Facebook groups – are you being manipulated?

If you are a member of several Facebook groups then it is quite possible that you are to some extent being manipulated! I have become aware of this because I am part of a small community where there is a local Facebook Group which has a large membership in local terms. The area in which I live has a population of around 4,500 of which around 700 are too young to be on Facebook officially – the group has a membership of over 3,100. Even assuming that some members are outside the area this group has a large proportion of local residents as members and thus by “managing” posts the admin have the potential to influence a lot of events for example local elections!

I am a member of quite a large number of Facebook Groups. Note I do mean Groups not, as they are so often incorrectly termed “Pages”. I also admin/moderate in several groups and provide professional development for colleagues (other educators) in using Facebook Groups with students.

Groups that I belong to are of several types: professional, special interest/hobby, student and also local community groups that include both buy/sell and general local discussion groups. Most of the groups are easy and enjoyable to work with. The professional groups and special interest groups rarely have members who communicate disrespectfully, in any way inappropriately or who post in ways not permitted in the group. If this does happen then admin usually deal with it quickly, efficiently and openly. Student groups are also easy as long as they have clearly stated ground rules that are enforced.

Community Groups could be expected to be more problematic, but on the whole those I belong to also pose few problems. However they may have admin/moderators with vested interests, or who simply don’t understand the complexities of good admin/moderation, or that when they take on this task they actually have a moral responsibility to do it ethically and properly. So I can almost hear you wondering how you can tell if you may be being manipulated.

Indications that group members may be being manipulated.

  • Sketchy ground rules are posted as a pinned post but sometimes with more are “hidden” in the group description where they are rarely seen.
  • Ground rules are posted but are not properly/consistently applied by admin.
  • Ground rules are posted but lack explicit mention of “respect”/”appropriate language” or similar standards.
  • Some topics are banned (but these are not made explicit in the ground rules).
  • Admin are inconsistent in their responses eg enforcing some ground rules on some but not all members.
  • Posts and associated comments – often related to specific topics “disappear” usually overnight with no explanation to either the group as a whole or to the poster.
  • Whole threads are removed rather than just any inappropriate comments, this persists even when admin are fully aware that they can just remove the inappropriate comments.
  • Reasons for removing entire threads are rarely given even when requested, and maybe of the form:
    • “it (the thread) was too long  to check all the comments” or
    • “we are being monitored and will be sued for what others post”
    • “the post was attracting nasty comments/angry responses.”
  • Admin indicate that they don’t have time to run the group properly but make no attempt to bring more members in to the role.
  • Admin responding disrespectfully to comments from some members – particularly if that member has previously questioned admin practice.

Of course in some cases it may not be admin that are being manipulative but others who are manipulating them to manipulate group members. For example:

  • Once some members become aware that they can get a whole post removed by adding abusive comments then they may do this as a deliberate strategy so that posts are taken down.
  • Threat of legal action may also cause admin to become extra cautious – especially if they are unsure of the legal position.
  • Personal abuse of admin may also be used (by phone or face-to-face) to get posts taken down. Especially in small communities where admin contact details may be known by group members outside the Facebook environment.

Existence of any of the above doesn’t necessarily mean that group members are being manipulated but if you belong to a community Facebook Group – particularly one with a large membership in proportion to the population of the community then it is worth being aware of the possibility.

 

 

 

ACAL and ACTA Exchanging ways of being.

Introduction

A few weeks ago (7th-11th April 2016) I went to a great conference! The “Diversity: exchanging ways of being” Conference was jointly organised by the “Australian Council for Adult Literacy” (ACAL) and the “Australian Council of TESOL Associations” (ACTA) with the local host organisations being the “WA Adult Literacy Council” (WAALC) and the “Westralian Association for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages” (WATESOL). It was fantastic to have so many LLN oriented people all together in one place, fabulous sessions and incredible networking!

ACAL ACTA conf

As always after conferences/events whether face-to-face or online I like to let my personal dust settle a little before I post my thoughts and reflections on the event. Now a few weeks later it feels like the right time to post!

I rarely attend face-to-face conferences – our own annual local WA Adult Literacy Council Conference being the only one I have attended for many years. There are several reasons for this:

  • I live in regional Western Australia, not too far from Perth but a long way from the Eastern states of Australia and the rest of the world so most conferences are not easy to get to;
  • I loathe flying – being both claustrophobic and not very good at heights – I find it frightening and stressful and it leaves me useless for a couple of days afterwards;
  • Large International conferences are expensive – I work in the public vocational education and training sector and my organisation has only limited funds available for professional development/conferences.

I do find it frustrating that with the multiple streams available in large conferences there are always so many sessions that I can’t attend! Online conferences by contrast usually record sessions so it is possible to catch up with any of particular interest later.

The Conference

I am just so delighted that I had the opportunity not just to attend the conference but also to present a workshop.

The buzz of all those LLN people gathered in one place was phenomenal and very exciting. Strictly it was two places – because sessions were in two Perth hotels just across a street from one another. However the need to move between buildings didn’t prevent the conference running (at least as far as I saw) extremely smoothly throughout, thanks to the efforts of the organisers.

The sessions I attended were all excellent and the Keynotes were outstanding. For me this conference “walked the talk” of “exchanging ways of being”. I think that combining the ACAL and ACTA conferences provided exceptional opportunities for networking and “cross pollination” of ideas and is something the two organisations should consider again, perhaps more regularly, in the future

The only downside for me was all those sessions I would love to have attended but couldn’t because they were concurrent with something else! In my opinion this is a huge and intractable problem with all major conferences. While providing concurrent sessions is a terrific way of catering for varied interests, it does also mean often being unable to attend everything that is relevant. Possible options for large conferences might include adopting some of the practices used in online conferences such as recording of some sessions so that they can be made available afterwards as videocasts or similar.

My own session

I deliver quite a lot of presentations/workshops on using technologies for facilitating learning to colleagues. This is in my own organisation, more widely in WA and Australia and also globally. Most of these in the last 10 years (with the exception of my own organisation and our WA Adult Literacy Council Conference) have been online. In all of these sessions (face-to-face and online I strive to use interaction and activities to keep the content interesting and illustrate the engagement potential of using technology as an adjunct to learning.

There were no computers available at the conference venue for session participants so I needed to make activities feasible for a “Bring your own device” (BYOD) context. A big challenge for me as in the majority of my past face-to-face sessions the participants were using desktop computers that all had the same operating system (ie Windows) and online they were mostly using their own familiar desktops or laptops rather than mobile devices. This made it relatively easy to be sure that everyone would be able to access the same tools, that we were exploring and using in the session. In this session we had a mixture of mobile phones and tablets and Android and iOS – some of the tools I use regularly with students are not compatible with one or more of these others need an installed app to work. So it was important to have illustrations of usage in my slides to minimise the frustrations felt by those who couldn’t easily access the tools via their device.

A further challenge for me was that I wanted the session to do two things: illustrate and provide opportunities for participants to extend their PLNs (ie exchange their own ways of being), and also introduce and explore some “tech” tools that could be used with students to facilitate them in exchanging their own ways of being.

My sessions always include a lot of link sharing – online this is very easy as links can usually be shared in chat boxes and/or on whiteboards. Not so easy in a face-to-face environment! However I have developed an approach that seems to work well – I put all the links I will need to share on a blog page – in this case ACAL/ACTA Conference 2016 – with some narrative, and then create a customised “bit.ly” link for that page so that people can easily type it into their device.

Integrating PLN development with tool sharing seemed to work very well. A lot of participants joined our FSTeach Facebook Group during the session and some tweeted with the #tag #FSTeach.

As is my wont in PD sessions I used a variety of tools and activities to encourage participation including online polling, online sticky notes and social media. I have posted the slides in Slideshare, and links to the tools and to the sticky not canvases are on the blog page ACAL/ACTA Conference 2016.

I really enjoyed doing this session – despite being quite nervous and apprehensive about whether the strategies I had planned would work. The participants were wonderful – so supportive throughout and happy and enthusiastic about engaging with the technologies. The two hours flew by and before I knew it the session was over!

Conclusion

When I was completing my workbased Adult Ed teaching qualification  in the UK over 25 years ago one of our lecturers was always telling us to “take risks” – she gave us a list of strategies and said we should try them all. I felt unhappy with this – my students were studying for national exams and I was unwilling to take risks with their learning. However when I looked at the list I had already used almost all of them! My whole life in teaching seems to have been about trying different things, or the same things in different ways. Always seeking to keep it interesting and to challenge students to get involved in their own learning. I try to do this ie “walk my own talk” in PD and conference presentations as well. For me this is particularly important, with respect to technology, and using the technology to support the learning – not as an end in itself. However, having said that, with the continually increasing significance of digital skills and digital literacy for future workplaces using the technology effectively, safely and critically is itself becoming one of the objectives!

I would love to see your thoughts (comments):

  • on the session – if you were there!
  • on the blog page and slideshare
  • on “taking risks”
  • on the increasing importance of digital skills and digital literacy to foundation skills/literacy/language/numeracy teaching.

 

30 Goals Conference – Bouncing back!

Introduction

Last weekend I was involved (thanks to Shelly Sanchez Terrell) in an online conference for the first time in about 3 years. Shelly has been part of my PLN since 2009 and we met face-to-face for the first time in early June this year when Shelly came to Australia for a conference and was able to take a few days out to stay with us in Western Australia. We talked continuously for the whole time – including about resilience which ended up being the topic for my Keynote at the “30 Goals Free E-Conference

This post is about the experience of planning and presenting a Keynote “Bouncing back! Resilience and survival as an educator.” for the “30 Goals Free E-Conference” through Google Hangout On Air – a new conference platform for me. You can catch the full presentation and the associated textchat through my profile page on the 30Goals website

Planning and preparing

I approached this presentation with some trepidation for several reasons:

  • The length of time available for the session – I have never done a session as short as this (20 minutes speaking, plus ten minutes questions/comment) at a conference before, although I have done a couple of PechaKucha style clips. My sessions are mostly workshops and tend to be a minimum of an hour and often rather longer.
  • The topic was much more philosophically based than my usual ones which tend to be very practice and/or theory into practice oriented.
  • Although I have used Google Hangouts a few times, Google Hangout On Air was completely new to me. So I had no idea how to make it work for my presentation style which is very interactive.
  • I was worried about connection dropout – in my experience Google Hangouts are very bandwidth heavy and I live in a “bandwidth challenged” area
  • I am totally spoilt in that I have mostly been using BlackboardCollaborate (BbC) – in my opinion one of the best platforms – for online presentations and workshops, although I have also recently used Skype.
  • It’s around 3 years since I took part in a totally online conference and I am not doing regular webinars at the moment so I was definitely feeling a bit “rusty”!

Resilience is something I am very aware of – in the educator community, the community I live in and to some extent in myself. I did feel that it was a bit presumptuous of me to talk about it in a global presentation. However once having submitted a title there was no going back! It did take me a long time to prepare the presentation – a lot of thinking and reflecting, and also a lot of time actually putting the words and slides together. For the first time in years I actually wrote down (or at least typed) what I planned to talk about – usually I have just key points or reminders of practical issues. I also tried to make sure I didn’t have excessive amounts of text on slides – having worked so much in BbC and in presenting practical workshops I tend to have more text than I would use in face-to-face and/or purely presentation contexts. Luckily living in rural Western Australia I have an excellent resilience analogy to hand in our native bush which “bounces back” amazingly from severe bush fire events.

Bush resilience 500px

The other thing that exercised my mind during preparation was how to incorporate some interaction. I knew we would have ChatWING but wasn’t sure how easily I would be able to monitor the chat and anyway I really prefer more interaction than just chat. Eventually I decided to use two LinoIt canvases and ask for people to add “stickies”.

The session

Thank you Shelly, Jake and Judy for the huge support before and during the session! You all helped me to feel more confident. After a great introduction from Shelly I was launched on the uncharted waters of “Hangout On Air”.

It certainly felt strange to start with to be talking to an unknown number of people and without the  feedback (through emoticons, chat and audio) that I am able to get when using BbC. Having ChatWING certainly helped to some extent but I felt peculiarly detached from my audience because:

  • I had no idea how many of them were listening/watching
  • I didn’t know who they were
  • I couldn’t tell if I was holding the attention of all, any or none (no body language as in face-to-face or emoticons/audio etc as in BbC)

On the whole I think the session went quite well. I was happy with my slides (now uploaded to Slideshare – although not very useful without the audio) and how I synchronised them with what I was saying. I only had two that were just text, being bullet points about which I spoke in some detail.  I was pleased that I had done my usual things of trying to include interaction and pushing the boundaries in order to do so by using the LinoIt canvases. Including interaction in a very short session was challenging both for me and for participants. I was so delighted that it worked to some extent with some comments being added during the session even though there wasn’t really time to discuss the comments.

I have included the two LinoIt canvases here and would love more “stickies” to be added. The first canvas “Challenges” asks you to add your educator challenges.

The second canvas “Being resilient” asks for your own personal tips on being resilient.
There were inevitably some glitches! That panic moment when bandwidth won and I was dropped out of the session – however I was half expecting that to happen and so I managed to reconnect very quickly. Also I think (although I am not sure) that I got in a muddle with my two LinoIt canvases and gave the second link first.

Aftermath

One of the things that this conference has done for me is to nudge me into reconnecting globally again. This year I have not been doing as much teaching as in the past and have been focussing on doing some LMS e-learning development for my orgnisation and on facilitating colleagues (both in my organisation and across Australia) in using e-tools and social media for professional development and working with students. On a personal basis – I am still recovering from illness last year and am also concerned with a threat to my home community from mining. These factors have led me to look inward rather than outward as is more usual for me. However I am beginning to feel the “outward urge” again and hear the “wild geese calling” me to the wider world.

Social media for professional development and networking

Introduction

A post for my colleagues who are beginning to consider social media for professional development.

The associated presentation is available on Slideshare

We all have some sort of Personal/Professional Learning Network (PLN). In the past this was based around people that we met face-to-face or communicated with by phone or letter. However the growth in online communication and social media has given rise to an immense expansion in the potential for learning through networks.

Personal/Professional Learning Networks

I have a large global network of educators across all sectors with whom I “chat” frequently and acquire links to many excellent resources, websites and articles. The main networks that I use are Twitter and Facebook, but I also use our statewide Adult Literacy and Numeracy Network (a Google Group), Google+, LinkedIn, social bookmarking and web conferencing. These “platforms” constitute my own Personal Learning Environment (PLE).

Much has been written about PLNs and how to develop your own PLN, this can only be a guide! Every PLN is different because it reflects the interests and personality of its “owner” and because the balance of platforms forming the PLE will vary.

PLN

One of the best ways to get started is through someone who already uses one or more of these platforms, who will act as your mentor. Both Twitter and Facebook are good platforms to start with – Twitter has the advantage of brevity, and Facebook the advantage of familiarity for many people. I usually recommend that people use both – they are both relatively easy to manage and it is also possible using one of the available clients to cross-post (this means post the same post on both platforms at the same time).

LinkedIn is a little different from other platforms in that it has more of a job/workplace focus. Many people who use it do so for the purpose of career development rather than professional learning.

Be careful about where and what personal information you share. Keep your home address, mobile and home phone number, private email, and anything similar out of comments and posts.

If you are new to PLN/PLE you can find getting started information in:

 Conclusion

This post and those about Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are intended to help you get started. The next step will be actively participating in those networks.

If you have any questions please use the comments on this or one of the other posts to ask them and I will do my best to reply.

LinkedIn for professional learning

Introduction

LinkedIn is a little different from other platforms in that it has more of a job/workplace focus. Many people who use it do so for the purpose of career development rather than professional learning. However there is still potential for joining special interest groups and taking part in the discussions and also for making connections with others in the same field.

Getting started

1. Go to the LinkedIn joining page and join up. Because of the focus of LinkedIn there is little point in using a pseudonym.

2. Once you have signed up it is almost essential to complete at least part of your profile including an image and some career information. Again because of the nature of LinkedIn it is best to use accurate information and a photo for your avatar.

3. Now it’s time to start making connections. LinkedIn will make suggestions and if you have included a profession, a workplace or a school/university in your profile then others with similar interests are likely to be suggested. There are educators from all over the world on LinkedIn. You can tap into ideas and conversations from all sectors however there are several groups related to the VET/Adult Ed. sector in Australia.

4. Use the Search within LinkedIn to find people you may know and Groups that may be of interest for you.

Conclusion

This is a very basic post for getting started with LinkedIn. If you have any questions then please use the comments on this post to ask them and I will try to help.

Twitter for professional development/networking

Introduction

Twitter is a social networking/microblogging platform. The main difference between Twitter and other platforms is that posts may only be 140 characters long – and no, this doesn’t restrict conversations! Twitter is great for quick updates – and yes we do sometimes mention food! Just as we might ask “How was lunch?” when a colleague returns past our desk. As with all networking the “social” interaction “oils the wheels” of the professional relationship. So how do you get started with Twitter as a professional development and networking tool?

Getting started

1. Go to the Twitter website and sign up.

Twitter2 500px

This includes creating a “username”. Ideally your username should be fairly short and should identify you – your name or a variant on it usually works well (my own Twitter name or “handle” is “@JoHart”).

2. Once you have signed up it is important to add an image (avatar) and complete your biography (bio). These will influence people to “follow you” or not. Twitter only gives you 140 characters for your bio so make every word count! If you want an example visit my Twitter page. There is much discussion about what is appropriate in terms of images. If you are using Twitter largely for PD then a photo is probably best, alternatively a cartoon image that you can create with a tool such as Mangatar.

3. Now it’s time to start following people and posting! There is no rush to build a huge list of followers, take your time – there are educators from all over the world on Twitter. You can tap into ideas and conversations from all sectors not just VET/Adult Ed.

4. If you follow @JoHart and Tweet me – put @JoHart in your Tweet and I will see it, I will be able to Tweet you with a couple of lists with relevant people and also some individuals that share interesting content and links.

TwitterChat

Once you have got started – especially if you want to join in or follow Twitter chats – it is a good idea to use a “Twitter Client” to help you organise and manage the flow of Tweets. A TwitterChat is a conversation carried out between any number of people using a #tag so that they can all follow and participate in the conversation. There are some excellent structured TwitterChats that select a topic each week (often using a poll) and then have a designated time for discussion the topic for one hour using Twitter. The discussion is then often summarised and made available online. One of the TwitterChats that I have joined in the past is #ELTchat, this has a focus on English Language Teaching and posts regular summaries of the chats.

As with starting to use Twitter or Facebook there are many “how to” posts available for using Twitter Clients, this “Beginners Guide to Tweetdeck” from “Mashable” is quite comprehensive.

Conclusion

This post focuses on getting started. If you have any questions please use comments to ask your question and I will try to help.

 

Facebook as a professional development resource/platform

Introduction

This post is for my colleagues considering the use for Facebook as a professional development platform. At some time soon I will post on using Facebook with students.

Facebook is used for social connections around the world, however it is also a great platform for professional development. Facebook has the capacity for you to “meet” others with similar interests and come together in “Groups” to discuss and share those interests. It is particularly important with Facebook that you understand and use your privacy settings so that you know who sees your posts. You also need to keep an eye on the Facebook settings because Facebook sometimes reverts things to defaults – especially what appears in your Newsfeed.

Fb1Getting started

1. Go to the Facebook website and sign up. Facebook expects you to use your own name and this is the preferred option anyway if you are using Fb for professional development. I have a second completely separate Fb account (using my work email) that I use for any student interaction.

2. Once you have signed up it is important to complete at least part of your profile ideally including an image (avatar). There is much discussion about what is appropriate in terms of images. If you are using Facebook largely for PD then a photo is probably best, alternatively a cartoon image that you can create with a tool such as Mangatar.

3. Now it’s time to start “Friending” people and/or joining Groups and posting! These are two  Facebook groups for VET sector educators:

  • VET Training and Assessment Networking opportunity for VET trainers and assessors across all Industry groups
  • FS Teach Specialist group for Foundation Skills (LLN and Employability Skills) practitioners

There are many other educator groups globally and a lot of these are cross-sectoral, here are just  few:

  • Educators using Facebook  For educators to share resources ,experiences ,teaching opportunities , educational innovations , best practices and other useful links with other educators
  • FacingIT   A group managed by Australian educators for anyone facing up to the challenges of using information technologies for communicating, teaching and learning.
  • Apps for Education  This group was started so that educators can share any apps that they use for education.

For industry connections look up your own industry area in the Facebook search to find groups relevant to your industry.

Some privacy and security points

I use one Facebook account for personal purposes and professional development. If you mostly use groups for your pd then your personal connections won’t get all your pd type posts. I use a second account to keep my student interaction separate and the two accounts are not “Friends” with one another.

It is particularly important with Facebook that you understand and use your privacy settings so that you know who sees your posts.

You also need to keep an eye on the Facebook settings because Facebook sometimes reverts things to defaults – especially what appears in your Newsfeed. If it doesn’t say “Viewing most recent stories” under the box where you type your post then you will be seeing “Top posts” ie the most popular. To correct this and see all posts from your connections go to the left hand column and look at the dropdown beside “Newsfeed” (top menu item under your avatar). Choose “Most recent” then you will see all posts from those you are connected to.

Your groups are listed on the left hand side, to see posts and to post in the groups you need to be on the group page.

Conclusion

This post is just about getting started and finding some potentially useful groups for professional development and networking. If you have any questions please  comment on this post and ask your question in the comment.

Session on Blogging at WAALC

This post contains most of the content from a workshop session on getting started with blogging and its potential with students that I presented at the WA Adult Literacy Council Conference on 17/4/15. Apologies for the length of the post – I just wanted to put all the content in one place! The slides are now uploaded to Slideshare.

Writing for the world out there

Blogging for you & your students – writing for an authentic audience. In today’s session we will look at:

  • What is a blog/blogging?
  • Why should we and our students blog?
  • Why comment on posts?
  • Ground rules.
  • The mechanics of blogging – getting started.

What is a blog/blogging

  • personal place
  • work/professional space
  • online journal/diary – ideas, PD, reflecting/sharing
  • self-publishing online for a global or specific audience
  • place to share media, resources etc
  • networking – commenting
  • online portfolio – developmental, evidential
  • submit tasks & get feedback


A look at some educator and student blogs:

The following images are from student blogs created during completion of Certificates in General Education for Adults. They show some of the evidence gathering activities for which the blogs were used.

Student work1 550px Student work3 550px Student work2 550px

Why we blog

Reasons to blog

 The “mechanics” of blogging

There are many blogging platforms, personally I use Edublogs for a number of reasons:

  • educator/student focus
  • can create and manage student blogs
  • good personalisation options
  • mobile friendly
  • excellent privacy/security options
  • outstanding support/help


Getting your blog

Go to the Edublogs signup page

Complete the details and submit the information. Once your blog has been created you will get a “Congratulations” message. This will contain your:

  • Blog URL
  • Username
  • Password

Make sure you write these down!

Then you can “Login to your new blog” and start customising it. Here are a couple of posts that might help:

When you are looking for a theme to change the appearance, be sure that you use a “Mobile friendly” one.

Creating Posts

Blogs are very individual so what and how you post is very much your own decision, however you might find the following posts helpful in getting started.

Blogging is not just about writing/text,you can embed a variety of media and other tools including:

as described in this post on embedding media

You can also upload various file types including:

  • Word
  • Powerpoint
  • Images

These can be linked to from posts for:

  • Assignment submission
  • Evidencing competence
  • Drafting and feedback

If you have questions or need help then please comment on this post.

 

Many webinars – recording links

Introduction

A catch-up of the recording links for  our webinars over the last few months.

Fine Focus (13/14 March 2014) – “Lucky Dip”

In this recorded session we discussed where we find interesting links and explored a few that have come up recently

Serendipity 20/21 March 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we briefly discussed and explored several topics;

  • the upcoming #RSCON mini-conference
  • Thinglink
  • Stocking up tablets with “goodies”

Fine Focus (27/28 March 2014) – “Inkscape – a graphics tool”

recorded session  in which we explored some of the features of Inkscape.

Serendipity 2/3 April 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we briefly discussed and explored the following:

  • “About.me” as a tool for self-publicising
  • Risks of having your online “identity” hijacked
  • Curing “writer’s block”

Fine Focus (9/10 April 2014) – “Tablet apps for learning”

recorded session  in which we shared and discussed some tablet apps that may be used for learning

Serendipity 23/24 April 2014

In this recorded session we looked at the following two topics chosen by poll from several suggested by participants:

  • “How to improve relations with parents)
  • “Benefits of being a blog follower”

Fine Focus (30 April/1 May 2014) – “Museums online”

recorded session  in which we explored and discussed some of the wealth of resources available online from major museums.

Serendipity 7/8 May 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we briefly discussed and explored three topics:

  • Using “Paper.li” why and how
  • Educator evaluations
  • Recording a holiday/tour

Fine Focus (14/15 May 2014) – “One page to tell about giftedness”

In this recorded session  Jo Freitag (@jofrei) talked with us about some of the characteristics of “giftedness” and shared many resources for educators working with gifted learners.

Serendipity 21/22 May 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we briefly digressed into sharing some of the highlights of our (@JoHart and @philhart)  road trip from WA to South Australia. We also discussed the following two topics:

  • Our most important sites to visit each day!
  • The importance of play in learning

Fine Focus (28/29 May 2014) – “The Benefits of Learning to Code”

This recorded session  was led by Phil Hart (@philhart). Phil has extensive experience in coding (as a long term IT consultant, systems analyst and software developer) and is also an educator and so is well placed to recognise and share the characteristics of coding as a discipline.

Serendipity 4/5 June 2014

This recorded Serendipity session was wide ranging and we touched on a variety of topics including: what an online toolkit looks like, some potential future topics for FineFocus sessions and what makes a good picture.

Fine Focus (11/12 June 2014) – “Fun sites for learning”

In this recorded session  we took a look  at some sites that might be described as “gamefied” and so could be engaging for students to access for learning purposes.

Serendipity 18/19 June 2014

This Serendipity session was a general chat including an update from one of our regular participants on some recent PD, how we review and reflect mid-year, celebrations/parties with students and “Serendipity block” – like writers’ block but when yu can’t think of a Serendipity topic 🙂

Conclusion

Once again I am finally up to date with posting webinar links. Sorry again for the short session descriptions.

Our Next Webinar

SerendipitybsmallOur next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday July 3 rd at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday July 4th at 7:00 am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues”. We post these on the whiteboard and then choose the topic for discussion by poll.

Edublogs Webinar overviews – Jan/Feb 2014

Introduction

A digest of  our recent webinars over the last few weeks. From now on time permitting I hope to return to posting a fuller overview or each webinar every week.

Serendipity 9/10 Jan 2014

In our first, recorded as always, Serendipity session of 2014 we talked about several topics. Often when we are a small group we choose to discuss more than one of the suggested topics. On this occasion we talked briefly about:

  • Password management programs
  • Getting organised and planning for the year ahead
  • Our thoughts about our own most memorable teacher

As sometimes happens one of the topics (password management) generated a lot of interest but none of us had very much knowledge so this became the topic for the following FineFocus with @philhart volunteering to facilitate the session.

Fine Focus (16/17 Jan 2014) – “Password Managers”

This week’s fantastic recorded session was a look at the pros and cons of password managers facilitated by @philhart we also shared a variety of links to password managers both cloud-based and downloadable.

Serendipity 23/24 Jan 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we discussed:

  • are cheap tablets worthwhile;
  • illustration programs;
  • latest e-gadgets

The discussion on cheap tablets centred mainly around features available and intended purpose. Our look at programs we might use for illustrations sent us as always in search of free ones and the discovery of some that were new to us – this has resulted in a couple of us who participated exploring Inkscape In the remaining time we talked briefly about any e-gadgets new to us we had heard about, “played with” recently or that we wish for!

Fine Focus (30/31 Jan 2014) – “Columbus Cheetah Myth Buster”

This was a fascinating, and very interactive, recorded session (the first of two – the second part will be on the 13/14 February). In the session @jofrei shared her extensive knowledge of some of the myths about giftedness. Jo has recently posted a series about busting the myths on “Sprites Site”.

Serendipity 6/7 Feb 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we discussed:

  • drawing on the PC;
  • some security issues

We shared some of our recent experiences of using drawing/illustration programs including Inkscape. The discussion on security was mainly about the phishing attempts of the “phone call from “a computer company”” and “email from “your bank”” type that still happen regularly with slightly new twists.

Conclusion

Once again I am finally up to date with posting webinar links. Sorry again for the short session descriptions.

Our Next Webinar

FineFocusSmallOur next webinar will be an Edublogs “FineFocus” session “Columbus Cheetah Myth Buster II” in which @jofrei will continue her story of myths about giftedness. This session is on Thursday Feb 13th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday Feb 14th at 7am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room.