Social media and reputation preservation!


This week Victorian media has been alive with the news of AFL (Australian Football League) recruit, Jake Carlisle, shown in a social media video where he appears to be snorting a line of white powder.  Leaked to the general media a day after he’d been signed to a new football club, this video actually came from the footballer’s own mobile phone and was distributed via his own SnapChat account.  A thoughtless action that has exposed his behaviour to the world and tarnished his reputation forever.

This is just one of the incidents our Year 9 Coordinator and I discussed today as we planned a digital citizenship program for Year 9 boys.  It’s essential that students have the opportunity to learn these skills.  To be effective, however, lessons should not be solely instruction or a one-off presentation from a visiting speaker, but should include time for students to have conversations with their peers.  They need time to exchange experiences and to clarify their own held beliefs if the message is to ‘stick’.

Enhancing Online Safety is the new website of the Australian Government – Office of the eSafety Commissioner.  It replaces the very popular ACMA Cyber[Smart] website and includes all the materials from that site.  This is an excellent resource for teaching digital citizenship to students at any year level.  Lesson plans and resources are organised in age-appropriate categories with videos and linked descriptions.

For example, the page Games, apps and social media: quick guide to social media sites and apps has links to 50+ sites popular with young people.  Knowledge and open discussion is easier when backed by quality information and this new site is a wealth of information.  Voluntary teacher certification is also available and will appeal to teachers who wish to build their own skills for teaching a digital citizenship program.

Enhancing Online Safety is a highly recommended resource.  The site is extensive and growing.  I suggest using the site map to support your exploration.  Students need to hear this message often and from many different angles if they are to become responsible in their online communications.  Digital citizenship instruction doesn’t address their behaviour but at least it may give them the chance to save their reputation for the time when they have matured and have their behaviour under control.

SLAV and ALIA collaborate on Bendigo conference

The newly refurbished Bendigo Branch Library of the Goldfields Library Services was recently the venue for a joint conference of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV).  See Rhonda’s Flickr album for further images.

Held on 1 May, the conference entitled Together we are stronger in building communities, was an opportunity for regional library professionals to participate in professional learning within their own community with presenters and topics largely related to the local region.

Use of the #slavconf Twitter hashtag which has become familiar to SLAV professional learning events, was embraced by delegates who used it to share ideas and resources with the broader community of followers. Some of the significant tweets from the conference provided a shapshot into the day.

The opening of the conference

Collaboration and resource sharing including the changing nature of libraries

Tania Berry’s presentation on Makerspaces

Digital Citizenship from the Alannah and Madeleine Foundation

The day was evidence of successful collaboration between school and public library sectors and augers well for future partnerships to benefit regional members in particular.

Presenters notes will be available online when the new SLAV website is launched at the next professional learning event, a SLAV/State Library of Victoria seminar, on 16 May.


Terms of Service; Didn’t Read

The most time-consuming part of evaluating web tools for educational use has got to be looking at the Terms of Service (also know as Terms of Use or Terms and Conditions). They can go on for pages, and are so often wrapped up in so much legalese that even if you manage to read to the end, there is no guarantee you will be any wiser. And yet we can’t just ignore them; it is our duty as educators and as digital citizens to protect rights and understand responsibilities online.

Wouldn’t it be great if  Google Translate could do something to convert ToS into Plain English? Well, Terms of Service; Didn’t Read might be just the web project we’ve been waiting for. ToS:DR (for short) are a user rights group aiming to rate and label website terms & privacy policies from “very good Class A to very bad Class E.”  As well as rating them, they are also providing a “thumbs up/thumbs down” report card that helps users better understand individual aspects of a service agreement. The report card is written in bullet point fashion but it is possible to expand the points for more detailed explanations, access the full terms of the web tool and there are discussion pages available behind each of the points.

ToS;DR is still very new (started in mid-2012) so the number of sites that have report cards are limited, but it is an excellent example of the positive change that can occur through global connectivity and collaboration, and the project is actively growing.

This is a grassroots project, created by citizens and volunteers who take their responsibilities very seriously; they engage in a peer-reviewed process of rating and analysing to create each rating, and they are committed to Creative Commons and Free Software licensing.

While this site does not take the place of legal advice, it does help users make some sense of the pages and pages of fine print before we click, and ultimately that offers us the chance to make better online choices.

Untangling the Web with Aleks Krotoski

Aleks Krotoski is an academic,  psychologist and journalist who writes about the impact of technology on our lives. Aleks’ upcoming book Untangling the Web: What the Internet is Doing to You, explores the ways the web can influence our relationships and change our perceptions of ourselves and others.

Aleks is in Australia as the inaugural speaker for the Digital Society series at the State Library of Victoria (tickets are still available for both free events on May 20 & May 21). We were lucky enough to speak to Aleks about her work. You can listen to the full interview below, as Aleks explores the importance of cultivating an online persona,  the tension that exists between our private and public selves and the importance of information literacy. She also shares her ambition to own a full set of the 1974 Encyclopaedia Britannica.


Portrait of ASeks Krotoski © Kevin MeredithShow notes and links:

Aleks’ online reporter’s notebook for Untangling the Web

Aleks Krotoski on Twitter

Aleks’ Tech Weekly podcast series

Aleks interviews T. Mills Kelly on Lying about the past

Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger (Amazon)

Google’s Eric Schmidt: The Internet needs a delete button  



Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

Andrew Churches has developed this fantastic interpretation of Bloom’s taxonomy for the digital era.


His wiki also contains a number of PDFs that include more information about the taxonomy as well as comprehensive presentations.

This chart, which features on the wiki, is an excellent ready reference for you to see how tasks such as commenting on blogs fits into Bloom’s taxonomy.

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy Concept map

There is much more to explore in this informative and broad wiki. Thank you to Andrew for permission to feature his wiki here.

Digital citizenship continuum

The Living Sky School Division in Canada has developed and shared an excellent digital citizenship continuum for students, parents and teachers. Covering students from pre-K to year 12, this public document covers topics such as:

  • responsible use of information
  • safety
  • communication
  • education
  • access

Screen shot 2010-10-04 at 2.34.05 PM

What a great idea to include teachers and parents in this document to encourage good modelling of digital citizenship at home and at school. Well worth a look.

Nine elements of digital citizenship

The Digital citizenship: using technology appropriately website has recently published a post on the nine elements of digital citizenship. Each element is described in detail on the site. The elements include:

  1. Digital etiquette
  2. Digital communication
  3. Digital literacy
  4. Digital access
  5. Digital commerce
  6. Digital law
  7. Digital rights and responsibilities
  8. Digital health and well-being
  9. Digital security

Please access this excellent site for more information, ideas and support.

Make, Share, Do Smackdown wiki

The final session of the School Library Association of Victoria Make, Share, Do conference held on Friday 30th July was a smackdown. A wiki was developed with resources for people interested in accessing resources for:

  • information fluency
  • digital citizenship
  • digital storytelling
  • reading 2.0
  • network building

Screen shot 2010-08-01 at 10.21.27 PM

Wallwisher walls were developed for each topic with conference delegates encouraged to add their own favourite sites, tools and ideas.

Tom March @ ACEC 2010

Apologies for not publishing this post earlier. Last school holidays, Tom March was a keynote speaker at the ACEC 2010 conference. His presentation was terrific and the notes worthy of sharing (even if somewhat tardy!)

It’s broke, so fix it: remaking education for our digital era.

From a kid’s perspective, let’s get this stuff working.
Links can be found at

Strategies mentioned are all based on research. As educators today, we face some problems such as:

  • Technology: in the beginning, the internet was old ideas in a new platform.
  • Concepts now for personal learning.
  • Technology is being used everywhere, except for school.
  • There is so much control of student use of computers. However, filtering is a non issue as kids have unfiltered access outside of school.
  • Culture: now rich and personalised resources.
  • Shouldn’t be mass produced factory type of learning.
  • Schools in Georgia have 21 streams K-2.
  • Challenges? National Curriculum.
  • OECDs new millenium learner.
  • Schools should be where people are there because they want to be.
  • What institution exists where everyone who is there wants to be there? Where no one gets paid, mistakes are fixed by the community. It is Wikipedia.
  • Educators are too cautious.
  • There is a culture of distrust. Both of the user and the audience.
  • We need to be aware of mass production vs crowd sourced.
  • Motivation is currently negatively influenced by goals, evaluations and surveillance.
  • Intrinsic motivation is needed for superior conceptual understanding, further study likely, positive feelings.
  • If wikipedia can go from 0 to 3000000 in 10 years, why don’t schools learn from this?
  • Focus: need to focus due to everything being available.
  • Internet: Amusing? Intriguing? Building Knowledge?! Innovating solutions!
  • Are we always chasing the new? We should be transforming education.
  • Problem solving, creating, challenge based learning, authentic task.
  • In an age of unparalleled access to information, what do we do to help our children learn? They need
  1. Autonomy
  2. Competance
  3. Relatedness = motivation
  • Schools often undermine this.
  • Schools don’t really offer choice for students to follow what they are interested in.
  • If students are able to follow what they are interested in, then there is increased retention, higher order thinking skills, future interest, better mental health.
  • Critical thinking, habits of mind.
  • Self designed projects. Joy of learning.
  • Students need jobs (as per Alan November) add manage RSS feeds, etc.
  • We need to be knowledge building, innovative, learning pathways.
  • Danish pupils use web in exams (year 12) create and problem solve.

Is our solution something like wikipedia (everyone contributes) or ipad (already made by someone else)?

  • Choice
  • Effort
  • Quality
  • Attitude
  • Labour of
  • Love

We need to give responsibility and joy for learning back in student hands.

  • Authentic choices allow autonomy.
  • Effort and self esteem, competancy based. Real learning.
  • Connectedness and audience means quality.
  • Attitude, learner control, valuable.
  • Labour of love. They do it and do it well because they love it.
  • Happiness. Self assessment guide via a rubric.
  • Responsibility for self management.

There are some ideas worth pursuing here and Daniel Pink’s new book Drive may help explain why student motivation is so important to their success.

Songsmith: create your own songs

This free new trial Microsoft download is attempting to take on Apple’s excellent Garageband, and is a great way for students to create copyright free music quickly and easily. This download is a trial and enables users a total of six hours use, plenty of time to create lots of songs and identify if it is worth purchasing.

Microsoft explains:

Get your first taste of songwriting.

Songsmith Note Character

Ever sing in the car? Maybe in the shower? You know who you are. Admit it, you like to sing, and you like music. Ever thought of writing your own music? Most people never get a chance to try… but we want to give everyone a piece of the songwriting experience, so we’ve developed Songsmith, an application that lets you create a complete song just by singing! Are we going to turn you into an award-winning songwriter overnight? Of course not. But Songsmith will give you a way to create something authentically musical and authentically yours, even if you don’t know the first thing about chords or music theory.

It’s as simple as clicking “record”.

Songsmith Note Character

Just open up Songsmith, choose from one of thirty different musical styles, and press record. Sing whatever you like – a birthday song for Mom, a love song for that special someone (they’ll be impressed that you wrote a song for them!), or maybe just try playing with your favorite pop songs. As soon as you press “stop”, Songsmith will generate musical accompaniment to match your voice, and play back your song for you. It’s that simple.

Songsmith is for musicians too.

Songsmith Note Character

For songwriters, is Songsmith going to replace the craft of songwriting? Never. Could it be a super-useful “intelligent scratchpad” for exploring new melodies and ideas? Definitely. If you’re a songwriter, you’ve probably had the experience of coming up with a melody and finding the nearest object with a “record” button on it just to get your idea down. Imagine that first quick experience also letting you explore chord progressions, styles, even basic arrangement ideas. Then of course you’d work with other tools, other people, your instruments, and your own musical intuition to really develop a song. But Songsmith can be a great tool that lets you quickly explore new ideas in places where you couldn’t before (on the go, on the bus, in the airport, etc.). And Songsmith works great with instrumental input too!

Make it your song.

Songsmith Note Character

Of course, Songsmith’s ideas might not be exactly what you want for your song. It’s music after all, and there’s no single right answer. So Songsmith not only comes up with music for your song, but puts you in the driver’s seat by letting you customize the chords and arrangement for your song, even if you’ve never heard of “chords” before. Move the “happy” and “jazzy” sliders around to get the chords you want. Lock the chords you like and let Songsmith change the ones you don’t. Set up your own custom band. Make it your song!

What can I do with the songs I make?

Songsmith Note Character

Save your songs as audio files to send to your friends and family or post online at social networking sites. Share your Songsmith files with your friends so they can put their ideas into your songs. Even create music videos!

Rich instrument sounds make all the difference.

Songsmith Note Character

We’ve partnered with one of the industry’s finest digital instrument producers –Garritan – and one of the leading developers of computer synthesizers – Plogue– to provide rich instrumentation for your song. These instruments are the real deal, and you can judge for yourself over at our music page. Change the instruments as much as you like, and if you want even more professional sounds, Songsmith will help you buy additional instruments from Garritan.

A tool really worth investigating as creating copyright free music for presentations is a big issue for schools to address. Songsmith can help you. A nice way to teach digital citizenship as well.