Random Thoughts

Making an impact

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On Oct. 30 I wrote about a presentation I gave to our High School student body on Oct. 29th. To date it was one of the hardest presentations I’ve had to give. Talking to students about their spaces, about their future, and trying to make an impact that lasted well after the 45 minute presentation. I wore jeans, a loose shirt, and wanted them to view me as a friend, not another adult telling them to “Get off of facebook”.

studentpresonov2007Today, I visited two of the facebook.com groups that our students here started and that I used in the presentation. As you may or may not know groups in facebook are public. Meaning anyone with a facebook account can search, view, and join other public groups. For the presentation I took pictures from different groups I found and used them to show that you can’t control information once it’s on the web. That anyone has access to things you post, groups you belong to, and the people you call your friends.

I told the students during the presentation that I love belonging to groups too, but if you create or administer a group you have the right…and obligation to make sure it is a site that you want your name attached to. I talked about ‘stepping up’ and showing Universities and future employers that you understand the power of the web. That you know there is responsibilites that come with posting information in this open, public place we call the Internet.

I’m happy to report that visiting the two groups today here is the message I was greeted with:

**To create the safe environment, safe privacy, and profanity free environment, adjustment were, and will be made**


******* IMPORTANT *******October 29th, 2007:Recently Shanghai American School staff have discovered this group and used it as an example of an unsafe, inappropriate internet social network in a school-wide assembly (including the pictures in the album). Initially this group was NOT meant to be an inappopriate group or contain sexually explicit material, so PLEASE help keep it that way. Teachers and staff and anyone will be able to view anything you post here since it’s a public group and I am keeping it that way, because I mean it when I say this group was not created to toe the lines of unsafe internet conduct. Personally I don’t understand why people see this group that way. Anyway, this is just a reminder. If you feel like you have to delete or add anything please feel free to do so. Thanks.

Gotta tell you. I’m proud of them. They took it to heart, and are making changes to their online profiles so that they reflect the kind of person they want to be. This is a great generation. They do understand the power the Internet and being connected holds…heck they’ve created it! Helping them and educating them to use it in a positive way is what today’s education system should be all about!

[tags]21st Century Education, SAS[/tags]

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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


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  4. Jeff,

    I just wrote a blog that I’ll be posting later this morning as part of my “Finer Points of Web 2.0” workshop. The last line of that post reads, “How do we get students to invest themselves into what they are learning?”

    I think that this is a key to 21st century learning, that if you are willing to invest yourself in the learning, you’ll succeed. Our students’ use of social networks involves investing their time, thought, and skills. When we model not just appropriate information environments, but also valuable information environments, and they’ve invested in those environments, then it becomes there learned mission to protect it.

    Thats what I read in your post.

    Great job!

    PS! What made you think that you had to wear jeans to look like one of them? 😉

    Later, bro!

    — dave —

  5. Jeff,

    First of all, congratulations on not only making a difficult presentation to a group that has the immediate potential to shut you out, but also on being able to see it come to fruition online.

    There is such a fear among educators that our students “know more” than them in regards to technology, and therefore have nothing to learn from us in regards to its use. Your post points clearly to the contrary. I will be sharing this with a workshop tomorrow morning.


  6. Hi Jeff,

    Have you ever thought of applying for one of the many openings at Concordia? There will be a Technology Director opening next year as well as 2-3 technology coordinator positions being created.

    Tired of Concordia being top dog with tech? Ready to jumP

  7. Jeff,

    That must have been really rewarding.

    It’s also a great example of why it’s helpful for us as educators to be familiar with the tools our students are using so we can be good guides for them.

    A teacher emailed me today who has recently started a Facebook account and is really enjoying it, but she has questions about how to manage students/friends/professionals all in one space.

    I can see her trying to sort out how to have relationships with students over a tool like this, and how to manage that, while still holding that professional line.

    It’s interesting when our personal and professional spaces start converging, and trying to manage that does pose some interesting questions.

    Wondering if you have any thoughts on her question?

  8. Hello.
    I should tell you that during the presentation, I saw a lot of very frightened faces. I think it was more of a “keep your private thoughts to yourself” sort of presentation. With the increase in blogs, personal websites and networking websites such as facebook, I think we tend to forget that we can actually have our own thoughts and don’t always have to share them with the world… Though that’s just from my own perspective as a student.

  9. Jeff,

    How did you get that time taken from the HS students’ schedule? Was this a priority that also came from the counseling office or did HS admin feel the need, or did you convince them of the importance of it? Or was there an incident that led to the need for this talk?

  10. I think you should be very pleased with the result. Obviously, some of the students really took to heart the importance of what you were saying. Well done.

  11. You should be proud of your presentation. Obviously, some of the students really took to heart some of the things you were saying. Well done. I would be your presentation style had some influence on the final product. Well done.

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