After a whirlwind tour with George Couros and CEGSA, South Australia has been a-buzz on the social media scene (check out #cegsa and @CEGSAustralia). Twitter eggs have hatched and the anonymous are becoming faces to follow. Its not just about Twitter though, the blogs are happening and ideas are formulating and evolving through an interactive community.
A few new questions are emerging for me.
If Google is the new business card, what is the new ePortfolio?
As a professional, I’m now blogging, evidencing the National Professional Standards for teachers, tweeting, created an about.me page, discovered storify and more.
But what about students?
The power of blogging is two fold:
- Writing for and interacting with authentic audiences (continual learning)
- As a showcase of learning
In a web format, for older students I can see this can work well as students can take action, and with authentic audiences for meaningful purposes. Like Allysa (one of George’s favourites and shared over many of his sessions).
There are many opportunities to control the level of publicness and moderation through tools like EduBlogs, Weebly and Edmodo as our communities begin to value openness and input from experts while balancing moderation of outsiders access to contact young people. Being web-based content in any publishable format can be shared easily (PDF, JPG, MP3, MOV…)
Where do iPads Fit?
iPads allow us to create bite-sized snapshots of learning and put them together within apps, and within larger publications like eBooks. I see tremendous potential of ePubs (books published in an ePub format and read by an eBook/iBook reader like iBooks) to capture student learning in a variety of mulitmodal formats. But what about sharing? There are options: ePubs can be shared in iBooks on the device they are created on, published to iTunes and shared through a school iTunesU channel, or published through a gallery connected to an app (eg. Scribble Press or ShowMe). Each of these options still raise more questions for me:
- will the eBook be available in the future?
- will parents, grandparents and those in the broader community have the necessary evice, app or reader to view these student created collections?
I’m an advocate of openness, yet still have a keen sense of responsibility toward child safety. Finding the right balance as we create new policies on how Social Media is used in schools, by individual teachers and with students will challenge some of our previous ideas. How do children build an identity and maintain privacy? Are restrictions on last names enough? Just as in traditional publishing it seems to me there needs to be an approval cycle before works go public.
Striking the Balance
When I recently attended the National CyberSafety Summit in Melbourne I had the privilege of listening to leading child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg on preparing students for a world which is constantly connected and being offline is not an option. His key strategy? Build digital resilience! Dr Carr-Gregg emphasized the importance of being flexible, optimistic and resilient. Great advice for teachers too as we realise learning is no longer within school hours, within classroom walls or is within our complete control (if it ever was!).
Thanks George Couros @gcouros for giving me new strategies to be vulnerable, make connections and learn with and from each other, Luke Schoff @schoffl for breaking new ground with me and the @CEGSAustralia community for learning and growing with me.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these emerging challenge.