Tag Archive | social networks

Two Days of Great CPD … Day One

int slide

I’m not sure how I managed it, but I inadvertently left out one of my ‘Alumni Presentation’ slides from my last post. It must have been fate, though, because since then I helped to organise a very successful Safe and Responsible Use of the Internet workshop for teachers here in Falkirk. I know it was a success because of the comments on the evaluation sheets at the end of the workshop.

For example:

  • “A very interesting and informative session. I now have lots of ideas to take forward and I’m looking forward to getting started with our cluster pilot”
  • “What a great, helpful – even if scary – day. It certainly has made me even more aware of internet issues”
  • “Very useful and a great opportunity to talk to other professionals. ALL presenters were very knowledgeable and inspirational”

The presenters mentioned in the last quote included Alan Hamilton and Ollie Bray. There was also input from Bill Sharp who voluntarily presents at Parent internet safety information evening here.

The day began with Ollie giving this great presentation:

View more presentations from Ollie Bray.
Some of the things from Ollie’s presentation that I’ll take back to class with me in August include:
  • The fact that I’ll be more aware that children are not the same as they used to be! Ollie reminded us that today’s children have access to unlimited knowledge via the internet. Adults are no longer the ‘gatekeepers of knowledge’ – and some children are just not emotionally ready for some of the experiences. For example, ‘real life tragedies’ can be viewed online via places like YouTube. It’s important to be aware that young people may not know who to talk to about something they’ve found very disturbing.
  •  Wikipedia contains a massive amount of up to date information on heaps of topics – but it can also be used to illustrate the fact that not everything on the internet is accurate or even true. Ollie showed us some examples of Wikipedia acknowledging that something written there might not be correct.

Phrases like:

  • ‘The factual accuracy is disputed’
  • ‘This article contradicts another article’
  • ‘This article contradicts itself’
  • ‘This article reads like an advertisement’
  • ‘This article needs additional citation for verification’

appear throughout the pages. I’ll be reading up on this post on Ollie’s blog to help me get some important messages across to students next session.

  • ‘Digital Footprints’ were mentioned a lot in the presentation. This is something that I think might make young people think twice about the importance of having an appropriate online presence.
  • Educating  students about Targeted Advertising is something I’d never have thought of before now. I have seen it happening when I order goods from online stores such as Amazon, but Ollie made me aware of how easy it is to make young people aware that it’s happening on their social network sites as well.
  • Facebook privacy settings need to be taught and this is something I hope to do by requesting that the site be unblocked for staff and pupils – even for a very short time – to allow this to happen.

There were loads more ideas I noted down from Ollie’s presentation, but the short list above will certainly help me to spread the message in August – to staff as well as children?

After coffee,  Alan Hamilton  talked about the importance of sharing resources and why internet safety education is the responsibility of everyone. It’s not ok to keep on doing our own thing – we  need to share what we’re doing.  Sharing within local authorities is a start, but being able to share resources and ideas nationally is the ideal way forward (this is my interpretation of what he said, anyway!)

Just as an aside … I love the way Alan took the time to embed our Learning to Achieve logo into his powerpoint slides 🙂

He introduced us to the new Internet Safety and Responsible Use Glow group where we’ll be able to access ‘the latest resources, ideas and partner websites’

 Three steps are involved in the sharing mechanism:

  • Step One entails identifying good online resources, etc – then evaluating these by trialling them in class. Searching in Google tends to be unhelpful for teachers because of the overwhelming number of returns (I’ve been there!)

Step Two is to do with teachers then tagging the best resources.  They might be suited to a particular stage – and within that stage, might cover distinct topics such as digital footprints, digital literacy, emotional literacy, etc.

Step Three  means that teachers can easily find suitable resources that have been ‘tried, tested and appropriately tagged’ by classroom practitioners.


And that was only the morning session!

 The following day I travelled to Aberdeen and met Dorothy Coe  and David Noble and learned more about the great work they (and others) do for the Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland

‘Day Two’ post to follow soon … 

Social Networking Thoughts

Last week, Ollie Bray came to Falkirk to talk to a small group about Internet Safety and Responsible Use. I really enjoyed listening to what Ollie had to say, especially his views on raising awareness on how the web works (with teachers and parents/carers, as well as students) and about taking responsibility to protect reputations online.

We discussed how children as young as Primary 4/5 stages are now using social network sites like Bebo and MySpace. These sites are not accessible to children in our Local Authority. Staff members, however, can access the sites after bypassing a warning message that they can proceed to the website at their own discretion. Although twitter was also mentioned, it was more in a ‘while we’re on the subject’ sort of sideways conversation. 

When I came home, however, I was surprised to read Anna’s new post about twitter  and her thoughts about how ” it’s becoming the new bebo,myspace etc“. I’ve since been followed on my own twitter account by seven of my ex Carronshore bloggers and this has got me thinking about social networks in general.

When I received Anna’s request to follow me on twitter (my account was locked for a short time – but that’s another story), I thought long and hard about the ethics and whether or not this was acceptable. I remember creating a Bebo account in the past to allow me to keep tracks on my No.3 son while he roamed about Canada on a gap year. At the time some Primary 7 girls must have tracked me down on there and I noticed the requests. I (tactfully?) explained to the girls that this would not be appropriate …. so why the change of heart now that the same thing has happened on twitter?

I’ll try to analyse my thinking here:

  • My Bebo site was set up for personal reasons and I was a bit taken aback when the girls (very innocently) requested to follow me. We had shared exchanges online before via the class blog and their individual blogs, as well as this blog, but crossing that line to a ‘social network’ site was  definate ‘no no’ at the time. The very thought of us exchanging correspondence out of the public eye just seemed instinctively wrong to me. Actually, it wouldn’t  have made a difference if the sites were public – I would still have felt uncomfortable.
  • My twitter site, on the other hand, was set up initially for CPD purposes. A quick look back at my twitter account origin reveals that the people I first followed were already authors of educational blogs. I was a regular reader of  John’s, David’s, Neil’s, David’s and Ewan’s among others and they were all twitter users, so I thought I’d give it a go.
  • I was amazed at the CPD opportunities that twitter offered and blogged about it on a number of occasions on here. And it may even have been similar CPD prospects that helped me decide (not lightly, I might add!) to allow the ex Carronshore bloggers to follow me – and why I feel comfortable following them back.
  •   I feel that I know these students well. When I received the ‘follow’ invites from Anna, Nina, Bethany, RhiannJaydean, Marc and Ryan I remembered the Blog posts and wiki stories we shared. I’ve blogged on a number of occasions about the change in the classroom climate that was brought about by this sharing. There was a level of trust involved in the set up – but the advantages outweighed any risks
  •  A significant difference between bebo, etc and twitter is that twitter is somehow more accepted in educational circles. Twitter is less likely to be blocked by Local Education Authorities…. and even the CPD Scotland Team encourage its use 🙂

Anyway, it seems that Anna has started an ‘ex Carronshore students’  blogging trend …. I hope it continues. It would be great to read more posts from them 🙂