Archive for Social Networks
June 19, 2008
Today I did a session at our annual principal’s conference on social networking. Since the vast majority of tools like MySpace, Facebook, and even professional networks like Classroom 2.0 are blocked, I took the stance that we as educators must educate ourselves and our parents, especially in light of how issues stemming directly from student online interaction seems to find its way into our classrooms, guidance offices, right up to the administrators desks. I’ve presented at the conference several years, but usually in the morning. I was taken aback by the “ghost-town” feeling I had for my 2PM afternoon session. I had roughly fifteen participants. One lady assured me that my topic was popular and relevant, but after lunch folks attending this conference seem to find to “other” things to do. Factor in that it is the next to last day, and well, the lure of the beach was calling too. But honestly, when I attend conferences, I go to 90% of the offerings, and many times you can find me near the front row if I can get to a session early enough. Does this make me an uber-geek? Even in my session today, only one participant sat near the front. This was a new experience for me.
Don’t Preach to the Choir
My attendees seemed generally complimentary, and even one of the conference directors greeted me warmly by name when I arrived. But today I was a wee bit disappointed. Our SC State Department of Education library liaison (Martha Alewine) encourages us to get out and speak at different conferences besides our own. She suggests if we are to gain respect in the field, we must stop “preaching to the choir” (presenting to ourselves at our own conference) and branch out and spread our message about information literacy, ICT, and standards-based collaboratively taught engaged learning by presenting at other conferences. What better way to market what you as the teacher librarian have to offer the school and its curriculum? We must help the teacher population see that we can address standards and impact student achievement.
Spread our Message, Support our Colleagues
I generally try to present at our state edtech conference (SCEdTech), the middle school conference (if I remember to do the proposal), and this one. There are not very many “techy” sessions at this conference, as my friend Dennis Richards has noted before, and from his post here, this goes all the way up to the national level. I really like SCASA’s SLI, as I strongly feel administrators are the ones who MOST misunderstand what should be happening in a library, particularly a 21st Century Library. They are also in a position to “from the top down” help us become more of a collaborating and contributing partner for student learning. In years past, I’ve had wonderful reception and positive feedback from my sessions. My session today was later than I’d ever had before, 2PM. I never expected such a low turnout. It was quite frankly a little disheartening.
I Solemnly Promise…
I promise to all future presenters who draw an afternoon or late presentation I will strive to attend if I’m at the conference. Been there, done that. I know what if feels like now to present to an empty room. I’d have liked to have been out on the beach today too. I especially thank the ones who came.
June 18, 2008
I hate when presenters ask the Twitter Networks to simply say hello to their audiences. I do like it when I’m asked to say hello and tell where I’m from, though, as this shows how far and wide reaching your network is. And I like it even better when folks ask for an opinion or idea along with this warm greeting, which is what did today for a workshop I did today in Columbia, SC. (I asked for folks to tell why networks are powerful.) I had recently been far removed from Twitter for assorted reasons, and so was a wee bit scared no one would comply. Network, you absolutely amaze me. And my participants were super impressed too. It was funny to be able to read through the greetings and be able to tell the group an anecdotal comment about how each and every one has expanded my knowledge and expertise in some way. Thanks for coming thorugh for me today.
April 24, 2008
After reading Clay Burell today and seeing his Tweet Cloud, I decided to rerun mine from earlier. Why would I want to revisit something that has seemingly caused unrest and turmoil? Well first off, it is now a meme thanks to Clay. I don’t know, but my earlier stab at a tweet cloud was ran without including my @ symbol. That is really not a fair representation, because according to the new Tweet Cloud where I did include it, I spend the vast majority of my Twitter posts using that little symbol we know as “at.” So this is probably a truer representation of my tweets because I have a tendency to respond to my network rather than lead, self promote, or introduce them to my ideas or ways of thinking. Anyhow I’m proud to see that my Tweet Cloud shows this! I don’t have to say it, and you don’t have to believe it. Let my tweet cloud speak for its self.
Oh and <blush> the word “form” made it! My keyboard will not type “from.”
And last, speaking of those in my network who “tweet” new blog posts, I say THANKS. I love getting this preview before it hits the readers. It is like a sneak peek of something that has not been released, and my opinion is valued so much so that I got an early invitation. It makes the post even more special to me. So please keep them coming. Also, remember all the confessions lately where some have allowed twitter to replace their reader? And I confess too–once I am behind by 300+ new posts, I mark all as read and pray that my Twitter network has kept me in the loop. So far that has worked well.
Yes, this is much more reflective of my Twitter use, for good or bad.
UPDATE: Twitter Cloud Poetry:
friends from fun
today tomorrow tonight
tools trying tools twitter
class cld come comment
students sure talk
These are certainly some interesting strings of words….
LARGE words strung together:
blog day no need network new pix post thanks time today twitter – Now someone make me a prolific and memorable sentence.
April 21, 2008
I suppose with the warm air and a change in my wardrobe (and the realization that this last summer’s pants don’t fit this spring’s rear (what a difficult confession!), I am making some small changes.
A Photogenic Adjustment
One of those changes has to do with my Twitter presence. I decided I was tired of the avatar I used there (same one as this blog avatar.). I sought and looked for another picture to use, and so began studying other avatars. I found that I was somewhat put off by the avatars that were comics or vague representations, not that there is anything wrong with that. Since my original avatar has been a real picture of me, I decided to find another one.
70,71,72…80 Degrees Fahrenheit
It is spring here in South Carolina, and most days are now in the mid 70s. We are starting to get a few in the 80s, though I wish they’d be centered more on the weekends. So I went looking in my picture stash for another picture of me–one that shows how much I love the warm air and the sea. FOUND IT!
So here is a little background on my Twitter Avatar and the redecorated Twitter page. When in San Diego for NECC in 2006, my family and I went on one of the boat tours. We went right under the Coronado Bridge. I have some fantastic pictures from this trip. It was the first time we (my family and I) went out west, and we made a 10 day vacation of the event, with NECC mixed in the middle. We were in Los Angeles for a few days, and then drove the Pacific Coast Highway to San Diego, where we stayed for the remainder of the trip. The boat tour was one of my favorite parts of the trip. So I’ve decorated my Twitter page with a shot of the bridge (that I suppose you cannot appreciate unless you use my page to “direct message” me.)
Is it a Waste of Time?
Why waste time on such an insignificant post and presence on the web, when so many use Twhirl or mobile phones to Twitter? I don’t know, except that I did have someone recently tell me how he looks at others pages–checks to see if they have any real creativity, as it will show on the Twitter page. So there. I have almost always kept that site reflective of me, my interests, and perhaps my limited creative streak.
Yes, a personal time-waster no doubt. But I felt the need to explain myself. I am still feeling a need to redefine myself. Wonder what else I can do? Oh, and yes, its probably a fluff piece in my blog too, since it really is trivial in interest or importance. I suppose this is my manifestation of spring fever.
What’s your spring fever doing to you?
They all belong to me or my son #2
April 14, 2008
I’m a Twitter Fan
Many know that I am a fan of Twitter. But honestly it is an “after-hours” tool for the most part for me. Twitter is blocked at school, and unless I want to ask a question to my network of Twitter friends during the work day, I don’t have time to login to the filter and then login to Twitter to follow it. My portal allows presence for a short window of time, and who wants to continuously login into the filter to follow it–it is more of a burden to check Twitter at school than the effort is worth, unless I have a question I know I can get answered there.
A Positive Example
Here is an example of how I have really used Twitter at school–a need I knew Twitter could quickly offer assistance with:
And as expected, I received several suggestions in a short amount of time to meet my need. Check it out:
So how many is too many?
Recently I’ve gotten many requests to follow seemingly strangers from Twitter. In the last three days there were 25. I’ve tried to figure out if there was a rhyme or reason, like maybe someone in a workshop demonstrated the power of having a Twitter network, or had the participants create an account and follow anyone in their presenter’s network. I really don’t know. But I thought I would just share how I decide to add people to my network, the ones I can rely on for feedback, support, or quick answers.
How to Cultivate a Network in Twitter
- Does anyone else in my network seem to interact with them? This is easy to see because when I click on their page, I can see the @ on the page. Have to be leery of those using the @ with Will Richardson, David Warlick, and maybe even David Jakes because these guys just do not follow many people. The @ does NOT mean they are interacting, though. It could simply mean they are a “wannabe” friend in Twitter. But in their favor, they are likely twittering about topics of interest if those names appear. Higher attention gets paid to @’s that are from my existing network.
- On that same page, I see what information is provided in the profile. Okay I need to make a disclaimer here. I realize people do not always include a lot of specifics. I guess the fear that they will be known in person makes some people use creative names and and strive for anonymity, but gosh darn, if I can’t tell what your professional context is (i.e. educator, etc.) I may just not follow you. Here, though, is a prime example of who I would NEVER follow (whose identity I tried to protect, though I’m guessing this person would not care.):
- From the profile I always look at the bio and the number of followers/following. In this example, you can see he or she has questionable (at least to me) hobbies, and is following 25,000+ people. How can anyone follow that many people and get anything out of Twitter?
- Also note for so many people this person is following, he or she has only updated 45 times. Since I use Twitter to interact with other educators, and add to my own learning as well, I don’t see this person making much of a contribution.
- I would go so far as to say these are the people that cause schools to filter tools like Twitter. Glad I can lay off these kind of people. I’m not so sure a middle schooler could though…so I do not argue that Twitter is blocked at school. I’m just glad I have a way access it for needs like the one outlined above.
So what do I want?
I want those in my network who suggest their friends who are new to Twitter follow anyone in their network PLEASE give them an introduction of sorts. If I hear it from you, then I might follow them. Otherwise, I’m content to stay with the group who currently resides in my Twitter network. I am stingy in giving out Twitter “love” (by adding unknown folks.) So if you want me to reconsider you’d better start interacting with others in my network.
Last, Twitter offers the option to make your profile and updates secure. I have done that at one time, but don’t anymore. If I get twitter @’s from people who make me uncomfortable, I block them which is also an option available in the tool. It makes me sad that there are people who get satisfaction from using a tool like Twitter in this way. I blocked this person right away.
Anyone have more tips for using Twitter as a networking tool?
April 8, 2008
Been looking at tweetclouds for some. This mashup (if that’s what it is called) is enlightening, and shows what our tweets are primarily centered on. By looking at my cloud, I must promote Twitter quite a bit, since that word is most frequently used in my tweets. ??? I know I ask for “hello’s” on an infrequent basis, but oh geez, is that what I’m known for in Twitter? <redfaced> In my own defense, when I ask for shoutouts, I usually ask for folks to make a contribution to what I’m presenting. The last time I did this I asked for folks to say hello and say how they use RSS. I got some powerful hellos and great fodder to use in my session no less. So I don’t particularly think I wasted anyone’s time, and my attendees loved it–Many of them went right home and jumped in twitter. Oh well. Might explain why some of my former followers, like the now infamous David Jakes, have dropped me. I hereby declare to make more quality contributions to the conversation in Twitter in 140 characters or less. Now who will hold me accountable?
February 27, 2008
This evening I was an invited guest speaker for a Charleston, SC high school (Wando High School–Charleston County School District) who had a terrific parent workshop for social networking and teens. I conducted my same portion in November at my own school, and was asked by one of the two LMS’s (Emilie Woody and Laura Judson) to visit their school and present the same content at their school. I said I would, but I made some recommendations that they used whole-heartedly. When I had mine at my school, I was the sole speaker. (In my defense, my session was only to be 30 minutes, and parents could attend 3 of about six planned workshop topics.) But when all the parents came to mine first, my principal asked me to do a 45 minutes session, and then opened it up for parents to ask questions. (We had a good event, but I knew it could have been better. I had only prepared for a brief session that I would supposedly repeat a couple of times that evening, and it was adjusted on the spot to be much more. Although I wasn’t fully prepared for what i was asked to do, we used collective wisdom of the audience to generate answers to questions asked.)
So I suggested to Emilie, my primary contact, that the workshop needed to have a panel, and that panel needed to have a variety of representation, including perhaps teachers, parents, guidance counselors, perhaps administrators, school resource officer, any one that may have dealt with issues related to teens and social networking. Emilie put together a fantastic expert panel that went way beyond even what I was suggesting. The panel included me and:
- Kat Hagood, a computer forensic expert
- Kristin Millonzi, an attorney
- Sgt. Trish Taylor, Charleston County Police Department expert on online safety
- Lisa Poston, college admissions advisor (Citadel, I believe)
- Dr. Chris Starr, parent & Computer Science Professor, College of Charleston
- Susan Shrankle, therapist, social worker, author of What in the World are Your Kids Doing Online.
- and Four OUTSTANDING senior students who came from a variety of backgrounds, including average teen, academic scholar, female athlete, and student government representative type.
We began the evening with a dinner that was catered by the Wando High School culinary arts students. What an awesome way to include other organizations in a program! Even though these kids and their instructors were not directly involved in the program, they planned and executed a meal that I swear was restaurant quality, and they fed us in their “bistro,” a small dining room that allowed the panelists to chat and get to know each other before the event. That was a wise move as it put us at ease on stage, and allowed us to see what expertise we were bringing to the panel, and also let us know who may be better qualified to answer posed questions. A wise move indeed.
I am not a good counter for activities, but there was an auditorium FULL of interested community members and parents. I spoke for roughly 35 minutes, and then it was turned over to the panel. Many parents and community members came and asked a lot of great questions that were easily answered by the panel experts. At just before 9:00, Emilie had to tell the lines of parents at the microphones we would only be able to entertain three more questions. But she promised the crowd that plans were underway to have another similar event in the fall. Parents were very pleased with the activity, and students were also pleased to have a voice in the discussion, both from the audience and the panel.
The absolute BEST part of the night had to be the students on the panel. They were the true “experts” in the mix, and they were absolutely amazing. The panel Emilie put together was made up of authorities on the topic that represented groups impacted by social networking. I grabbed some great ideas for the next time I conduct this workshop.
My hope in writing this post tonight (I started it late last night, and am finishing tonight) is that other educators (be it LMS’s, teachers, administrators, or whatever organization works with kids and is responsible for learning) will be able to read about last night’s parent workshop, and create their very own very successful workshop. See her flier too–it’s really cool. myspaceflyer2.pdf
February 19, 2008
Thursday I am slated to be a “Career Day” presenter at my school. I’m sure many of you have experienced a day where students are scheduled to hear guest speakers, and this week at school we have a bevy of career exploration opportunities for our students to participate in. Today we had a slew of visitors that spoke auditorium-style. They were community leaders that our 8th graders could turn to and that was the gist of the motivational speeches. Tomorrow we have over 100 8th grade students scheduled to shadow or apprentice adults at their jobs. We also have roughly 30 students coming in to “interview” staff members about their job and how or why they chose it as a career. Thursday we are having shorter sessions where students can rotate to 25 minute sessions where more career representatives are coming, and I’ve been asked to give three sessions on the career field of education. I didn’t want to seem like I wasn’t a team player, so of course I graciously said yes. But our kids, well, they already know me. Many of them have already heard “my” story. What’s a girl to do? My fear was that my session would be challenging b/c they would not have any questions for me or worse, would not choose my sessions. So, in 21st century learner style, I have chosen once again to ask my network to rescue me! My plans are to open up my Skype at school, and have guest speakers that my kids will not know speak to their choice of education as a career. Maybe I can even figure out a way to make it possible for students to ask questions too. We’ll see. Bill Gaskins of Carvers Bay Middle in a neighboring district is going to skype me tomorrow for something different, so it will be a perfect opportunity for me to “test” this before the big day.
Oh! You want to know who is virtually coming via skype? Let’s see:
Carolyn Foote, School Library Media Specialist, Austin, TX
Lisa Parisi, Elementary 5th Grade Teacher, Long Island, New York
Alec Couros, Ed. Tech Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Marcie Hull, Art teacher/Media Services, Science Leadership Academy, Philadelphia, PA
Zac Chase, High School English Teacher, Science Leadership Academy, Philadelphia, PA
Chrissy Hellyer, Year 7 Teacher, Taradale Intermediate School, Taradale, Napier, New Zealand
Doug Johnson, Director of Media and Technology at the Mankato (MN) public schools
I’m also hoping to snag David Jakes (though i do not have a commitment as of yet-just a twitter dm beg and an email request.) Here’s to crossing my fingers! [UPDATE Wed PM: David has conflicts in his schedule, but did graciously participate in my trial of using Skype at school from a PC so I could make sure video and audio would be good on both ends. Thanks Dave! I primarily use a MAc w/ Skype, but only have access to a PC at school.]
Image: ‘Dr. Adam‘
Image: ‘Question mark‘
January 23, 2008
I’m still reeling with the knowledge that my wonderful advisor from the University of South Carolina, Dr. Donna Shannon, is reading my blog. This just blows me away! Look at the bottom of this email she sent me:
W00T! Best of all she wants me to “virtually” join her SLIS 761 class to talk about Web 2.0 Tools with current students and educators working towards school library media specialist certification. Ain’t technology grand! She assures me since I use Skype, it will be fairly simple! I remember my days in library school and having visitors (back then it was not really done virtually other than one tv studio to another–i can’t believe I think that is so old school now!!) The visitors for the most part were highly successful practicing educators in the field. One of my favorites was a class where we had the “standards” folks in charge of testing from our very own state department of education. That was a powerful class. Lots of great discussion about “the test.”
So now I’m slated to be that practicing educator who will visit the class to offer words of wisdom. Oh geesh am qualified? I still feel like I’m such a beginner, learning new things in on-the-job training everyday.
So I ask you, my collective brainpower here in the blogosphere! What 2.0 tools do you think I should share and focus on? Blogs? Readers? RSS? Twitter? Social Networks? Aye-aye-aye where do I begin? Maybe I should regenerate and tweak an old preso? Let’s hear it! What do U think oh-collective-brainpower that I know as MY NETWORK!!
PS–You better believe I did a spell-check and proofed this one folks! I have a reader who can hold me accountable!
Image: Doctor Donna Shannon, Ph.D.
January 3, 2008
Now I’ve heard it all! I think I may be allergic to work, but allow me to explain. I am new at a school that just underwent a major renovation. The library acquired a state of the art video production studio and new shelving. The office was carpeted along with the renovations. This was finalized on November 8th, and I was allowed to begin scheduling the studio for use. We jumped in with both feet and never looked back.
Then the gradual discomfort and itching began. I attributed it to allergies in general, after all who wasn’t walking around with a sniffle? In SC, we have allergens of different kinds all year around–there is no off season. Then I began thinking I was reacting to a sinus infection, though I’d never had that kind of reaction before. I began consulting “doctor internet” and “doctor twitter,” asking for advice and what on earth it could be. I posted pictures to twitter so my friends could see what I was facing. (I had even let dr internet convince me I had shingles in my eyes–ouch!) The first post to twitter about the issue was made on November 18th.
I even posted a picture (I am so brave) to share so folks could grasp the severity of the situation.
Since this picture is really embarrassing, you can just visit the flickr picture to get a good view (and laugh). Most of my Twitter friends were strongly recommending I go to the doctor. But I had an eye doctor appointment coming on the next Friday, and would be leaving to go back home to Rock Hill (170 miles away) for that appointment. So I delayed the visit, leaving Myrtle Beach Thursday right after school, and spending the night at home before going to a 2:00PM appointment. But miraculously the next morning 90% of the swelling was gone, and I wasn’t itching at all. It was a miracle, or so I thought.
At my doctor’s appointment I did not even mention the rash or swelling. No evidence of it anyway…But I did return to school the next week. But by this time, I had a full scale head cold that I suffered through right up to Thanksgiving, and so attributed the returned rash and itching to being sick (again, even though I’d never had that reaction before.) After the head cold subsided, the itchiness remained. So I began to think I was having an allergic reaction to possibly my cats, which I only see on the weekends now. It was the only rational thing I could think of, so I began taking Clariton daily, which did seem to help some. The itchiness was still there, but only a minor nuisance, and by this time I had become increasingly aware of it, and tried desperately to NOT rub or scratch my eyes. So there was a significant decrease in the redness or swelling. During my two week break I had NO signs or symptoms. None. But was taking a Clariton daily, and assumed that it was finally keeping the discomfort to a minimum.
Fast forward to yesterday, January 2, a workday at school. I spent a lot of time at my desk doing things and time in the studio getting it ready for a live broadcast from the studio and from a remote location. I was clear and fine when I arrived at school. But by lunch time all those symptoms had returned with a vengeance. At home last night, most of it went away. Note to self-at school, irritation flares up; away from school, irritation fades and disappears. Today at school, once again, the irritation flared up with a nasty vengeance again. As I was talking with a friend at school, we both realized the itchiness started around the time all the construction was done. The studio was finished and made available to us, and the library offices were carpeted (they had previously been tile.) Notice date on this tweet. November 8.
This is almost exactly when I noticed that my eyes were constantly itching. I just never made a connection to the construction or perhaps even the new flooring.
But I did ask my twitter network if anyone thought I could be be allergic to mold, mildew, or allergens in the library, getting several responses to make me beleive this. I even picked up the phone and called my principal, asking if we might could have the library tested for somethng causing my discomfort. Her suggestion is to come to school tomorrow but stay out of the library–to see if the irritation returns. She is the one that suggested it may be the new carpeting that was laid down in the office and the studio…So tomorrow I work all around the building and not in the library. I will be in the auditoruim for class meetings (helping kids with PPT presentations for 3 different class meetings,) and then I’m going shopping for some school accessories we have determined we need. I’ll drive back to Myrtle Beach for this shopping trip. If at the end of the school day I am free of irritation, my principal is going to call the district office to see what kinds of tests they can conduct. What do I think needs to happen? I want a air cleaner (thanks for the idea Carolyn) and I want to go back to tile in the office and studio. I don’t know if the studio will have sound problems with a tile floor, but by golly I’ll be a heck of a lot healthier and happier.
Last, if it hadn’t been for my Twitter network tonight, I wouldn’t have even thought about the “library” possibly causing all my discomfort. Thanks, network! I hope this is resolved soon, as the irritation makes me look ten years OLDER. Arggg.