Facebook

Facebook in my school is banned.  No student can access it and staff have been informed very strongly not to have students as friends etc.  This is the result of the actions of Christian Brothers in the past and there is a desire (worthy) to avoid the wrongs of the past  in the future which is understandable.

However, while recognising the sense of avoiding the development of incorrect relationships one does need to recognise that the world has changed and that at the forefront of this change is the new Web 2.0 communication technologies.  These new technologies can be used in a number of productive ways to maintain the channels of communication and indeed enhance them.  Schools today are struggling with their school newsletters, which traditionally have been published in a paper format on a weekly cycle.  any schools have taken to publishing a digital copy which is then emailed to parents, but there are a number of inherent weaknesses with this process, for example emails addresses are changed regularly and many parents cannot be bothered opening it.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that newsletters are no longer reaching their targets.

In this context I believe that Facebook is a medium which can become the new newsletter for organisations such as schools and libraries.  Facebook can be modified to provide a news line of school events, with regular news announcements, links etc to keep the school community informed.

Within this context there is a place for social media such as Facebook in schools however, Web 2.0 technology allows for communication in both directions and this is a key area that needs to be explored.  The telecommunication industry is one that uses web 2.0 technology in one direction only; how often have you received a text from your phone provider that you cannot reply to, and been frustrated by this?  School’s have a responsibility to teach their students and the broader community to use these new technologies in an appropriate manner and this cannot be done in a situation where they are ignored.  This is a valid educational opportunity which can be monitored and used to provide direction for both students and the broader community and one that needs to be grasped by schools.

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Work flows

I found this unit extremely difficult for two reasons, firstly organising school group to visit Melbourne  next week which along with school marking and reports were my main focus over the last two weeks which led to my completing the unit over Good Friday and Easter Saturday.  So I was extremely interested in something that would help me to manage the work flow.  In addition to this I find using new technologies difficult the first time – I think I am one of those people who like to bed down one skill (technology) before moving onto another and while I had come across both Evernote and Diigo before I had never used them.

I found it extremely frustrating when I could not get the programs to do what the video tutorial illustrated, but was able to complete the tasks eventually,  At the moment I use Sharepoint 10 to keep my school work organised, and sharing resources with both other staff member and my students.  I am not sure if Evernote and Diigo will lead to improved workflow management but they would seem to have the potential to do so, however the blurring of school and home is a concern to me and could certainly lead to a work intensification. 

It is certainly important to teach our students organisation techniques and with WEB 2 Technologies these seem to be changing dramatically.  The students that I teach do not at this point make great use of these new technologies in a work setting but are very aware of them in collaborative activities.  

When I started teaching thirty five years ago the Teachers Chronicle was the sole organising tool at an individual teacher’s disposal, however today this has been replaced by numerous web technologies such as Sharepoint 10, Blackboard, Evernote, Diigo which are allowing teacher/educators to work collaboratively across vast distances which has not been possible in the immediate past.

I certainly enjoyed the last part of the unit – the concept which clarified the unit for me.

Variety is the spice of life!

I am on the wrong side of 55 and have worked in schools as a teacher for the last 35 years.  In this time I have been a classroom teacher of many subjects but mainly History, Religion and Civics, Year Co-ordinator, AssistantPprincipal, Head of Department and now a teacher librarian.  I think that this would suggest that I am open to change and in many ways embrace it.  However, this is also misleading,  as like many people of my age my use of technology has been limited to my immediate needs, so my emphasis professionally has been on word, excel, search engines etc. My only experience with web 2.0 technologies has been limited to mobile phone use, Facebook (tracking the kids) and the occasional forum to find out about free campsites around Australia.  I have begun to use some web 2.0 technologies in my tertiary studies but have not really enjoyed the experience as it seemed to take away my freedom to work when I could, however it was a positive way to share ideas reflect upon discussion and develop knowledge.  Up to this point most of my professional development has been build around, professional in-services, meetings, newsletters, belonging to professional organisations, and I am hoping that this program will help me to build a professional network which will the exchange of ideas and lead to professional growth for all contributors.  In particular, I would like to build a blog which will evaluate books of all genre fo male readers aged betweenten and seventeen.