliant storyteller weaving his stories into relevant points for us to ponder. It was amazing to see him in person as he had presented to EduTECH via satellite the previous two years.

I also enjoyed meeting up with ‘old’ friends (too many to mention in case I leave someone out) and meeting people like Sue Waters, Kim Tairi, Leigh Murphy and Matt Esterman for the first time.

Hearing the wonderful Joyce Valenza and the incredibly passionate Ian Jukes were also highlights. Ian Jukes was deliberately provocative and certainly had the Twitter stream going beserk.

One disappointment though was that Joyce Valenza, Ewan McIntosh and Gary Stager were all scheduled at the same time.

Sue Waters has kindly shared a Flipboard on EduTECH 2014 and Jenny Luca’s post is a great summary of the conference too.

Anyone considering attending in 2015, start planning now as EduTECH is one of those events that are not to be missed.

Google Docs workshop

Today I ran a Google Docs workshop for our teachers. It was voluntary, which I had hoped meant participants were keen and willing to ‘grab their learning’ (quote thanks to Brette Lockyer). The second session will take place on 11 November, where the plan was for teachers will share how they’ve been using Google Docs in their classroom.

For today’s session, I was aiming for teachers to be able to differentiate their own learning, however we were somewhat hamstrung by people without computers, people who’d not already registered for a Google account or those who couldn’t remember their password.

I was too ambitious hoping for lots of sharing and discussions about how we could use Google Docs for Redefinition, when the actual need was to learn how to name a Google Form, how to add questions and how to send a form.

Hopefully some teachers may do some learning on their own before the next session as I had provided a number of how-to resources. I’ll need to reevaluate what to do with the next session or if we need a third session.

All of the resources I used are on a page in my professional learning wiki.

Huge thanks to John Pearce, Britt GowJenny LucaHeather Dowd and many others for sharing their work, ideas and links.

Leadership team, introverts and project based learning

One of my jobs at my current school is to help teachers learn about embedding technology into the curriculum.

In my first year, 2011, I held a number of sessions on tech tools such as:

At the same time, four or five other teachers would offer other sessions on things like Excel, Google Docs, Photoshop, etc. Teachers could attend the session that interested them the most.

The sessions were pretty good as far as they went. The audience were engaged as they were able to select their session of interest (although sometimes some people weren’t interested in any of the offerings). We did have conversations ab0ut how the tools could be used in classes, although as there was a wide range of subject areas represented, there wasn’t time to talk about each and every subject area.

Last year the school focus was on using OneNote and I assisted learning areas in how to use the software.

This year, we had yet to decide what I was going to focus on apart from ’21st century learning’. Thanks to reading lots from Jenny Luca and even more from Bianca Hewes (and others) and hearing Marco Torres speak on project based learning, I thought this a concept that took the very best ideas from ’21st century learning’ and ran with them. I also wanted to incorporate Susan Cain‘s ideas from her TED Talk and her book Quiet on introverts and how they learn.

So I was asked to address the leadership team about my ideas this morning. I had a while to put together resources and had so many, I decided to flip the meeting; the leadership team had 10 days to watch the first four videos here. They were then asked to add their thoughts to a Padlet site, which was a great way to get conversations going outside of face to face time.

This morning I began my session with the good old Mr Winkle Wakes video and here are the notes I wrote for myself. We then watched the Common Craft video here (along with some other resources). I showed one minute of the new Sir Ken Robinson TED Talk (6.20-7.20). I explained a project Marco Torres spoke about when he was in Melbourne late last year. Then we went on to discussions.

It was very exciting that the support for the idea was immense and discussions led to how we would introduce the concepts to the wider staff. Leaders were already discussing how they could use PBL in their own classes. Emails coming in through the day were also supportive.

So let’s hope this is the catalyst for some PBL to begin at my school. I’ll keep you informed.

Thanks to Jenny Luca for support and sharing her PBL journey and to Bianca Hewes for publishing and sharing all aspects of her PBL work.

danah boyd – Privacy in Networked Publics

I was one of a fortunate few who attended a stimulating and thought-provoking session by renowned social media researcher Dr danah boyd yesterday at RMIT. danah has done an enormous amount of research into how young adults view social media and she has conducted countless interviews with teenagers. The topic was how young adults view privacy in a world where everything seems to be public.

danah began by speaking about mythbusting privacy. How young people understand privacy is different to how we understood it when we were young as the world is totally different now. For teenagers, it’s essential to be part of the social world. In our day it was hanging out at the mall. Today, the equivalent is being on Facebook.

There is an expectation from all young adult to be participating in social media. If they are not, there must be a good reason not to be on it. They think, it’s free, so why not be on it?

Young adults are doing the things online we did offline when we were teenagers; making friends, hanging out. Awareness and presence drives participation. Teenagers are engaging in social grooming, learning social norms and how to conduct relationships and how friendships get formed in public places. Young peoples right to roam has been radically decreased in three generations. Constrained now locally. Parents want them within their sight. Social media use is a byproduct of this.

Young adults often see Facebook as a scrapbook of social life; a way of bringing bedroom culture (posters, media, etc) to an audience.

We are seeing an intersection of people, technology and practice, where people come together, restructured by technologies. Online expressions are automatically recorded and archived. It’s different to what were used to when we were teenagers.

The fact that online materials can be easily duplicated and not knowing whether something is original or a duplicate changes dynamics.

Searchability of teenagers is now great; visibility of content is great. Teenagers are now searchable by people who hold power over them (admissions officers, bosses, etc.)

Scalability. Even though huge audiences are out there, there are blogs that have 0 readers. Things that make them look like fools are the things that have scale. But not all audiences are visible. Not necessarily co-present. How do we navigate audiences when we don’t know who they are or when they are our audience? They might read a blog post written years ago.

Collapsed contexts: lack of boundaries makes it difficult to maintain distinct social contexts. Blurred. Young people are struggling to make sense of broader contexts as well. Peer norms and adult norms and very different.

Private and public are difficult to maintain as distinct. Sense if agency, make a decision and assert that decision. How do we control this?

There is a huge shift around information and who can access this information. Defaults have changed. We need to make a decision about what to share. Many teenagers are now sharing online public by default, private through effort. They find it easier to share everything than decide what to share. They feel other people can filter rather than them choosing what to share. They often upload all of their photos then select one or two to delete.

Young adults want to participate in a public choice of privacy in a public environment. But there is confusion about what constitutes privacy. Respect, personal, exhibitionists. Sharing is seen as a way of closeness, so sharing passwords is quite normal. Up to 50% older teens share passwords. This was generated by adults, parents wanting their children’s passwords. So sharing passwords is signalling trust to special friends and boyfriends/girlfriends. Cultural forces around trust and safety.

Who belongs and who doesn’t? Who should read and comment on a post? Some teenagers think just because a post is publicly accessible, doesn’t mean it’s for you. This means you parents and teachers (and other relatives).

Privacy strategies. How do you know if a Facebook status is meant to be addressed to you? Young adults say it’s a certain way you talk. One young adult created lists for suitable audiences as his interests were varied and he would be teased by some friends for some interests. So he separated those by using lists.

One young adult found that things she forgot about that occurred in the past were brought up. So she deleted posts and comments daily, after friends had time to read them. One girl deactivated her account daily so adults couldn’t see her updates.

Teenagers also feel that parents shouldn’t comment on Facebook posts as it scares everyone else away. So, often teenagers work around by hiding in plain sight. One example was a girl was feeling depressed, but as her mother was her Facebook friend, she couldn’t say she felt bad online or her mother would annoy her. So she posted the song lyrics from Always look on the bright side of life. The encoded message achieved privacy in a public environment. Her mother thought she was cheerful. Anyone who’d seen the Monty Python film knew she was upset.

Although danah has access to social media sites, she often doesn’t know what young adults are talking about due to the codes they use.

Dramatic actions online include teasing right through to harassment. We see bullying, kids see drama.

Shifts in visibility. Increased ability to see into lives of YA. They are seeing and being seen. You’re invisible unless you share and participate. This prompts them to share and be present. Young adults are now learning to expect surveillance. Parents, teachers, adults, governments are looking over their shoulder. Value of privacy still very important to YA but it’s achieved differently.

Young adults are now hacking the “attention economy”. They often think “what can I do to get attention?” Trolling is a part of this. They often feel that anybody who becomes famous becomes a target because they have visibility and the young adult may not. This has been normalised through reality tv.

Those who don’t want to or don’t have access to social media is about 7% of teenagers in USA. Religion is a good explanation for this. However, some young adults make a conscious decision to opt out. Opting out of Facebook has a few reasons. Parents is one reason. Some kids feel they don’t need to, they are already popular enough. Some feel so marginalised already, they don’t want to be marginalised online as well. Some feel they need a clean slate for a sports scholarship. Some people have an emotional exhaustion to Facebook updates; it feels like a job rather than fun.

Google+ Circles can be good not to overflow everybody or blow up your friends’ feeds.

Twitter is used in different ways. To participate with celebs. Participating in trending topics is fun. Strong third is protected accounts. Share updates with small group of trusted people. Quite clear who is following you.

 Young people feel they are oppressed as a group. There is no safe environment for queer youth online, they are not getting the support the way they were a decade ago. There have been suicides in the US after the “It gets better” campaign. But there was no structural support to the campaign.

The Internet magnifies everything. We see things that we didn’t see before. How do we make sense of it? Teenagers need to understand the world is messy. Things out there aren’t all good and we can’t protect them from it all.

Bullying statistics haven’t changed with rise of Internet. Bullying is worse at school. Adults panic because we can see kids being harmed. If kids don’t come home with a black eye, we don’t know what happened. Easier to blame technology.

 There is pressure for kids to only relate to people they know. Adults need to support shared interests. Marginalised youth want to share personal stuff. MMORPG seems to be a good place to share. Harder to find online communities.

Real names debate. We act differently at work, home, etc. so we could use different names for different aspects of our lives.

Note: danah changes quotes from YAs so they can’t be googled. No unintended visibility. Never connects journalists with young adults.

There are interest driven communities and friendship driven communities. But fear mongering in the media has made it impossible for young adults to join interest driven communities as there are ‘strangers’ on these sites.

Parenting is an ongoing process. We should be working on all of this long before they go on the internet. Trust and communication are the keys. Parents need to ask questions, such as “Why did you do this?”  “Did you achieve what you wanted to achieve?”

How to we change the fear culture spread by the media? Statistics don’t combat fear. One story can make things spiral out of control. How do we challenge moral panic? We need media literacy.

Health and wellness is at the centre of all this. We need to teach critical thinking rather than dos and donts. We need to teach the possibilities about how to engage well.

danah also feels that educators should have a second Facebook account (without any private content) so that students can connect with their teachers if they have problems or issues. Accept their friend requests, but don’t friend them. Passwords can be shared with Principals for transparency. This would especially be important over long summer holidays when teachers are not available face to face.

A podcast of the session will be available shortly. For an in-depth blog post on the session, see Jenny Luca’s How do you deal with a world that is messy? danah boyd at RMIT.

Podcast of danah’s presentation available here.

Why I say no to Facebook

It seemed to me that there are very few people in my PLN who don’t use Facebook. Until today when I tweeted about it and had quite a few replies that agreed with me. Jenny Luca was one of them as she is quite one of the most wonderful teacher librarians on the face of the earth, her agreement with me really resonated.

I’ve never been a big fan of handing over ownership of my photos, writings and more to a social media behemoth for not much in return. Okay, I’m being facetious, but the truth remains that the T & C of Facebook means that practically anything you upload can be used and reused by one Mr Mark Zuckerberg:

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.

I’m also not a fan of ‘opt out’. I’d much rather opt in to things like photo tagging than have Facebook decide for me that this is something I want to be a part of. Although on Facebook’s T & Cs page, it says:

Your privacy is very important to us

I don’t believe that it is. Introducing facial recognition technology to photos without telling people about it and the implications is evidence that privacy is not important. As Naked Security said about photo tagging on 7 June:

Well, now might be a good time to check your Facebook privacy settings as many Facebook users are reporting that the site has enabled the option in the last few days without giving users any notice.

I also cannot help but be swayed by technologist and all-round brain-box Mark Pesce‘s view of Facebook in Why I Quit Facebook and You Should Too and Facebook and the Death of Privacy. Here is a deep thinking man who embraces social media and technologies, eschewing Facebook. It’s got to influence your thinking, doesn’t it?

Any site that pulls the rug out from under your feet by changing privacy settings without your knowledge has got to be viewed with suspicion.