Oui, Oui, Oui, C’est presque fini…

For the final project I worked with French teacher Hannah Kingsley and my tech coordinator friend in Florida, Breyn Fish.  Hannah plans to teach this unit in the Spring and I will help integrate the technology.  My friend Breyn will share out this unit with the Foreign Language teachers at her school.  I speak French so I am excited that I get to integrate technology into a French class.  Here is my favorite french clip on YouTube.  Thank you Hannah for showing me this. Hannah’s original plan was to have student make travel brochures of french speaking regions.  I suggested that we have the students do travel websites to make it more techy.  There are tons of resources on the web for students to use to make their own “free” websites.  Some of my favorite tools are Weebly and Google sites.  But seriously, there are tons of tools out there.  Click here for some more.  I like students to try out different tools when doing the same project; not only does this allow for project diversity, students can help you find the best tools out there. In our unit, students work collaboratively in groups to create a website that has information and images that are cited properly.  We pose the question “Why should you cite your sources when using pictures from the Internet?”  Attributing the creator is a big 21st century issue that involves both the law and morality.  Like I’ve said before it’s just not cool to steal other people’s work and pass it off as your own. The unit also has students working collaboratively to gather resources that are posted to a Diigo group.  For more information on Diigo check out my last post, the Diigo Ate my Baby.   Breyn suggested that the kids also save photo resources this way, so student can attribute them properly when creating the website. At the end of this unit, students will reflect upon their work in their E-Portfolio.  We would ask them to write what worked well and what we should improve in the lesson.  From their reflections and our experience, we can further tweak the unit. As I end this final post for the year, I want to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers and Dana, our wonderful instructor.  Becoming a mom, doing COETAIL to get my masters, going back to work, and recently becoming and APD training has been a challenge, but I’ve learned a lot and got to work with so many wonderful teachers at my school that are doing COETAIL too.  See you in the New Year.  Sri Lanka here I come!!!!!

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The Diigo Ate my Baby

Don’t worry, my baby’s okay.  I’m just sitting in a meeting right now and Kevin, our tech director is doing a presentation on Diigo.  His first slide was the Diigo ate my Baby, and I thought it was hillarious.   Since I already know and use Diigo, why not share it on here.  It’s an amazing tool that helps you save, annotate, organize, share links on the web.

Hyperlinks make the Internet the amazing tool that it is.  The Intenet wouldn’t exisit without links,; hyperlinks make it the World Wide Web.  Diigo is a great tool to keep all these links organized so you can find them in the future.

Amazing Diigo Features

  • Highlight websites and it saves what you highlight
  • Take notes with Sticky Notes, these too are saves when you access the page again
  • Bookmark and save the pages you go to, add tags to keep them all organized

“Each bookmark you save will give you the direct URL, any tags you have added, when the bookmark was added, how many other Diigo users have bookmarked that page, the notes and highlights you made, and a link to the cached image.” -Tyler Manolovitz

  • Search your bookmarks or others public bookmarks.  This is a wonderful way to find new resources for the classroom
  • Collaborate with others by using the sharing and groups features.

Check out this great resource by Tyler Manolovitz that tells more about all these features.

Using Diigo in the Classroom

Students and teachers can use Diigo as a resource, but why not use it in lessons.  Using it as part of a lesson gets the students using all the different collaborating features and really teaches them how to use this wonderful tool.  Here are a couple links to cool lessons based around this tool.

I know there is a movie about a dingo who ate a baby, but I was curious to see where this originated.  Click here to learn about the real story of the “The Dingo who Ate the Baby.”  Poor baby and parents.

Bad Dingo
Image Credit: http://s3.amazonaws.com/rapgenius/SlgNiLCQtkg12n7swzitI7sRo1_400.jpg

Monkey See Monkey Do

Sitting in the car going home from work, I look over at my husband; he is immersed in his iPhone.  I’m about to say something like “get off your damn phone already,” but I think, jeeze I’m on my phone probably as much as he is.  Then I look down at my adorable little smiley baby, is he going to be this sucked into technology? Probably…  Though this makes me feel a little sad; it’s today’s reality.

Kids model the behavior of their parents and teachers, and most adults now seem to have their smartphone glued to their palm.  Reading the article When My Dad Banned Text Messaging made me feel a little bit better about my iPhone habits.  The author checks her phone “on the way home from work, after dinner, before she goes to bed, and as soon as she wakes up” – almost as much as me.  I like when she writes that texting is “ubiquitous as the notes we used to pass in school.”   I think texting is  more like writing notes on steroids.  You don’t just have to talk to one person, and they don’t even have to be in the room.  You just need to make sure not to get caught by your teacher.

no texting sign

photo credit :http://www.lessonsfromthemiddle.com/

Texting is just a communication tool, just like the computer or the Internet.  These things aren’t inherently bad.  Bad human behavior when using these tools is the problem.   The interviews with teeagers in the article “Bulling has little resonance with teenagers”  , made me think that we might be handling “cyberbullying” the wrong way.  Cyberbullying is not something that should just be left to the tech integrator.  Teachers, couselors and parents are responsible for teaching this too and the best way to teach it is to model it.   We also need to begin to speak their lingo.  The words cyberbullying and bullying makes me think of a big fat mean kid stealing lunch money.  Kids are not relating to the word “bully” and they don’t even realize when they are doing the bullying.  The idea of cyberbullying didn’t even cross the minds of the two middle school girls that got in trouble at my school last year for cursing each other out over email.   This fight was just like any fight between girls, it was just documented better.   Danah Boyd writes in the article that “Technology is not radically changing what’s happening; it’s simply making what’s happening far more visible.”  I agree with this.  Bad behavior has not suddenly increased because of technology, it’s just more in our face.

Behaviors are learned, so if we want to change how young people are using technology, if we want them to be more responsible and respectful, we ourselves have to be more aware of our habits – which is easy to say and hard to do.  Monkey see, Monkey do

 

What the heck is Fair Use?

I’ve been a teacher for over ten years and the confusion over copyrighted materials is still a frustration for me and most of my colleuges.  So what are the rules, what media can we use, how do we give credit and what the heck is Fair Use.  And finally, do all this rules still apply when teaching abroad in Asia??

I found this video a while ago and I love how it explains copyright law and fair use using Disney clips.  It’s such a great use of Fair Use itself because it is not only teaches but it also uses parody.

Since copyright law has such a big grey area, it’s really hard to teach kids what exactly they can do and what they can’t.  It comes down to common sense and also showing them resources they can use without running into problems.  By the way, my favorite site for getting royalty-free pictures is MorgueFile.

I also think morality should be discussed when talking about using other work whether you are in the US or abroad.  It’s just not cool to steal other people’s work without giving them credit, this is especially the case when you are planning to make money off of their work.  Here are some guidelines for using copyrighted material; and when to ask for the publisher’s permission.  In school, most uses of copyrighted material fall under fair use because it is used for teaching.  Students still however should learn how to credit author’s properly.

So how do you cite online sources properly?  Here is a great page from Creative Commons on practices for attribution.  Also, this Addon to your browser http://openattribute.com/ helps you attribute creative commons media correctly.

file0001649124415

my picture for FAIR Use from Morguefile so I don’t even have to site it

 

Photo credit for header: http://synergiseducation.com/blog/creative-commons/

 

 

 

Your Digital Footprint… Your Responsibility

Everything you do online.. viewing, searching, blogging, downloading, uploading etc. is a choice.  No one is forcing you to interact online or have an online presence.  It’s up to you to decide what you want to share and the amount of privacy you want.

There are many reasons why people are paranoid about sharing information online.  Stalking and itentity theft are real problems; but they can happen to you even if you don’t go on the computer.   I find that most people I know who are scared about sharing online know very little about social networks or privacy settings.    Others don’t trust the security that big companies like Google or Facebook provide, which is a valid concern.  But, your home connection probably leaves you more unprotected than the security measures that these companies have.  Hackers are just the criminals of our time; theives have always existed and will always exist.  I think we should be aware of the dangers online and educated about what we can do to protect ourselves.  Don’t miss out on what the Internet, social networks and other online systems can offer because of fear.  As Roosevelt said many years ago “All we have to fear is fear itself.”

I have other friends who choose not to participate online because they’d rather not share life happenings with their friends on Facebook or Google +, or they think it’s a waste of time.  Others have become so addicted they feel they need to go cold turkey so they delete their accounts- this never lasts for long.  For me personally, I think moderation is the key to healthy online activity.

Social networking is not the only facet of online privacy.  One of the most important ways to keep yourself protected online is to have strong passwords and not to share them with anyone.  Don’t write them down next to your desk, don’t say them outloud in a busy room, don’t tell your best friend.  I remember helping a teacher edit their Moodle page in the library (I won’t name names)  and he annouced his password and asked if it was a good password.  A couple of weeks later, he discovered that he profile picture had changed to a distateful picture of this large man.  We never found the culprit because they used his password to login and change it.  To say the least he was very embarrased, poor guy, but I think he learned his lesson.

fat man on computer

Photo credit : http://community.secondlife.com

I feel strongly that we must teach students about privacy settings, keeping passwords secure and being responsible online.  Education and knowing how to protect ourselves online is the best safegaurd online.  Here is a Youtube clip about Facebook privacy setting, something all FB users should know.

The Digital Cleanse

What is the first thing you do when you are looking for a job?.. You go online and Google jobs that interest you; you Google companies that you want to work for.  Most people stopped looking in the newspaper classifies a long time ago.  Employers have also changed their hiring methods.  Sure you still have to submit your CV, but your resume is not the only thing future employers are looking at. Now your digital footprint is almost as important as what you put on your CV.

I had a friend from college that was a brilliant computer programmer.  He had his masters in Computer Science, and he had experience programming for multiple companies.  He thought he was set to get any job that he wanted.  His hobby though was his blog, which was a pretty distasteful collection of provocative pictures and clips, ramblings about conspiracy theories, and disturbing stories.  One day he decided to post a link to his blog on his Myspace page (this was when MySpace was big).  Months later when he was interviewing for his dream job in Hawaii, this post ruined his chances of getting it.  I can’t even imagine the embarrassment he felt when they brought up his blog in the live interview.

His experience made me realize how important it is to have a positive digital footprint.  You better Google yourself before considering to apply for your next big job and make sure that your image online fits the one you represented on your CV.  Here are some articles that might help you clean up your digital footprint, if it needs cleaning up…

How to Stop Employers Digging your Digital Dirt – I like idea #10 in this article

Google Alerts is a very handy tool for real time alerts about anything, in this case yourself. Punch in your name in inverted commas, set it to send you updates as soon as you are mentioned online. This way you will be able to monitor yours whenever your name is mentioned anywhere on an ongoing basis.”

Cleaning Up Your Digital Dirt  –Eve Tahmincioglu says “What happens on the Internet tends to stay on the Internet.” and it is true.  She mentions an interview with C. David Gammel, a corporate technology consultant and writes that he suggests “burying the Internet skeletons in positive cyber dust.”

“Gammel believes in burying the Internet skeletons in positive cyber dust. “Once the less savory items are pushed off your first page of ego search results on Google, you’ll be fine with most people,” he notes. “That’s why you have to post more, not less, to get rid of the impact of those skeletons.”

I really like this idea, because it encourages you to have a bigger digital footprint instead of erasing every trace you have on the Internet.  Employers are looking to hire people with positive digital footprints.  Not having a digital footprint is almost as bad as having a shameful one.  Having no online  identity tells future employers that you probably don’t have very good computer skills.  It means that you don’t use social media, you don’t blog about things that are important to you, and that you probably don’t keep up with the times.  The Internet is a free promotion tool for yourself.  Why not advertise yourself in a positive light and get that dream job.  Why not share your expertise through a blog, making your ideas and your knowledge more accessible to the world.

As an international educator, with competition for jobs being fierce, having a positive, and sizable digital presence is a good idea, and it absolutely can’t hurt.  I certainly need to work on mine between midnight feedings and tummy time – COETAIL is helping 🙂

Footprint
Trying out Compfight.com

Photo Credit: pixelsrzen via Compfight cc

Finally the Final Project

As I am posting this final project, I am watching a CNN special on Malala. Wow!  What an inspirational young women.  http://amanpour.blogs.cnn.com/2013/10/11/the-bravest-girl-in-the-world/ Everyone should know about her strength.  I can’t wait to see what else she does in her life.  I hope she   What an inspiration.

Anyways, on to the main attraction… course one final project.  Being an integrator on maternity leave, I wanted to develop a lesson that would help one of the grade levels I service.  I browsed through Atlas Rubicon, the program we use to document our curriculum, and found a 7th grade unit about Historical Fiction that was in need of some love.  Click here to check out the un-techy version.

Historical fiction is my favorite fiction reading genre.  I love reading a story that teaches me about history and I love the idea of introducing this genre to students.  I added a blog and timeline project to the unit as well as a Quizlet vocabulary component.  I hope the 7th grade teachers are open to integrating this technology when the teach this unit at the end of the year.

 

Click here to view the lesson.