Why should new teachers use social media?

It seems to me that the sense of belonging to an intellectual  community is becoming less apparent in the staffroom, because of the need for schools to deliver on the latest half-baked, ill thought-out “initiative”
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Being connected without being connected

SPARK LONDON AT THE HACKNEY ATTICI have finally – finally! – realised what all the Facebook status updates I find so tedious have in common. That is, apart from the fact that they ostensibly have nothing in common, and that I find them tedious. I talked about the things I find irritating in How much should we share online?, so there's no need to rehearse it all over again.
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Crafting the perfect eTextbook

EvoStarting very soon is a 5 week online course called Crafting the perfect eTextbook. I’m slightly biased, because I’m involved in it, but it is shaping up to be really great.

The syllabus consists of, in brief:

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Teens and social media

Texting in the ParkThere was an interesting article in the UK’s Daily Telegraph about the film The Bling Ring. Entitled “Is the Facebook generation anti-social?”, the article presents what I think is a fairly balanced view of how teens seem obsessed with recording every moment of their lives. Well, balanced in the sense that the writer, Tim Stanley, attempts to present it as something we have always done. He cites the example of people in years gone by insisting on showing their (boring) holiday snaps to their friends and family. Now they upload them to Facebook instead (thank goodness!).
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The internet in a day

Here is an infographic that depicts what happens in an internet day. It goes through what happens in one second, one minute, one hour and then calculates the statistics for a day.

It’s interesting, though not – in my opinion – for the statistics in themselves. If big numbers impress you, then you will be impressed. Indeed, those whose mission it is to promote so-called 21st century skills and to prove that the current education system cannot cope with the new reality tend to use statistics like this to prove their point.

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BETT 2013 Interviews: Simon Finch

E-safety guru Simon Finch talks about why pupils should be allowed to use social media, why teachers should use it, e-safety and identity management.
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5 ways to establish credibility on your blog

ezine-expert-authorI don’t know what it’s like living in other countries, but here in England we are fortunate indeed. If I want to have a discussion on any subject at all, I can simply walk into the pub nearest to where I happen to be at the time, where I am virtually certain to discover a self-styled “expert” declaiming about the economy, or what’s wrong with kids today, or how to solve the financial crisis, or whether or not kids should be taught how to programme, or how the entire education system should be put right.

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Lessons from the world of sports: #5 The rule of encouragement

Girl Talk at JellyNYC's Pool Party (August 23rd, 2009)Welcome to the fifth part of this mini-series, in which I consider lessons we might learn from sports and sports personalities which we can apply to educational ICT. How important is encouragement to Olympic class athletes? I’d like to start off with an admission of error….

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Using the search engine right

previewIndependent e-Learning Consultant Rob Ellis gives some tips on how pupils can use search engines properly.

When Terry tweeted about his post ‘Using the right search engine’ I rather flippantly suggested that he’d be better off simply reordering the words in the title to read ‘Using the search engine right’.

Leaving aside the damage I’ve done to the English language with that there is a serious point here. Despite the prominence given to information literacy I’d say that, anecdotally, there is widespread agreement on its importance but little progress on organised adoption in schools.

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Screen-sharing made easy

screenleapHave you ever been in a situation where you are trying to explain to someone over the phone what you are seeing on your computer? Or trying to explain to them what they should be seeing on theirs? I’ve come across a neat little application which enables you to share your screen with anyone you like – and without installing anything, downloading anything or even paying a penny!

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Reasons to have a blogging team

quill-redIt took me an hour and 29 minutes to write a blog post this morning. Actually, it took me over two hours, because I thought about it last night. Fortunately, the amount of time I spent, which was about 1.5 hours longer than I’d intended, didn’t have too much of an impact on my work schedule, because I did the thinking last night whilst watching TV, and this morning I was the computer by 6am in order to get lots done before I started work.

But why am I telling you all this?

Because when I think of what I need to do to keep my blog updated every day, I realise what needs to be in place for a school blog to thrive. The answer is: a team.

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Why schools should have a hyperlocal blog

SilSpgErlVtg_0053 Blair ReporterMany years ago there was a television series in Britain called “The Cres”. Short for “The Crescent”, the series followed the day-to-day lives of the fictional residents of a street somewhere in England. Most episodes were engaging and humorous, and made compelling viewing. An article I read this morning reminded me of this, and made me think that a “hyperlocal” blog could work really well for a school.

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3 ways of maintaining privacy

silhouettesHer Majesty The Queen of England serves as an inspirational role model in terms of personal privacy. Despite being in the public eye for 60 years, she has managed to keep her personal opinions to herself. Almost nobody knows, for example, what her favourite tea is (although Smokey Earl Grey has been hinted at). Yet there are many people who seem to announce to the world each time they blow their nose!

The balance between public and private is, of course, a personal choice, and one made more difficult by other people openly talking about one’s activities or tagging one’s photos, and much standard business advice. But if you do want to be fairly private while maintaining a strong online presence, here are some suggestions. You may like to share and discuss these with students, who are also striving to get this balance correct.

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Audio slides

helloslideOne of the things I like about the ICT in Education site (he says modestly) is that you can listen to the articles as well as read them. It means that the articles are accessible to sight-impaired people. But when I upload presentations, that is no longer true. At least, not until now.

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If this, then that

Here’s a web application that’s potentially very useful. IFTTT lets you create your own automated actions using a range of social networking tools. I’ve been messing around with it only for about an hour, so I haven’t thoroughly explored all it has to offer, but already I can see it will prove to have been an excellent investment in time.

The logic of the way it works is as follows:

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