Google-able


One of the first things that people do when they are introduced to Google Earth is to check out their backyard.  It’s a human trait in ego-ism, I suppose.  It’s probably also one of the first digital footprints that you have whether you want it or not!

Close to checking out your house is checking yourself out with the Google Search engine.  Now, the digital footprint gets a little bit more serious.  It’s here where your content or content that others have created about you gets displayed.  Now, the good folks at Google aren’t screeners of content.  If it’s there and they find it, they’ll display it in search results.  Good, bad, ugly, mis-spelled, it’s all there and discoverable if it’s posted online.

There were a couple of articles that caught my eye this past week enough for me to blog about them.

The first article was about a British university that was going to offer a Master’s program in Social Media.  The second article dealt with the chance that British education would be revamped to include Social Media including Twitter.

The two seem to make a great deal of sense to me.  Undoubtedly, the university course would dig deeply into the many ways that Social Media shapes society and learning.  The K-12 approach should introduce students to the reach and power of the technology and the responsibility that comes from being a good digital citizen.  Friends, employers, and even the curious can fire up Google or any other search engine and find all that they need to know about you.

The digital identity needs to be created early and like any good resume or CV, updated and checked frequently.  Personally, there were too many important “Doug Peterson”s around to make that what I would use.  However, there were fewer “dougpete”s and so an identity was born.  I keep it updated here and here.  Nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary but if you want to know about me, there it is.  (or at least the part of me that I care to share…)

As the internet becomes increasingly social, students need to recognize the importance of the content that they publish.  After all, this may be the business card of the future.

Image from Pleaseenjoy

Visit the website above to download a template to create your own “Google Me” business card.

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links for 2009-03-30


Higher Education


While we struggle with it, and many block it, news from the British is that they recognize social networking at an entirely different level.

From the Telegraph comes this story.

A degree in social networking?  It seems like the next logical step.  Earlier this week came word that there was at least speculation that social networking would be incorporated in the K-12 curriculum.

I found the quote at the bottom of the article very interesting.  The quote indicated that the curriculum could be self-taught.  Isn’t that the point?  We’re learning how to use Facebook, Twitter, and Bebo on our own.  How much more effectively could they be used if we apply academic rigor to them?

There is a global reach to these things.  There’s a great deal of potential and potential wealth to the successful.


Image via Wikipedia

Imagine what could be taught academically to learn skills above and beyond posting a picture of yourself out on the town with the lads having a yard of ale.

  • strategic advertisement in marketing to get potential readers driven to your product;
  • designing online games and collaboration spaces at the highest level in computer science;
  • how to teach and imploy ethical online behaviour in the social studies;
  • how to design and write for an entirely different audience in language classes;
  • how to determine pricing and manage the flow of income and expenses in business;
  • how to scale server farms to ensure uninterrupted flow of data in your technology courses;
  • how to ensure that your presence and applications appeal to users of all races and languages in second language and social science courses;
  • how to incorporate mapping and GPS concepts in your geography course;
  • designing collaborative environments that work – if you’ve joined, you’ve seen best of breed and worst of breed – what works?
  • and so much more.

Yes, I could see exactly how this could generate a higher level course with so much planning on the part of the university.

Social networking isn’t a passing fad.  I’m pleased to see that at least one university is planning to treat it as an academic endeavour.

The potential for better and more immersive environments could be the result.  At the bare minimum, a generation of graduates who go beyond drinking pictures could emerge.

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links for 2009-03-29


How Immediacy Spoiled my Sunday


Warning – contains a spoiler for Formula 1 fans.

If you check the history, I’ve commented many times on the power of Twitter to bring information to you immediately.

Classic examples are the landing in the Hudson River, the incident in Mumbai, and the earthquake in Australia.  By having Twitter open, you see a stream of the social network and its messages that eminate from those who you follow.

In addition to people, I also follow some news and sports services.  It’s a fantastic way to get news and information first hand.

Until the Formula 1 race in Australia.  It seems to me that I blogged about this a year ago and sure enough here and here.  It appears that I’m a slow learner.  The same thing happened to me a year ago.  I wake excited to see the kickoff to the 2009 Formula 1 season as it’s rebroadcast locally on TSN at 8:00am.

The other habit that I have is to skim the overnight content from Twitter.  I’ve always had the ability to speedread and so quickly ruined the suspense with a couple of posts.

and

So, apparently, I’m a slow learner.  But, even I will not go further and read the details.  Some things need to be discovered.  It will be nice to discover “how” this happened and what happened to Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton.

While the immediacy of the information and the power to see the future due to time shifts can be an incredible tool at times, it’s put a damper on my Formula 1 ritual.  Shortly, they’ll be racing in Europe and we’ll be back to watching it live.  Then, Twitter can assume its powerful role as a real-time blogging tool.

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links for 2009-03-28


More Great Software and Resources for Ontario Schools


I just returned from three very long and intensive days at OSAPAC meetings.  OSAPAC is the Ontario Software Acquisition Program Advisory Committee.  We are a group of 12 that represent various elements of publically funded education in the province of Ontario.  I am one of two members from the southwest.  Our mandate is to evaluate and recommend software titles based upon stated priorities that the Ministry of Education then licenses for use in all Ontario public schools.

First priority is for titles that are available in English and French and for the Windows and Macintosh platforms.

In the process, we attempt to get the best that we can to help Ontario teachers address curriculum expectations.  Financially, it benefits school districts in that they don’t have to purchase software in smaller quantities, educationally it allows for consistency from school to school, and from curriculum development purposes, content that is written can be shared from district to district.  Some great software titles have been licensed in the past and we continue to pursue some of the best software available to provide the best software to enhance the learning environment for students.  A list of recently licensed titles is available here by RSS or here by scrolling down the page.

In addition to licensing the titles, OSAPAC maintains a resource repository.  Here, teachers and vendors can share handouts, lessons, sample data files, movies, etc. to support the use of the software titles in the classroom.  The latest resources added to the repository can be found here.

New software titles and resources are announced on the links above as they actually ship to school districts.

At our meetings this week, we were able to announce that contracts have been signed for the following titles.

  • Mathville Grade 1 – one year extension to the online subscription
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 – Windows, French/English
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 Preferred with maintenance for 2 years
  • Clicker 5 French for Macintosh with French male voice
  • Upgrade to version 5.2 for the French Version of Clicker
  • Adobe Premiere Elements 7 – Windows, English/French
  • Comic Life

These titles will arrive at school districts in the coming days.  This is an exciting list of titles and I can’t wait to help our teachers learn about them in our district.  At the meetings, we also spent some time developing our priorities for licensing in the next fiscal year.  As the priorities are approved by the Ministry of Education, they will be posted on the OSAPAC website.  As public calls for products are generated, they are posted to the MERX system for any vendor to access.

OSAPAC maintains a bilingual website in English and French.

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