Digital Footprints

I’m a bit of a fan of Will Richardson’s work, though I do think he’s a bit hard on teachers at times and not always recognising the good things that are happening. I guess that’s the stance you have take when you’re advocating wholesale reform of systems.

His most recent  article, Footprints in the Digital Age, is a free download from Educational Leadership and argues that in the new world self-directed learners must be adept at building and sustaining networks.

He also includes some simple tips for teachers wanting to get started in this networked world themselves.

I liked this bit especially, since we’ve been talking about digital footprints a lot, in trying to develop student understanding of the concept, and how they might begin to actively shape your online presence:

Your personal footprint—and to some extent your school’s—is most likely being written without you, thanks to the billions of us worldwide who now have our own printing presses and can publish what we want when we want to.

On the surface, that’s an unsettling thought—but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, if we are willing to embrace the moment rather than recoil from it, we may find opportunities to empower students to learn deeply and continually in ways that we could scarcely have imagined just a decade ago.

k-12 Online Conference

The k-12 Online Conference I blogged about back in May has just begun, with an initial presentation by Dr Stephen Heppell already online.  Details of his pre-conference keynote ‘“It Simply Isn’t the 20th Century Any More Is It?: So Why Would We Teach as Though It Was?” are available HERE and the full program for the conference HERE Lots to look forward to! I’ve embedded Heppell’s keynote here, for your convenience.

Using web 2.0 tools in the classroom (ELH2008)

Matt Esterman’s presentation ‘Delicious Blogs and Wikis: Using Web 2.0 technologies to enhance Student Centred Learning (SCL)’ followed on nicely from the keynote after lunch about the changing world of the learner tools.

It was based around a number of tools: edublogs, delicious, wikispaces, some of my favourites in the web 2.0 world currently. It was great to see a young teacher talking passionately about these tools, and also asserting their place in the senior English and Humanities classroom, where I’ve found that some schools find this hard to maintain.

Esterman began by talking about what student centred learning was and then moved to the web 2.0 tools that enabled the HOW of a student centred approach. It was a practical session that focused on using a tool or two, on getting teachers to take that first step

It was funny when he came to talking about edublogs that he asked participants to look at two edublogs as examples, one of which was mine. I didn’t know whether to say ‘that’s me’, but I shut up and hoped that no-one would criticise it too loudly. Thankfully no-one did.

Cloud Computing (evernote vs ringo)

I’ve written a little about the note-taking and organisaton tool, Evernote, before. It’s basically a note-taking tool that allows you to easily clip screen shots, bits of text, images etc. to an endless virtual roll of paper, easily searchable as well.

Well, recently Evernote announced a web-based version rather than the stand-alone desktop application I’ve been using up to now. Sounds promising, the browser is the application, right? Certainly nice if you’re moving around computers from work to home or out and about travelling and I love organistional tools like this.

Except…cloud computing is …well, vaporous! Your data exists on someone else’s server, in someone else’s business model. I pay $20 or so a year for a Flickr account and I back up all my photos there. I figure Yahoo might be a bit more strenuous about backing up their severs than I am, so that makes sense to me.

But what if Microsoft did buy Yahoo? What if they close Flickr down? Or combine it with another application somehow?  I’ve got a gmail account too, but I also back it up with Thunderbird every few weeks. I don’t expect Google to go away anytime soon, and it’s a bit old fashioned, but I like having access to my data on my hard drive, sometimes.

It came home again this week. A long while ago I joined up to an online photo service called Ringo. I never used it much, but which might explain what happened to it. The email from them this week said without much explanation: ‘As of June 30, 2008 the Ringo service is ending and you will no longer have access to your Ringo account’. Gone. A bit like Yahoo Photos just … went.

I love web 2.0 online applications; I track my reading (goodreads), my bike rides (mapmyride) , my Amazon wishlist, restaurants I’ve visited (meetmethere) and the music I listen to on my ipod (last.fm) But, I still don’t quite trust any of these things to be there forever.  Call me old-fashioned!