Favourite PLN tools/stratagies

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Categories: DCMOOC

Twitter, of course, and things like this MOOC. It’s hard, though, with people around like @courosa @mmesanders and @shareski to feel like you have anything to contribute. (Not that they’ve ever been anything but generous, of course!) Networks need to be multi-directional, and we all need to realize that we do have things to contribute. We (I) need to put ourselves out there!


My Brain Hurts or, Why Exposure to Too Many Ideas Causes Disjointed Writing about Digital Citizenship, with an Extra Long Title.

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If you want the better stuff, skip past the paragraph that is just “-Ummmm?”

Several ideas collided after the last 10 days, and the first weekish of the Digital Citizenship MOOC. Our Fearless Leader posted several questions, and they, along with some thoughts of others (and a few of my own) generated this:

Week 2, Question 1: How do we ensure that learners are critical, ethical, and knowledgeable creators, consumers, and participants of digitally mediated environments? How can we develop students’ abilities to become self-regulatory in the appropriate use of digital media, rather than relying on external filters and restrictions?
We model, and explain what we are doing, and why. Easy.

Week 2, Question 2: How do we model modern approaches to copyright and creativity, where the rights of both creators and consumers are balanced and respected?
We show them, explain why we use Creative Commons (or whatever equivalent) content. Use “if you created this” as a way to develop empathy. Still easy.

Week 2, Question 3: How do we help students develop positive digital identities? What activities/assignments/projects can we integrate into our teaching to help our learners build their digital footprints?
As above. Also have them create blogs, journals, and webpages etc. as activities that are the beginning of their digital footprint. I’m rockin’ this!

Week 2, Question 4: How do we help our students to become kind and caring citizens who act with integrity in all spaces, including digital ones?
Um, we have them contribute positively, acting as good, active cyber-citizens? This is getting hard. That was kind of a wishy-washy answer.

Week 2, Question 5: What is the role of schools in terms of developing student activism? How might we encourage and support students to use online spaces and social media to contribute positively to our world?


Well, time to think for myself. Sort of. Three things I was reminded of. Who the hell ends two consecutive sentences with the same dangled preposition? Ick. Time to start for real.

I used to always wear a badge, which a Baha’i person gave me, that read, “One Planet, One People, Please.” Secondly, I saw (and would love to have) a poster with a quote that I mistakenly attributed to Buckminster Fuller. “There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.” (Fuller did, however, write Operating Manual for Starship Earth, a year before I was born.) Apparently, the quote I used was actually Marshall McLuhan. Hmph. Discussing citizenship in a technological context, and McLuhan come up. Figures. And thirdly, I remembered an essay by Wallace Shawn, written as an afterword to “Aunt Dan and Lemon” (1985) in which he discussed how hard work it was to be moral. He suggests that morality requires knowledge; broad, accurate, continuously updated knowledge. We need to know the true breadth of the effects of our actions to be able to make truly moral decisions. What we do here, affects people a long way away.

And so I think about today, when we have this tool. This amazing, astounding, breathtaking tool. A tool that can connect people anywhere. A tool that allows us to write to, talk with, and even view each other, on a variety of devices. A democratic, social tool, that provides access to knowledge on a scale never before seen. Knowledge that is more current than any knowledge collection has ever been.

This tool has be potential (and perhaps, already the actuality) of changing the world in ways that have rarely, if ever, been seen. Democracy, the printing press, the sewing needle. Fire. Our new tool is that special, rarified, company. Oh, and it’s full of cat pics and porn. Fuller had another, more cynical line, “Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.”

Just to forestall any assumptions, I LOVE cats! We have some. Porn, well, this isn’t the place for that discussion, and there are interesting points on both sides, but I’m pretty sure that it is not the most beneficial use of this wonderful resource. (No, the Internet, not sexuality. Just forget I mentioned the “P” word. Sheesh!)

ANYWAY…. I have always heard, and agreed with the comment that (cyber)-bullying isn’t a technological problem, it’s a human one. Oh, yeah, and I also heard guns don’t kill people.

You see, cyber-bullying doesn’t happen just at school, at work, or on the playground. It happens in the bedroom, in the tree fort, in whatever places used to be safe from this (in)human action. The technological changes we experience change the ways we act and interact, and that means that the issue, while human, is informed and shaped by the technological milieu in which we live. (Is that that the right usage of “milieu?” Correct me, if needed.) I believe McLuhan’s point about the medium and the message fits here.

So how do we act as moral, activist, knowledgeable citizens in this strange, new, so-called virtual world? The same as in the old, familiar, so-called physical one.

We learn. We check on what we’ve learned, to verify. We realize that learning may change, and we don’t hold on to out-dated, dis-proven ideas. We continue to learn.

We act. We speak up when we know that something is incorrect, or damaging. We act morally and, in our small, imperfect way, try to better the situations of those who need it, to accept the help of those who can better us, and to oppose those who use this tool for fear, violence, and power.

And for our students? We tell them the truth, model and explain what should be done, and demand it from them and others. We support and foster those we see acting in support of truth, and try to reduce the amount of error and misguidedness around us, whether fostered by fear or ignorance.

Just like in the “real world.”

Oh, and we go “Awwwww,” at all the cute cat pics. Because if you can’t take joy in the good things in life, what’s the point?



On Blogging, Flogging, and Procrastination

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I WANT to blog. I really do. But I’m busy! Well, sort of. Well I AM, although I do have SOME free time, but, you know, Twitter, Lifehacker, Facebook…  It’s much easier to read, than write. And I might not do it well, and, well, no one might read it, and then I’ve wasted my time.

Except that’s not the point, is it? The writing is the important part for me. If others relate, and one might hope, appreciate it? That’s gravy.

But I should write long, well-developed things, and they take a long time to write, and the Internet is so immediate, by the time I’m done writing, it won’t even be current!

Of course Seth Godin doesn’t write long things, usually. You know, from Seth’s Blog? And he does okay.

I guess I should give it a try.  You know, figure out what the you that you wish you were would do, and do that? So, I’ll quit beating myself up, quit putting it off, and I’ll blog. (BTW, that second last sentence is worth figuring out. Wish I could take credit.)