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Category Archives: Internet

An example of what resumes could begin to look like…

Christopher Penn, the Chief Technology Officer of the Student Loan Network, has posted online what could be the resume of the future. This interactive, online resume, includes a video introduction embedded in the center of the page (which I’ve embedded below here for you to see), a written introduction below, links to his websites and blogs on the left side as well as all the ways to contact him on the right (including AIM, Skype, and Twitter).

This could completely revolutionize the way our students find jobs in the future, as well as the importance of their digital footprint. I’m totally intrigued… there go the next couple days of my life as I begin to piece together my own πŸ™‚

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To close out our Web 2.0 unit (that didn’t get nearly as much time as I would have liked), we are going to be discussing Internet Footprints for the next two days. In retrospect this should have absolutely been done first thing, because we’ve actually been changing their footprints throughout the unit as we became more involved in online discussion and conversation.

The goal of teaching the idea of an Internet Footprint is to get students to think about EVERYTHING they create online. The idea that what they put on their MySpace profile can affect college and job options in the future, your blog can be found and looked at by ANYONE, not just your intended audience. Comments you leave on other blogs and VoiceThreads wlll reflect on you, and again can be read by many more than what you originally expect.

But the question I’m struggling with is how much of your Internet Footprint do you really control? Clearly you have most of the control over your MySpace profile, but what about pictures that others tag of you, or comments that others leave on your page? Yes, you have control over your blog, but what about others who reference your blog in theirs? That becomes part of your Internet Footprint, because when someone googles your name, that web site will also appear. I have a picture that was taken at a American University basketball game where I look ridiculous decked out in my red, white and blue that was featured in a recent EagleBlog post. While I did pose for the picture, I didn’t have any control whether or not it appeared online. But again, that has become part of my Internet Footprint. So where is the focus when we teach this? Simply on what we are posting online, or the idea that the Internet is everywhere. We have to be aware everywhere because you never know what could end up online, and eventually impact your Internet Footprint?

I would love thoughts on this, and how to teach it, before we dive in next week!

I received an e-mail from a KIPP listserve I’m on that made me think…

“I also recommend using technology to block myspace, facebook and other social networking sites – make sure that you are also blocking proxies which allow people to bypass your firewalls and access those sites.”

What this e-mail suggests is that we take two things that many of our kids love, and spend a ton of time on at home, and do whatever we can to completely remove them from our schools. Our instinct when we hear the words ‘MySpace’ and ‘Facebook’ is to quickly block them at our schools because most students are not using these tools properly. Isn’t it our job to teach them? Not just about math, english, history and science, but about life? The choices they’re making on MySpace and Facebook at home are life choices that have the potential to put them in danger and lose their jobs and future opportunities, or at the very least cause some embarrasment and regret about pictures posted and comments made. Yet we, as their teachers, do nothing but try as hard as we can to completely block them from all school computers.

Here’s my thought (and I’d love to know yours): What if our curriculums actually included a unit where we explicitly taught MySpace? That’s right, we teach them how to use MySpace in our schools. We could teach everything from how to create a page, how to design it, how to upload pictures, how to ‘friend’ people, and how to then communicate with other MySpace users. The students would understand that coming in to school every day they would be bringing up their MySpace profile on school computers. My guess is, even if there were no school created regulations as to what content they could include on their MySpace page, they would naturally become more selective in what they include, knowing they would pull it up on a computer screen in a classroom with 20 other teammates and a teacher. Isn’t that what we want to teach them? That their profile is actually public, despite how private it feels in the comfort of their own home?

In this curriculum other uses for MySpace could be introduced. When they teach themselves about MySpace at home and with their friends, the most appealing use is for socializing. However, there are a ton of ways MySpace could be used for educational purposes. Imagine if people created groups based around shared interest in books, and then pursued discussions with other students, at other schools, all over the country? What if those interested in music could share ideas and upload songs they themselves had created? What if students interested in poetry creation and performance uploaded VoiceThreads with their own poetry performances? (If you don’t know what VoiceThread is, check this out!)

My fear is that MySpace has turned into what it is (as Miletha, one of my 8th graders, described, ‘A place that is truly ours, with no rules and no adults watching’) because of a lack of explicit instruction about what it looks like to create an appropriate, or productive, MySpace page.

I guess the bottom line is that I detest the idea of taking the tools that engage our students the most OUT of our schools, instead of implementing them INSIDE our schools to help our students become succesful academically, and in life.

Blogs as coffee shops…

My thoughts on blogging mentioned yesterday were perfectly summarized in this brilliant blog post from a blog titled “Markitude: Commentary on the trappings of my life”.

http://markitude.wordpress.com

Thought I’d include it here:

People congregate to share ideas.

In urban areas, the coffee shop maybe a favored location to exchange ideas with people in person, or more frequently, online. Forums have been an online fixture, along with newsgroups for many years, and people with common interests tend to gravitate to these areas. Blogs traffic can come from a variety of sources, referrals from other blogs, search engine keywords that occurred in a post, or through referrals from the blog hosting site (hot blogs, next blog, top blogs, etc) based on traffic volumes. As a small sidebar, this latter method tends to be self fulfilling in that once a blog makes it to that list, simply being on the list will drive more traffic. If the blog is interesting, it will stay on the list in seeming perpetuity, ala Scobleizer. If not, then it will cycle through once all the casual clickers have found it, taken a peek and moved on.

Those that stay, and come back day after day appear to do so because of an affinity to the author or the subject of the blog. Posts start a conversation between the blogger and any audience member who chooses to comment, as expected. But then something more interesting can occur. Commenters, begin to have discussions amongst themselves within the comment threads, leaving one comment related to a previous comment rather than the original blog entry. It’s not just a many to one relationship with the blogger, but rather interaction amongst the commenting community. When the same small group of commenters are present day in and out, does the subject blog begin to take on the aspects of a social destination, a virtual coffee house? Are the visiters there for the coffee, or the venue and other patrons?

AKA: Create Your Own Newspaper

I was lucky enough to have two teachers visit my classroom today who were pretty inquisitive about both the hardware in the room (hard to ignore a beautiful SmartBoard with a wall mounted projector) and the content the students were tackling. One of them questioned if I was a ‘blogger’, and, while totally unintentionally, implied that there were certain people, or types of people, who blogged. I became totally intrigued by the perceptions of the ‘outside’ world as to who blogs, and for what purpose.

While I think it’s true there used to be a very small, specific community of people who blogged (in my mind they looked like your traditional techie who sat in a dark room and never left their computers, however not having been a blogger until recently I’m not entirely sure who they were), the idea of worldwide blogging is so powerful when thinking about communication, so many more have jumped aboard. KIPP NEEDS TO BE NEXT!

There are so many great things going on in so many of our schools across the country, but minus a few cross-campus visits every year, and of course KIPP Summit, our ideas and innovative approaches to teaching our content often stay within our schools. While KIPP teachers are famous for working hard, we need to start taking advantage of technology to work smarter. Here’s where blogging comes in…

There are these brilliant inventions available for free on the web now called AGGREGATORS. Many of you may even be using one and not know it (think iGoogle). They have the power to organize all your favorite websites and blogs on one convenient page (that can also easily be set as your homepage) and feed you new updates as soon as they’re posted. This allows you to see new blog posts to all your favorite blogs in a matter of seconds, all on one page. Now bear with me here…

Picture if a lot of the brilliant minds leading KIPP schools, and teaching in KIPP schools, started blogging. Doesn’t have to take much time, even small posts with random thoughts about school culture, middle-school social life, and brilliant misunderstandings that hit you mid-lesson and you wish you had prepared for. Now KIPP teachers nationwide open up Internet Explorer (or Firefox or Safari for all you brilliant Mac users) and see your post pop-up. Maybe it doesn’t relate to them or doesn’t interest them, so they ignore it. But for many blog posts, there will be many teachers who are immediately intrigued by what they see and venture to read the whole post. Now they add their own comments to the post, and BAM! A discussion is born. So easy, and SO beneficial to everyone involved. The blogger now has an audience outside their own school. The reader now has resources and conversation bringing in different perspectives. Either way, we’re communicating with each other, and continuing to think about how we can do what we do better. Isn’t that what we’re all about? Why should it be limited to 4 days each year at Summit?

While it’s easy to set up, and you’ll quickly fall in love, the bigger picture of cross-school communication can’t happen in a meaningful way until we get more (ideally 100%) of our teachers aggregating, and many of our leaders and teachers blogging. So here’s where to start:

http://www.netvibes.com (if you want to check out my public aggregator to see what it looks like when it’s set up, here’s the link to the one I use in my classroom with my kids. http://www.netvibes.com/saltinerockstars Saltine Rockstars is the name of our Tech Team, and the tab called Saltine Rockstars is a collection of all their blogs… I HIGHLY encourage you to check them out and leave comments… they need help understanding there IS a real audience out there! There’s also some education blogs on there to get you started… I’m working on making a public aggregator for KIPP this weekend, so I’ll put that up here when it’s created)

Here’s a quick video to show you how to actually subscribe to blogs/websites once you’ve set up your aggregator/reader. This one is showing Bloglines (another aggregator), but it works the same way:

If you want to start a blog, I use http://www.wordpress.com, but there’s a ton of other providers out there.

Also helpful, http://blogsearch.google.com/ can help you find a variety of blogs to get your aggregator started.