Tag Archives: Course 2

Usage Agreements

Copyright is confusing but Creative Commons helps

When I first started thinking about what I wanted to do for my second COETAIL project, ideas were swarming in my head and I was having difficulty nailing down what I wanted to do.  Sean Thompson approached me one day and asked if I would like to work with him on creating an online usage policy.  I immediately agreed because the idea was one I was thinking about and Sean and I have had some great tech conversations.  We began exchanging our ideas back and forth via e-mail and had a wonderful meeting at my house to hammer out the project.

We decided we wanted to create a web site where schools could send their teachers and students to view resources, complete activities, and in the end feel comfortable enough to begin drafting their own policies.  Early in the creation process Sean and I determined that our main focus should be creating sample policies for students and teachers.  We discussed it and decided he would work on the student policy and I would focus on the policy for teachers.

Privacy is a concern for me

As I sat down to create the online usage policy for teachers, I kept thinking about the articles I have read, videos I’ve seen, and issues that have been brought up in class.  Creative Commons and Copyright popped to the forefront of my mind, as did cyberbullying, privacy students, and age of consent for web site memberships.  The issues chosen were ones that I felt were the most important and I doubt I’ve touched on them all.  I also did not want it to be too long or technically worded.  Finally I wanted my document to come across as supportive and understanding that teachers may make mistakes and may need help with certain things.

I had two different options when creating the actual form.  At first I created the form using Weebly’s own form generator.  However, during our COETAIL meeting misternorris showed me how Google Forms records their results. the easiest way to determine the differences is to compare them side by side.

Bullying is an issue that has gotten a lot of attention lately

Weebly Google Forms
Variety of response types Yes Yes
Specific name field Yes No (but you can create it)
Mandatory question option Yes Yes
Variety of themes No Yes
E-mail form results No Yes
Easily accessible spreadsheet of results No (only accessible when it editing mode of that cell) Yes

For my personal use I want to keep this agreement in mind when I’m using the Internet and Social Media within my class.  I would also love to conduct a session with teachers and students to talk about these issues and facilitate a conversation as they create their own usage agreement.

Please feel free to go to the Acceptable Usage Agreement Teacher Assistant and have a look.

Image Credits:

All Images created using Wordle and text from my past posts.

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under COETAIL

Introducing the new and improved mrbrenlea

Take control of your brand.

Over the past several years I have been thinking about my online presence and how best to help cultivate it.  However, I had no idea where to begin or what strategies to use.  All I knew was that I needed to have a web site somewhere with my work history and some pictures.  I had dabbled a few times with creating them but nothing has really stuck with me.  Over the past three months, there have been many different lessons. The two that struck me the most were the importance of controlling my presence and consistency.

Your online presence is incredibly important and can have both positive and negative consequences.  If you are the one putting information out about yourself then you are in control. If you sit back and don’t put out information, then you run the risk of others putting out information about you.  The information that others put out may or may not be positive.

Over the years I have registered for all manner of sites, using a variety of different handles.  None really stuck.  BrendanLea is usually taken, Blea sounds like pee (this will not work with elementary students), LeaBrendan confuses people, and BrendanCIS limits me.  All of the handles exist on various sites that I have used.  This not only makes it hard for me to remember but makes it almost impossible for others to find me online.  After many years, I seem to have settled for the username mrbrenlea.  Why?  It’s easy for me to remember and it’s unique, which means I’m almost always guaranteed to get it.

My mrbrenlea image.

In a sense I have begun my product branding in earnest.  As I read the blog Personal Branding 101, I realized that I have a long way to go.  I do have a web site that contains all my professional information (resumes, education, video, links to other online spaces) but there is still work to be done.  I have also started to switch over my old site handles to mrbrenlea.  These handles will then be added to my web site to make it easier to access.  I also decided on an image for myself.  Finally I have chosen an image for myself that I feel captures the essence of me.

Why am I doing all this and why will I continue?  It is kind of fun and addicting to create a profile that others can see and I’m learning a lot about web site design.  I want my learning and my experiences to go beyond the classroom.  However, to do this I need to make connections.  In order for these connections to work properly, then I need to make it easy for people to find me.

I know there is a long way for me to go in developing my online presence, however, I do feel as though I am off to a very good start.  My hope is that my mark will identify me as a fun loving professional who continues to grow and cares deeply about teaching and his students.

Image Credits:

Against Social Control by Jaume d’Urgell, found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

mrbrenlea by Brendan Lea, Personal Photo

4 Comments

Filed under Course 2

Cyber Bullying: New methods but still bullying

It seems like hardly a week goes by without some mention of the ills caused by cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is similar in concept to off-line bullying with a several key differences:

  1. It is online
  2. Due to the nature of the Internet, the offending item could be permanent.
  3. The Internet can be accessed from anywhere at anytime, thus the bullying can go beyond the traditional school day.

Before I begin any discussion on cyber bullying, I must make it clear that while this is a relatively new form of bullying, it is still at it’s core bullying. Bullying itself has been around for a long time.  Below is a section from a letter from the 1960’s belonging to a family member:

“There has been a lot of bullying of the new form II’s – physically (apparently) vocally (as most of the staff can witness) and in giving them the hard or unpleasant work to do.  On Tues. one had made an ill-chosen remark which was considered to be abusive by a form III and a fairly large group of them planned retaliation.  It may have been something which we should expect and accept, but when you consider it along with other factors in the school, we decided on a general and serious tightening up of the school rules which are taken lightly.  Fine! and I was really thrilled during the short time we had the students with us to see that we might succeed”*

      This example highlights the fact bullying has been around for a long time.  While we may think to ourselves that we can end it, nothing will truly change until we as a society truly demand it.

Over the past few years the It Gets Better campaign launched by Dan Savage has gotten publicity and praise from all walks of life. When I first heard about it I felt empowered and happy that people were doing something about bullying of GLBT youth. However, the campaigns core message of trying to encourage kids to remember that after high school things can only get better, is nothing more than a sad commentary on the state of affairs of being a kid nowadays because it puts all the onus on the vicitim and does nothing to address the core issues of violence against LGBTTIQQ2SA.**

Don't blame the tool.

So if we are truly committed to improving school life for everyone, what are we as educators supposed to do?

Most people remember what is was like to be a kid. Nowadays it seems like any instance of temporary childhood idiocy is deemed bullying and people are more than willing to take the issue public.  What we need to remember is some students are either testing societal boundaries, dealing with their own issues, or simply unaware of the harm they are causing. I truly believe that conversations about bullying behavior and addressing the core issues, instead of constant punishment would do the world a lot of good.

However, I also believe that as a society we truly need to be the change we wish to see in our students and our children. In the home and the classroom we encourage young people to be kind and respectful to each other. But, do we as a society actually follow it? Look at how we behave with our friends behind closed doors. Look at what young people are watching. Look at what people have to say in the commentary sections on popular web-sites. Look at how governments act. Look at the web-sites we visit.

The technology may be new but the act of bullying itself is not.  If we truly want to end cyber-bullying and bullying in general, then it is time for to stop berating the behavior of the students and blaming the technology and begin an inward reflection of what change we want to see from society.

Notes:

* This journal is used with the permission of immediate family members, on the condition that the family member was not named.

** According to  Toronto Pride this stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Transexual, Intersex, Queer, Questions, 2-Spirited, Allies

Photo Credit:

cyb-bully_323 by J_O_I_D Creative Commons Licensed, found on Flickr

Apple Aluminum MacBook (Late 2008)  by William Hook

Video:

It Gets Better: Dan and Terry uploaded to YouTube by itgetsbetterproject

1 Comment

Filed under COETAIL, Course 2

Privacy

Privacy does it even exist anymore?

Privacy is an issue that has become a major concern for people.  For me there are three main issues when talking about privacy, each of which will be discuss further in later paragraphs:  1.  The information that I put online 2. The information that others choose to put online about me 3. What happens to my information when either policy changes happen or someone circumvents them.  In the following paragraphs I will briefly talk about each of these areas.

 The information that I put online

I admit I like having an online presence.  I am continually learning how to cultivate this presence and brand myself as a professional as well as the opportunity to make social connections.   That being said, there are aspects of my life I don’t wish to share in the online realm.  For me I feel it is important to have some aspects of life offline.  As an example, I enjoy my friends and my time with them.  However, I see no need to take the pictures that I take of them and upload them all in an open realm. For me there is a line, I will put pictures up of interesting events or places I go with people but I will not put pictures up of absolutely everything or everywhere I go.  There must be a line between sharing pictures of events that people will genuinely find interesting and uploading pictures of the mundane.

The information others put up about me

At my grade 9 graduation.

I have some fantastic friends who treat each other with respect.  They understand my position that I don’t want every single photo taken of me up online.  I return the favor by not uploading pictures of them that would cause them difficulty or embarrassment.   However, not all of my friends abide by this rule. I will sometimes scroll through the photos that I’m tagged in on Facebook and will remove the tags.  If the pictures make me uncomfortable then I will ask them to take it down.  I will also occasionally Google myself to see what comes up.  So far nothing of interest does.

What happens to my information when either policy changes happens or someone circumvents them

The Internet is not secure, I know this; the rules are always changing and people have to stay on top of the game.  It seems that every time Facebook changes its privacy policy, many people become upset..  What people seem to forget is that one of the reasons Facebook changes its policy is to make it easier for them to sell your information to companies who can then use it for marketing.  Remember that Facebook makes it’s money by serving companies and not the individual and thus it wants to do everything in its power to make information easier to get.  Thus defaults are usually set up so that people will automatically share their information whether they want to or not.

 People also use the Internet to do other things and the issues of hacks are of concern.  Recently there have been hacks involving popular game sites like Valve, and the Playstation Network.  As people move more towards putting more and more information like credit cards and passwords people need to ensure that they take the some steps to reduce the risk of their information being misused.

Final Thoughts

Facebook Rant

Privacy is a major concern.  However, each person must take the time to ensure that their digital footprint is one that they one are proud of.  I remember a few months ago several people started e-mailing me asking me to hover over their name, click on it and do some other things.  I received this message so many times that I finally snapped and responded (see image above.  Most people seemed to agree.  Remember, if you’re not controlling what is out there then who is?

Pictures:

Photography and the Law by Byflickr found on Flickr, used under Creative Commons License

Grade 9 Graduation uploaded by Amber Krauskopf, used with permission

Facebook Rant screen capture from Brendan Lea’s Facebook profile (personal image)

Video:

Why is the PSN down? Hacked? – Playstation Networked Maintenance Error 80710a06 (Sony) uploaded to Youtube by Al-Ai

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Course 2

Has the world become like Avonlea?

 

As I was reading up on digital citizenship and how to create a positive online presence a song from Anne of Green Gables The Musical kept coming to my head.  The song in question was Where is Matthew going? During the song the Ladies of Avenonlea are intrigued by Matthew’s actions and pondered what it is he is doing.  Finally at the end of the song Marilla, Matthew’s brother, walks by the ladies and explains what Matthew is doing.  This particular number highlights the common perception  (some may argue truth) that there is no privacy to be had on Prince Edward Island because everyone is watching what everyone else is doing. While pondering the readings, I could not help but ask myself has the Internet helped the world become like Avonlea, a place where anyone who is interested can find out information about you and use that information to draw their own conclusions?

The short answer is more than likely yes.  Google, Facebook, Myspace, Foursquare, WordPress and other social media sites have transformed the way people view their privacy and the information people put out publicly.  Teachers are particularly vulnerable to being at risk of experiencing the negative side of social media.  I say this because teachers, as well as some other professions, are viewed in this odd space.  We are expected to be role models for the students and society, which means, to some people, that we must be perfect citizens who never do anything anyone might find objectionable.  However, this is not the case.  Teachers are human and no human is perfect and therefore mistakes will happen.  Or we will express an opinion or a thought that may counter with what others hoped we would express.  The downside is that there are people who will raise complaints and ask for people to be fired based on a picture or a comment shared in either or public or a private space online.

As I searched for more articles, I kept thinking about my own digital life and behaviours.  As teachers, wait as people, I believe that ultimately the responsibility of creating a positive digital footprint is up to the individual.  Not only is this important because what you post can cost you your job but more and more employers are weeding out possible employees based upon their online presence.  Finally, if we are expecting our students to represent themselves online in a positive light then it is only reasonable that we should as well.

Throughout the week I also started contemplating the importance of teaching students the skills necessary to create a positive online presence.  Truly this is an important skill, every year there have been more and more stories about students who have posted something online that has caused them to get into trouble.  If they are not shown how to best represent themselves or shown the possible results of poor online representation, I feel that we are doing them a great disservice.

In short, I believe that teachers should have a positive online presence and that students should be shown the tools, taught the skills, and have guidelines explained to them to do so.  However, when the tools, skills, and guidelines are always changing, how does one stay on top of it all?  Also, how much sharing is too much, what is the line that people, more specifically teachers, should not cross when posting to a public forum?

Image Credits:

Social Media Garden by j&tplaman on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

020/2011 footprints by rosipaw on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Video Credits:

Overture-Great Workers for the Cause-Where is Matthew Going, Anne of Green Gables The Musical uploaded to YouTube by CorrAgain

!!Teacher Forces to Quit Over Facebook Photos!! uploaded to YouTube by NATUREANDNEWS

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized