Virtue Signalling

First off …


Today marks a day of rotating strike action by ETFO members in the following districts:

  • Avon Maitland
  • Durham
  • Durham Catholic (designated early childhood educators only)
  • Halton
  • Hastings-Prince Edward
  • Lambton Kent
  • Rainbow
  • Thames Valley
  • Upper Canada
  • Upper Grand
  • Campbell Children’s School Authority

Details here.

Unfortunately, the voicEd This Week in Ontario Edublogs show had glitched when it was to be broadcast from the OLA Superconference. There were great blog posts to talk about and this one from Melanie White “Listening to Reflections” generated a comment from our guest host that day, Diana Maliszewski, about “Virtue Signalling”. Melanie’s original post had talked about the challenges that she had experienced using social media in the classroom.

Now, I’ll be honest and admit I hadn’t heard that expression below and Diana had just a few minutes to expand on it. I made myself a note to do some more work.

There’s a whole article devoted to it on the Wikipedia

Virtue signalling is a pejorative neologism for the conspicuous expression of moral values.[1][2] The origin of the term is often credited to journalist James Bartholomew from an article in The Spectator in 2015.[3]

It’s an interesting read as well as this article 12 Examples of Virtue Signaling.

Our original discussion had spurred me on to some additional reflection. Thanks, Diana.

What my reflection did was give my feelings something to hang my hat on. There are times when I’m consuming media only to see a celebrity or someone who thinks they’re a celebrity pictured doing the “right thing” or they’re talking about some cause that they are only on the sidelines about or they’re promoting their newest book.

While I don’t see this concept going away any time soon, I found it kind of healing to note that there is a label for this concept and there are others that are similarly challenged by it.

I’m not all in with all of the examples; maybe Tribalism is a good example; I’ll always be a Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Vikings, Montreal Canadiens fan.

However, I will think about the impact the next time I take a selfie.

It’s an interesting concept to think about – where is that fine line between actually doing good as opposed to posting something that makes you look like you’re doing good?

Where did the cool kids go?

I hate to admit it but I’m missing Google+.

I used it as a place to go for serious research, reading, and topics.  Yes, I am on Facebook but it’s more of a fun place.  I had a great collection of things to read  on Google + like Technology Coordinators, some of the organizations that support teachers directly, a number of education forums, Formula 1, and probably a bunch of other things that I can no longer remember!

I contributed when the mood hit me but I really liked the curated sources that I got from the groups I followed.  I shared back and also used it as a place to automatically share posts from this blog.  It always a hoot to get a +1 from Skip Zalneraitis and he was good enough to share posts with his network at times.  In particular, he seemed to like the This Week in Ontario Edublogs series of posts.

But, that’s all gone now and nobody has left a forwarding address!

Except for Peter Vogel, that is.  Don’t know Peter?  I think he’s in line to go to the International Space Station.

I got an invitation from him yesterday to join him on MeWe.

The landing page looks promising.


So, I took Peter up on his offer.  Peter has a great selection of interests – security, astronomy, photography, … so I was interested to see how he was using the service.

The interface looks modern and yet somehow very familiar.


I started a chat with Peter to thank him for the invitation and that sure looked familiar too.  I wondered about the tracking and uBlock Origin only identified 1 (mewe itself) and Privacy Badger had nothing.

Then, I poked around and added a number of groups to my set of interests.  With each login, there are red dots notifying me of new things.  I poked around looking for friends and couldn’t find anyone other than Peter!  Maybe I’m just early to the party?

I thought about setting up my blog there.  I’m OK with a bit of work but it’s typically directed towards automation so that I don’t have to do it regularly.  i.e. daily from this blog.  Sadly, I couldn’t find any IFTTT scripts or auto posting ability from WordPress.  Maybe with time and success, MeWe will get support.

In the meantime, I’m like a kid in a candy store looking through the shelves deciding what it is I want and what I don’t.  The content focus, at this time at least, is very American but that too can change.

So, I’m over there kicking tires and trying the candy.  Are you interested in joining me?  For former Google+ users, where have you gone?  Is there a party somewhere I don’t know about?

Don’t do stupid things

It’s been a while since I even thought about that advice but certainly I’ve blogged about it more than once.  Like this one.

The context was a few years ago when the Ontario Teachers’ Federation was developing and supporting a culture of responsible web and social media use by Ontario teachers.  It seems so long ago but the lesson isn’t necessarily learned.

I remember Bob Fisher from OSSTF speaking so eloquently about this and I closed that blog post off quoting him.

I think that Bob spoke for everyone when he offered the best advice of all.  With all the good that can be done,  “Don’t Do Stupid Things”.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the period at the end of that sentence marked the last time that we even thought about this.  At the risk of being called snooty again, I can’t stand by and not comment on this event which is all over the news this morning.

Just one of the stories:

Roger Stone Shares a Photo of Judge With Crosshairs Near Her Head

When I first heard about this, I figured that it would eventually be written off as “fake news” somewhere.  But, we don’t look for that now since he has formally apologised to the court.

I can’t imagine, in my mind, any case where, if charged, you should be using social media to argue their case by attacking their judge.  It would seem to me a better tact would be to take some selfies walking dogs from the local Human Society or something to build a nicer digital footprint.

This is another case of reminding yourself that people follow you on social media.  They digest your writing, look at and evaluate/share your photos and videos.  And, I would suspect that if you were in the news, every reporter or at least their media outlet would be following every move that you make on social media.  Removing a post doesn’t get rid of it.  Any computer user worth her/his salt knows how to do a screen capture.

Back to OTF and learning about all this.  The discussion at the time was whether we needed the Teacher Federations and School Districts to specifically spell out all the dos and don’ts that are necessary.  The number of scenarios is limitless – how could you cover them all?  Get way out of line and the College of Teachers can get involved.

It’s still nicely summed up with “Don’t do stupid things”.

If you’re a teacher, you don’t criticize your employer or school administration publically.  If you’re a student, you don’t do the same with your teachers.  If you’re receiving discipline from the school, you don’t take your case online.  You can’t win.  Sadly, there are some that consider social media as a place where you can always have the last word.

You just keep on stating your case until the other side gives up.

Or, takes it to the next level.

I Couldn’t Manage a Starship if I Wanted To

But, I’ll confess that I’ve always wanted to.

Jamie Weir retweeted some advice from Jean-Luc Picard

What great advice!

I was curious about the account “PicardTips” so I used the lookup feature on Hootsuite.

Wow, look at the Klout this man has!

What about moi?

Obviously, not even in the same galaxy, out scored 64-56.

Have you checked your Klout?  Do you have more Klout than the good captain?  (Do you care?)

Do you believe that your influence can be reduced to a number?  Do you believe that it matters?  (Again, do you care?)

In the meantime, I spent the rest of the day practicing.





It confirmed to the family that I’ve lost it.

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Managing Social Media

Hootsuite posted this to their blog and made it available on December 29.

Managing Your Social Media Profiles While On Holiday

I suppose that it could, or should, be posted/reposted during any holiday period as a way to remind folks that there is a great deal of power available in the tools that you use.  In this case, Alyssa Kritsch is pointing to some of the strengths of their product which has become the social media browser of choice for me.

As I read her article, I realized that I was using the features that she talks about on a daily basis – not just when I’m on holidays.  Also, in the reading, I detect that perhaps her intended audience was for business but it all rang true for me and I’ll bet it does for you.  After all, we’re all selling something – ideas, concepts, promotions, friendships, learning opportunities, …

I recall a comment I heard from an edtech “leader” once and he was running down the concept of a Twitter workshop.  “Who needs a workshop on Twitter?”  I suppose that there may be some merit to the concept if all that a workshop did was cover signing up, sending a Twitter message, replying, favouriting, and sending a direct message.

Is that all there is to it?

Absolutely not.  Hopefully, by the time you get to this line in my blog you’ll have opened the link above in a new tab and read it.  Effective Social Media use does involve using the tools for more than sending a simple message or reading a couple of others.

Under the hood of the tool that you’re using, there are many features that will empower your presence.  Even something as simple as scheduling a message or a post to your blog or a picture to Facebook at the time of your choosing lets you take control.  Another simple technique of sharing an article the moment you read it helps feed the community of learners of which you’re a part.

One feature of Hootsuite that I use all the time is access to my Twitter Lists.  My Ontario Educators and Ontario Educators 2 lists are invaluable for keeping focus on Ontario things.  (And it makes #FollowFridays easier too!)  I also realized that I have a particular sleeping pattern.  Basically, I sleep at night.  There’s a whole other group of people who are busy tweeting and sharing while I’m asleep.  My way of coping is to create a special list for them – Over There – so that I can catch up when I get up.  Any list that you create would have to be done to meet your needs, but why not do it and increase the value of being connected?

The power of sharing cannot be underestimated – the more you share, the more people share back.  Consequently, you and your community of learners have the potential of being just that much more informed and, ultimately, smarter.

And isn’t that what we’re all here for?

If you care to share, what tools do you use to manage your social media presence?

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s Christmas Week but that didn’t stop the blogging from Ontario Edubloggers.  Here’s some of what I caught this week.


What Would You Do?

I think that David Fife’s latest post points out the very worst of social media and a disturbing trend.  We all got a giggle with the “United Breaks Guitars” bit and now it seems that many people take to social media to complain about issues that are better handled in person.

In this case, it was a community member railing against a school using an anonymous Twitter account.  David asks “What would you do?”

It’s pretty difficult to deal with issues if the complainer doesn’t at least identify her/himself.  Certainly the worst that could be done would be to respond on Twitter.  Anyone who’s ever gone through a flame war knows that you can’t have a successful resolution online.  It only deteriorates.  Yet, if it’s ignored, it’s probably going to continue.  I think taking the high, professional road offers a contrast to the ranter that might get some results.  If it’s legitimate concerns, invite the complainer into the school to talk about the concerns.  That’s how solutions are found; not by public shaming.

In the same way, I think that sites like Rate My Teacher or Rate My Professor just serve to amplify the very worst in social media.  If you don’t have the ability to take on an issue up front, then hiding behind an anonymous handle is just wrong.  It would be interesting to se the response of this parent (if it is one) if their child was bullied online by an anonymous account.


In case you missed her posts the first time through, Eva Thompson teased us with this Twitter message.

In doing so, she refreshed some of the content from her blog that she had posted earlier.


Why Anne is a Slow Writer:  Reason #1

Intrigued by the title, I was drawn in to find out why.  Even this dog person could possibly understand the pictures that go with this post…

… and story!


Education Library Blog

The blog from the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario is worth bookmarking and reading daily.  Denise Horoky, who I interviewed here keeps the site fresh many times daily from stories from all over.

It’s wonderful to have someone who has already curated the best of the best for you to enjoy.

Now, I’ll never be confused for a learned man, but I was strangely drawn to a recent post “The End of an Era for and Other Academic Networks?


Thanks to those who keep writing and contribute.  It’s always inspiring to read a good blog post.

Check out the blogs at the links above or you can get the entire collection of Ontario Edubloggers here.

Tips for Bloggers to Remember

My Sunday morning reading included the article “Ten Things Every Blogger Should Remember“.  If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you know that I’m a sucker for posts like this!  I find the perspectives very helpful as I try to get my head wrapped around my own blogging.

I also like to think that the tips and exercises are valuable for those who would have students blogging in their classroom.  It’s one thing to provide an assessment (and I’ve seen a great deal of them that I don’t particularly agree with) but it’s quite another for students to sit back and reflect on their own efforts.  The fact that it might be criteria not teacher generated lends an additional level of credibility.  Have the students read the original post with its criteria and then even write their own blog post analysing their own efforts.

So, I’m going to take a look at the 10 tips from this post and see how I think I stack up.  Feel free to tell me where I’m wrong in the comments.

1) You will probably not become famous from this project

This is absolutely true.  I’m reminded of the television commercial talking about US college football players that talks about how so many of them will go on to be professionals in a sport other than football.  The same applies here; but it should never deter you from your blogging efforts.

2) The majority of your readers will be other bloggers

I never thought about this.  I know that the bulk of people who offer replies are bloggers and for that I’m appreciative.  It does beg a question though – what is a blogger?  Do micro-bloggers count?  Does it really matter?

3) Nobody will ever read every word on your blog

There are days when @SheilaSpeaking or @NobleKnits2 will send me a DM with a typo or missing/extra word in a post.  I guess not even I read every word!  I think this reinforces the writing tips that I learned in high school – start with a good title; bring the reader in with an interesting first paragraph; close with a good summary.

4) Trolls will come

There is a big dark side of the blogging web.  Thankfully, Akismet keeps most of them from public view.  I think there’s about 100 of messages that are awaiting my attention.  I do find that most of the replies that are legitimate are polite and helpful.

5) It does take work to make the blog worth your time

I’ll agree that it does take effort.  I’m not at the point where I consider it work though.  If I did, I think I would pack it in.  I don’t make any money from this blog (although I’m open to offers…) so I don’t set a time to blog.  It just happens when I feel the urge.

6) You get what you give

There’s a great deal of truth to that.  While I read daily and try to reply, I’ve scheduled Fridays as a concerted time to give back to the great Ontario Edubloggers who take the time to share their thoughts.

7) Make your blog as much about the content as it is about the person writing the content

I agree totally.  If you want to know about me, you’re further off being friends with me on Facebook.  My blog entries  here are about my thoughts and opinions.

8) Remain consistent

I like to think I’m consistently random in topic but I do try to schedule a little something at 5am every day.  That lets me write any time I have the opportunity.  That is one of the concerns that I have about blogging in education.  Unless they develop a passion, will students only blog during class when required to?

9) Don’t rely on words alone

This can be difficult at times.  Sometimes, there’s just no image or video that’s appropriate.

10) Be yourself

Yes.  Mistakes and all, this is me.  You won’t confuse this blog with something really academic.  It’s just my thoughts and opinions on whatever the topic de jour is.