Personal Learning Nework (PLN)

When I think about my PLN I think about one of those flipbooks where each page has an image and as you quickly flip through the pages a single image becomes an animation. Sometimes I start at the beginning of the flipbook and sometimes I start in the middle. If my fingers are really sticky or I’m a little sluggish, I don’t see all the pages that pass by but just a few.

Each page holds a unique image that stands alone on its own but as a group it tells a story. At times I can refer to only one image to find what I want whether it be learning or pleasure or I can rely on more than one page or even the entire book to find accomplishment. My PLN is the same. I don’t use all of my network or tools everyday, or even every week. Some are used more often and some are pulled out for special occasions.

My PLN is composed of both individuals, whether it be single people or collaborative entities or organizations that contain reliable training resources like atomic learning or lynda.com. I have individuals in my network where I go to for inspiration or when I need an answer for a problem. By establishing a relationship through communication and collaboration, I have a network or people (or websites) that I know I can trust and feel confident I can get the help or guidance I am looking for.

Even though my job centers around online interactions, most of my most reliable resources are people whom I have seen face-to-face, can recognize them (and their voices), and would invite them into my home for dinner. In these relationships I feel that I often give as much to the network as I get from it, although it isn’t always an even exchange.
For my other social media interactions, for the most part, I am a taker, a user of information rather than a creator. So maybe these activities are my “P-Listening-N”. I am gradually trying to give back to the network and this is something that I need to work on. When I do create, I am not always sure that the artifact I create is being viewed by anyone, other then the intended. This might be part of my “P-L-Environment” where I am collecting, connecting, reflecting, and sharing. I do know what it feels like to get an unexpected comment as I mentioned in a previous post from experiences from my personal blog, so that anticipation continues on in my professional side. This feeling of building a community has encouraged me to make comments or give other feedback to an originator when I visit blogs or other social media site. I must admit though, being a user of information, might be one reason that I like twitter since the interface isn’t one that expects a response.

I see the potential for growth in my PLN as I’m able to focus on more clearly defined ideas about technology in education, social media, and other interests. When your interests are so varied it is something harder to focus in on specific resource that will help you and it often becomes overwhelming. I have learned to that I can’t read and participate in everything and I need to pick and choose. I can only see this getting easier as I get more focused.

pln-pathway

Podcasts

When I began thinking about this assignment I hadn’t read the class website so I didn’t realize that our topic was supposed to relate to the Bonk book. I am very focused on the visual so thinking about removing that element and focusing on just sound is a new way of thinking for me. I had the idea of going out in the field and recording bird calls and songs and then breaking them down so that others might be able to recognize birds by their calls. I began looking around to see what species were still around so that I could concentrate on those. I had the idea of getting a couple of friends who are good at recognizing birds by their call or song to go out with me and do a “Richard Nelson” style podcast of verbalizing the natural world around me. When I realized we had a more directed assignment I was disappointed that this other idea would have to be put on hold and also relieved that the topic would be easier!

A two-minute podcast….how hard could that be! I asked my spouse, who is an accomplished documentary producer, how many words can you fit in two minutes. He told me that if you talked really fast maybe about 60 a minute. If you want the conversation to be more natural then less words. I had just written the text for the third podcast and it was about 600 words.

So a two-minute podcast requires concise thought about what to include to get the message across but still be engaging and entertaining. This would be a great lesson for students for a presentation style assessment.

I’ve done audio editing before so that part of the process was familiar. I had not added multiple tracks (for the music) so that was new to me and clearly will take more practice. I used Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) for the recording and editing. It is free and is pretty straight forward. There are a lot of tools and features but you don’t have to use them. If you are using a MAC and want to export to .mp3 you also need to download the LAME MP3 encoder (http://lame3.buanzo.com.ar/Lame_Library_v3.98.2_for_Audacity_on_OSX.dmg) (Lame, yeah, I thought it was lame too!). When I was recording I didn’t stop the once I started with when I made a mistake–I just started the sentence or phrase over again without worrying about pausing or redoing sections. I think for the first podcast my recording was about 5 minutes with all the start-overs and mistakes. This process got better for me as I went along.

I decided to upload my podcasts to soundcloud.com. I really like the embed player. If you have a pro account (which I don’t have for my personal use) you get some added features, one of which is that you can add text comments as seen in this image.

podcast-marker

Podcast found here: http://idesign.uaf.edu/iteach-podcast-001-why-cant-i-have-pictures-in-my-dissertation-too/

So here are my podcasts:

(Note: I reference heidi.com in my podcasts as a way to get more information. I don’t really own this site so you won’t find more of my information here. The site is for Swiss clothing company.
Podcast 1 on Bonk Chapter 3

Podcast 2 on Bonk Chapter 4

Podcast 3 on Bonk Chapter 5

Google Survey Results Analysis, Part 2

I forgot to add in my analysis of the spreadsheet data. Here I have outlined some of the trends I found when comparing answers across the entire survey.

Of the one person who said they had more than one Facebook account, he or she said that Facebook was only for personal reasons. He/she did not want to friend students or parents because he/she didn’t want students or parents to access information about the user.

It appears that most users read their news feeds more often then they post original content.

Of the K-6 teachers as well as the undergraduate teachers, using Facebook with students or parents was split evenly. The same people are more likely to “friend” current parents and past students and parents, but were split about “friending” current students. They all use either pages or groups to connect with students or parents. And these users also access Facebook through multiple devices (computer, laptop, mobile devices). So this tells me unofficially that they are probably more comfortable using social media.

Most of the respondents who don’t use Facebook with students or parents said that their school uses Facebook to connect with students or parents. I didn’t ask this same question to those who use Facebook with students. I’m going to assume that the results would be the same as far as school participation.

Google Docs Survey Results

I sent out my survey to about 15 people and almost immediately, someone responded giving me the suggestion that I needed to add an opening question to clarify about whether or not the individual had a Facebook account. I tried to explain in my opening comments that if you didn’t have a Facebook account then you wouldn’t be able to complete the survey. Clearly this indicated to me that people just don’t read! There were several people who responded who didn’t have an account. I know of at least one who emailed me back and said that they didn’t have an account but took the survey anyway. So right off the bat I knew my results weren’t going to be very accurate.

It was also suggested to add a question at the end for comments. By the time that I added this question, most of the people who I had sent the survey to had responded and only one person made any comments and bay the comment made, I know exactly who it was and therefore, really useable.

I was please to use a logic question to separate out those who use Facebook with their students or parents and those who don’t. This process helped to minimize the number of questions that a survey might have to answer.

I strongly believe that when creating a survey like this you really need some people to test it out for you before opening up the survey to a greater audience. No matter how you think it might work you will forgot something or it won’t work like you expected. This is when it really pays to have that personal learning network of people that you can recruit for testing purposes!

I think my premise for the survey was pretty well defined. I wanted to find out how many teachers are using Facebook in their classes. If they were I wanted to know how they were setting them up and if they had to reprimand for bad behavior. If they weren’t using Facebook with their students or parents I wanted to know why now. I was also interested in knowing if teachers posted directly to Facebook or if they used other tools.

So on to the results:

 

I had 12 responses so clearly 9 people took the survey before this questions was added. The result for a couple of questions show that a few of the respondents didn’t actually have an account but attempted to take the survey anyway.  I’ll point this out when appropriate. This question is one of the first logic questions and take people that don’t have an account to the submit survey button.

This was interesting to me because I didn’t realize I had sent this survey to more than one k-6 teacher!

These results were about what I expected based on who I sent the survey to.

 

Again the results were about what I expected.

This is the next logic question which will direct the survey to a separate branch of questions.

These results are from the section where teacher do not use facebook with students or parents. There were at least 7 respondents to this section.

It stands to reason that if you don’t use facebook with students or parents then you don’t “friend” parents. This clearly isn’t a good question. Perhaps the logic question should have been restated to ask if teachers use facebook with students and didn’t include the parents reference or maybe it should just be eliminated. I do think there is a difference between communicating with students and communicating with parents so maybe this needs to be redefined.

 

This tells me that schools do feel that there is a place for facebook as an institution.

So of the 7 people who responded to this section, I had eight people respond….so something is a miss! I should have followed up the other with a text question to find out more information.

Since no one in the previous section said they didn’t use facebook due to school or district policy the results for this section don’t make a lot of sense to me. Perhaps an open question asking what would be a good reason to use facebook in the class would be a better question.

These results are from the section where teachers do use facebook with students or parents. There were only 3 respondents for this section.

This was interesting to see how teacher were using facebook. It appease that they majority of teachers are using pages for special projects or events. This makes the most sense to me as a way to draw in users to share information.

And it seems like the teacher who have chosen to use facebook have not had student (or parent) behavioral issues. This is encouraging as a positive use of facebook with students or parents.

The results show that teachers are unlikely to “friend” past students or past parents. Once the students have moved on so have the teachers! It also shows that teachers are most likely to “friend” current parents rather than current students. This tells me that teachers are more apt to use facebook to engage parents in student’s activities.
There final results are questions that both groups (those who used facebook with students/parents and those who didn’t use facebook with students/parents) who had a facebook account.

The “Other” respondent said never so either they didn’t have a facebook account or had one created but never used it. Otherwise, most people seem to be actively posting.

 

Again, the “Other” respondent said never so either they don’t read anything that anyone else posted or they don’t actually have an account. Most users seem to be active readers.

When I posed this question I was curious to see how people are posting to facebook. I was curious of people are taking advantage of using facebook to tie together different applications like scoop.it or learnist, spotify, or other applications that can be tied to facebook.I was also interested in knowing if people were multi-tasking an using tools like IFTTT to script certain actions that they participate in to automatically post to facebook. Things like tweets, bookmarks in diigo or delicious or other social media tools.

Based on the results in the next question asked, If you post indirectly to Facebook, which tools do you use? I only got two results:

  • iphone or ipad
  • built in tools like scoop.it, learnist, or when I deem it professional

I was hoping that those who responded with 2 or greater would have indicated the tools but I didn’t get the results I was hoping for.

For this last question I was curious about how people are accessing facebook. A comment that Ilana made that students don’t seem to be using smart phones or mobile devices in the library got me curious. Using facebook is certain a different process than exploring library databases but I was curious what tools teachers were using.

I believe that using a google survey for short surveys with simple questions is a very good option. I’ve never had to collect more than a couple dozen responses from survey which is very manageable. I really like the summary results that are automatically created for you. This was the first time I used a logic question and was please that it worked out so well. I am unsure if using google survey for a massive survey would be the right tool to collect data. You would probably want to export the data and work it with microsoft excel for greater manipulation potential.

 

Google Survey Assignment

The recent conversation that Jodi raised about using Facebook in the classr00m got me thinking about how many other Alaska teachers use Facebook as a way to deliver content or to inform parents about class activities. So I created a survey to find out if educators are using facebook with students or with parents.

I’ve created surveys with google forms before and find it a perfect tool for somethings and a frustrating activity for other tasks. I particularly dislike not being able to reorder or fix typos in the spreadsheet once the form is created. I’d rather be able to create on the fly with the ability to change my mind as to the order of survey questions or wording and I wish the accompanying spreadsheet would follow my changes. It would be great if you could create a new spreadsheet once you have the form completed. I used a logic question for the first time and it was a challenge to figure out the best way to have people navigate through the pages. I wish there was an automatic page for the submit button so you could direct next page navigation to that ending submit page without having to create one on your own which is rather clunky. I ended up having an “aha” moment and changed some of the pages around to fix that problem. I originally had all of the “All User” questions up front but I had to split them up and create another page so that those who “Don’t use Facebook with students/parents” could get to the last page correctly.

I started out creating this form in the UA google docs but I could not get to the themes area with out getting error messages. So I shared it out to my consumer account, changed the theme and shared it back with my UA account. In my UA app I couldn’t get it to work with chrome or with firefox. I have a help ticket started.

Anyway, here it is, I also added you as viewers so you can see how I set up the form.

(http://goo.gl/NMH74)

And here are the results in summary format: http://goo.gl/q06pn

Please check for logic and typos!

Informal Learning and Mobile Devices: A pathway to Inquiry-Based Research in the Classroom

When I first got my iphone the entire world around me took on new meaning. As long as I had connectivity, I could google ANYTHING around me that I was curious about. And not only could I google it, but with the advantage of 3G and full access to a web browser, regardless of being on Wi-Fi, there were applications (apps) available that helped me to figure things out. Bird identification apps like iBird, Peterson’s Fields Guides; Plant identification apps like Leafsnap or Botany Buddy; Location apps and Map finding with Google Earth or Maps, all with just a swipe or finger touches gave me access to information that I didn’t know. There were even practical applications like a tide chart, star gazer, and unit converter.  When teaching science, teachers often try to get students to make the connection to the world around them. One passionate biology teacher says, “…my motives are clear–teach the children to see the world under their noses. The world offers riches beyond a wealthy family’s dreams, but you need to go outside. Kids know this until we teach them to forget. Most classes fit well in a classroom–a good biology class tends to ooze outwards.” (Doyle, 2012)

Then came QR codes (Quick Response). A QR code is a graphic that is composed of bits of data and arranged so that a QR code reader can read the marker. (QR Code, 2012 para. 1). The information that the code can contain may be text or numbers, an image, a video, and more commonly, a link to a website URL. With the advent of the QR code, my informal learning became more directed. If I chose to scan a QR code then the creator of this code is guiding my learning. If I chose to find out specifics on my own, I still had the tools available to me to explore those details that are most interesting to me. I recently visited a National Wildlife Refuge that offered many QR codes helping to identify the more stationary objects. This was helpful and interesting, but I still found myself relying on other mobile applications to help me understand the objects that were not stationary or unexpected. Unless one begins banding White Pelican’s with QR codes that are readable with a spotting scope, I wouldn’t have known that White Pelicans are not common to the area and only fly through on their migration route and that they don’t plunge like brown pelicans when they are feeding, but rather they scoop up fish, often working in groups. (Peterson, 2012).

The markers of QR codes quickly paved the way for opportunities for augmented reality (AR) elements. Wikipedia describes AR as “a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. (Augmented reality, 2012). AR markers, like QR codes, can contain text, images, videos, or links to website URLs, but with AR you can also add animations and the user’s experience changes depending on where the camera on the smartphone is pointing. AR takes the directed learning of QR codes a step farther by giving the viewer choices on where to focus their interest. The informal learning may begin as directed, but the user is given choices and alternatives for taking the next step.

According to a Nielsen survey, people in the US have a 55.5% preference for a smartphone over a feature phone and the trend is steadily moving towards that preference. Android and IOS continue to dominate the market. 75% of the 25-34 year olds own a smartphone, and teenagers 13-17 demonstrated the larger population increase from 36% owning a smartphone in 2011 to 58% at the time of this survey. (Nielsen, 2012).  As access to a smartphone increase, the more familiar with the device students and teachers will become. With this familiarity will come greater opportunities for informal learning that leads right into and will have greater influence on incorporating mobile learning devices in the classroom.

Many research papers have concluded that students have increased engagement and gain a deeper understanding of learning when they are in control of their own learning. This is referenced in a paper on “Mobile-Enhanced Inquiry-Based Learning: A Collaborative Study” referring to findings fromMary B., Nakhleh, John Polles, and Eric Malina, “Learning Chemistry in a Laboratory Environment,” in Chemical Education: Towards a Research-based Practice, John K. Gilbert, Onno De Jong, Rosária Justi, David F. Treagust, and Jan H. Van Driel, Eds. (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002), pp. 69–94. Similar findings are ubiquitous throughout education research. Students involved in the activities around inquiry-based research are prime examples of those who could benefit the most from using mobile technology both inside, and outside the classroom.

For me, informal learning is a progression into the basis for inquiry-based learning in a classroom.  “The potential for innovation and both collaborative and independent learning experimentation offered by using mobile devices in this context appears to be nearly unlimited.” (Abilene Christian University 2008-2009 Mobile-Learning Report. p. 24). The natural curiosity that is fostered by the knowledge that the answers are readily available is an exciting concept for educators to see in their students.  Allowing students to use their smartphones (or smart devices) in the class “…is the one device that they always have access to (the immediacy) as a learning hub (continuum and consistency) and that provides the mobility for them to learn outside of the classroom, on the move and across contexts, and thus really enabled students to take both responsibilities and ownership to motivate them.” (Looi, C.-K., Zhang, 2010).  As smart phones become prevalent and broadband becomes less expensive and more widespread, there will be more opportunities for seeing mobile device use for inquiry-based research.

References:

Abilene Christian University 2008-2009 Mobile-Learning Report. Retrieved Nov. 4, 2012 from http://www.acu.edu/technology/mobilelearning/documents/acu-mobile-learning-report-2008-09.pdf.

Augmented Realty. In Wikipedia, Retrieved Nov. 4, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality.

Clough, G., Jones, A.C., McAndrew, P. and Scanlon, E. (2008), “Informal learning with PDAs and smartphones.” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 24: 359–371.

Doyle. (Jun. 1, 2012). June, again. Retrieved: Oct. 30, 2012, from http://doyle-scienceteach.blogspot.tw/2012/06/june-again.html.

Looi, C.-K., Zhang, B., Chen, W., Seow, P., Chia, G., Norris, C. and Soloway, E. (2011), “1:1 mobile inquiry learning experience for primary science students: a study of learning effectiveness.” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27: 269–287.

NielsenWire. (Sept. 10, 2012). Young Adults and Teens Lead Growth Among Smartphone Owners. Retrieved Nov. 4, 2012  from http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/young-adults-and-teens-lead-growth-among-smartphone-owners/.

Peterson, Roger Tory. (2012). Peterson Birds of North America. (iphone application created by Appweavers, Inc.

Powell, Cynthia B., Perkins, Scott, Hamm, Scott, Hatherill, Robert, Nicholson, Louise, and Harapnuik, Dwayne. (December 15, 2011.)  Mobile-Enhanced Inquiry-Based Learning: A Collaborative Study. Retrieved Oct 25, 2012 from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/mobile-enhanced-inquiry-based-learning-collaborative-study.

QR Code. In Wikipedia, Retrieved Nov. 4, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code.

Web Presence V.2

Some say that your web presence is about creating a web site to tell about who you are. (Hargadon, 2011). Having a website that can be directly attributed to you and to your work is a great start to developing your web presence. I think your web presence is much greater than one place that you can refer others; your presence is multi-dimensional. I think of web presence, as the artifacts that you leave behind that are open and available to others who seek similar ideas or similar interests but may or may not agree with your viewpoint. Your web presence is about pushing information out, whether it is an original thought or something that you exude to others. I use “exude” as a neutral word between endorse and criticize since you may share something you find for positive or negative reasons. Your web presence is your branding–it is (or should be) the message that you want others to understand about you. Another dimension of your web presence is what others are posting about you; when you are participating in events that have their own web presence. You may not have complete control over what is published but, in most cases, you are a willing participant and should not be surprised by seeing your name affiliated with the website. One strategy for strengthening what is being said about you in these cases might be to make sure that you always complete online profiles. (Lowenthal, 2012). Your web presence is your intentional representation within your greater digital footprint.

Who hasn’t googled themselves to see just what others may find when they use your name as a search parameter. For those of us who have more common names, we might not see many hits or a very high ranking unless we are producing a lot of material. Those who have a unique name might find that they can dominate the entire first page of website suggestions. Results may include such things are your website, or websites that you participate in, and artifacts from twitter, blogs, discussion boards, curation tools like scoop.it or pinterest, among other pieces from social software.

Using the class definition of “digital footprint” as those intentional or unintentional traces that you leave behind when you visit web pages, search for information, post on Facebook, tweet, shop online, or engage in similar activities, it should not surprise you to see occurrences in your web presence that you were not expecting. In most cases, it is very hard to manage your digital footprint and still participate on the internet. There are numerous businesses tracking your patterns and feeding that data right back at you in hopes of generating more sales. (Sponder, 2009). Your activity may be being tracked by services that hope to figure out what might cause you to purchase one of their products or support their cause. Some of this is out of your control. It helps to think of your digital footprint as not only being traces of what you do on the internet, but also your text messages, cell phone calls, credit card or debit card transactions, magnetic swipes to gain access to buildings, any piece of data that can be attached to your identity helps to define your digital footprint. If internet tracking is cause for concern then there are often privacy tools that you can add to your browser to help control some of this tracking.(Henry, 2012).

Howard Rheingold says, “One strong link between mindfulness and participation is the two-part question: What impression is my digital participation deliberately giving to others? and what impression is my digital participation unintentionally giving off?” (Rheingold, 2012, p. 139). I think that these two questions are very important to think about as you participate in web activities. You do have some control on how public or private you want to be. You have some control over what the first things people see when they go searching for you. There are many ways to managing your presence. In the web posting  “Creating Your Web Presence: A Primer for Academics,” the authors Miriam Posner, Stewart Varner and Brian Croxall (2011) give some very good recommendations for creating and managing your web presence. I especially like how they have broken the concept into three manageable elements:

  • Familiarity: What are you getting into? Don’t sign up for a social networking platform or Web application without understanding what it does with your data, whether you can maintain the privacy you want, and the conventions that govern the way the community operates.
  • Consistency: It’s important to carry the same voice, image, and persona across multiple social networking platforms.
  • Participation: Social networking is a gift economy. The more you participate productively with others, the higher your own profile will be.

I manage both a public and a private web presence, however I’m more apt to use my public presence for most content or comments I publish and I try to use the same userid or username as much as possible. I think this is not only helpful in being found and building a reputable web presence, but it is also helpful in managing logging on to websites and blogs or other social media. The more content you publish and make public will help to create your “intentional, purposeful web presence.” (Lowenthal, 2012).

I do participate in some private conversations due to the submit matter. I justify my participation for the greater good of the family and I trust that the other participants are equally conscientious about the topic and the site’s privacy will not be shared. I actually anticipate that at some point, the conversation will no longer need to be private and that the discussion will dissipate or its private web presence may even disappear.

I recently participated on a nation-wide screening committee in which there were about 60 applicants. There were only a few candidates who actually addressed their web presence in their cover letters or resumes. Only one, who had a very common name, actually gave specific search parameters to help the committee find them on the internet. Luckily, I didn’t have to google all 60 applicants, but I did search the internet when the committee had a smaller pool of potential candidates. Again, I was amazed that very few of the applicants had a strong web presence. Most of them were hidden behind their institutional web presence without any kind of name recognition. Did this activity influence my decisions when putting names forward? For this specific job, yes it did.

Teaching about web presence to all students whether, K-12 or post-secondary students, is a responsibility of every teacher or instructor and should be a part of the competencies for each grade level and for each course. I have zero experience with K-12 students except for being one, and I can only image the enormous challenge it is for parents and teachers to get across the message about how things posted on the internet can be harmful and hurtful. The YouTube video, Privacy Student Intro Video – The Digital Footprint  (2010) really reminded me of how K-12 students might be affected.  Students should understand that what they put out in the public, or even within a more private environment, may come back at them in a way that they might need to defend or explain. It is no different from passing a note in class, in that there is always the chance that someone unintended will intercede and read the note. One should always be prepared that someone unintended will find your web reference and call you on your words.

The importance of building a web presence as an undergraduate student should be part of any degree curriculum plan. One goal for any university or college is seeing that the graduate is either getting a great job or being successful at getting in graduate school. Having that web presence established before graduation will prepare the student for the real world. A post found on the http://blog.studentadvisor.com/StudentAdvisor-Blog/bid/103643/More-Admissions-Officers-Looking-Up-Your-Web-Presence-INFOGRAPHIC (2011), gives some very clear results about how admissions offices are doing web searches to learn more about potential students. The results show that in some circumstances, if an internet search finds something negative it can have an impact on successful admissions.  Making smart choices about what one chooses to put in the public or private will continue to be a skill that students and life-long learners will have to develop.

Along with an understanding of what your web presence is and how to build it, students of all ages should be given age-appropriate information about intellectual property and copyright from both a creator or provider of information as well as a user or taker of information. I’m a strong supporter of using a Creative Commons license for anything that I feel someone else might want to use or refer to. However, I do understand that some research and findings might need more privacy due to a monetary contract or fiduciary relationship with an employer. There are good reasons to be private. If this is not the case, and if your content is that good then most people will respect your intellectual property and give you credit. By publishing it on the internet under your name, aren’t you staking a claim on your ideas by the act of making it public? When it comes to taking or using, or referring to someone’s work then looking for the Creative Commons license can be very helpful in understanding how to give acknowledgement to the originator.

Another dimension of understanding your public web presence is thinking about how your employer views the message you are pushing. Is your message in competition with your employer? If it is, then I can’t image that your workplace is even slightly enjoyable and you need to move on! Find out if  your employer has a non-disclosure agreement and carefully consider if something you post could be seen as harassment. People have been fired for posting such statements on Facebook (Eidelson, 2012). Luckily, at least for now, I work in an environment where I feel that freedom of speech is tolerated and often times encouraged, although when the recent presidential decree went out for a proposed staff code of ethics, I was concerned about how that might affect all UA employee’s web presence and was happy to see the code rescinded on many different levels.

When I think about my professional web presence I know I must begin to contribute more to improve what is found when performing a search. On a personal level, I have been the number one suggestion on google since 2007 for “oven poached egg” for posting a recipe (or rather a process) on my personal blog for poaching a dozen eggs at one time. Every time a holiday comes around and people are making breakfast for large groups my blog gets constantly hit and I get comments about how helpful the directions are. This personal side helps identify who I am as an individual. Every academic should hope to have similar successes on the professional side.

Resources

Common-SenseMedia. (2010, Nov 2). Privacy Student Intro Video – The Digital Footprint. Retrieved Sept 25, 2012, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DinW62zlWcc.

Eidelson, Josh. (2012, July 3). Can You be Fired for What You Post on Facebook? Retrieved Sept. 28, 2012, from http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2012/07/getting_fired_for_what_you_post_on_facebook.html.

Hargadon, Steve. (2011, September 2). Thinking About Your Personal Web Presence (PWP). Retrieved from Sept. 25, 2012, from http://teacher20.com/forum/topics/thinking-about-your-personal-web-presence-pwp?page=1&commentId=873527%3AComment%3A75835&x=1#873527Comment75835.

Henry, Alan. (2012, May 18). Twitter Is Tracking You On The Web; Here’s What You Can Do To Stop It. Retrieved Sept. 25, 2012, from
http://lifehacker.com/5911389/twitter-is-tracking-you-on-the-web-heres-what-you-can-do-to-stop-it.

Lowenthal, Patrick and Dunlap, Joanna (June 6, 2012). Intentional Web Presence: 10 SEO Strategies Every Academic Needs to Know. Retrieved Oct. 9, 2012, from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/intentional-web-presence-10-seo-strategies-every-academic-needs-know

not-attributed. (2012, March 12). More Admissions Officers Looking Up Your Web Presence [INFOGRAPHIC]. Retrieved Sept. 28, 2012,  from http://blog.studentadvisor.com/StudentAdvisor-Blog/bid/103643/More-Admissions-Officers-Looking-Up-Your-Web-Presence-INFOGRAPHIC.

[I found the non-attribution ironic. It almost seems like the author was afraid to claim it for fear of being googled!]

Posner, Miriam, Varner, Stewart, & Croxall, Brian. (2011, February 14) Creating Your Web Presence: A Primer for Academics. Retrieved Sept 28, 2012, from
http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/creating-your-web-presence-a-primer-for-academics/30458.

Rheingold, Howard (2012). Net Smart: How to Thrive Online. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Sponder, Marshall (2009, April 20). Learn to Measure your Web Presence. Retrieved Sept. 25, 2012, from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/201332

Web presence

Some say that your web presence is about creating a web site to tell about who you are. (Hargadon, 2011). Having a website that can be directly attributed to you and to your work is a great start to developing your web presence. I think your web presence is much greater than one place that you can refer others to, your presence is multi-dimensional. I think of web presence as the artifacts that you leave behind that are open and available to others who seek similar ideas or similar interests but may or may not agree with your viewpoint. Your web presence is about pushing information out, whether it is an original thought or something that you exude to others. I use “exude” as a neutral word between endorse and criticize since you may share something you find for positive or negative reasons. Your web presence is your branding–it is (or should be) the message that you want others to understand about you. Web presence is also about where you go on the internet, where you search, what you buy. In this way your web presence includes your digital footprint. Using the class definition of “digital footprint” as those intentional or unintentional traces that you leave behind when you visit web pages, search for information, post on Facebook, tweet, shop online, or engage in similar activities, it should not surprise you to see occurrences in your web presence that you were not expecting.

Who hasn’t googled themselves to see just what others may find when they use your name as a search parameter. For those of us who have more common names, we might not see many hits or a very high ranking unless we are producing a lot of material. Those who have a unique name might find that they can dominate the entire first page of website suggestions. Results may include such things are your website, or websites that you participate in, and artifacts from twitter, blogs, discussion boards, curation tools like scoop.it or pinterest, among other pieces from social software.

In most cases, it is very hard to manage your digital footprint and still participate on the internet. There are numerous businesses tracking your patterns and feeding that data right back at you in hopes of generating more sales. (Sponder, 2009). Some of this is out of your control. If this is cause for concern then there are often privacy tools that you can add to your browser to help control some of this tracking. (Henry, 2012).

Howard Rheingold says, “One strong link between mindfulness and participation is the two-part question: What impression is my digital participation deliberately giving to others? and what impression is my digital participation unintentionally giving off?” (Rheingold, 2012, p. 139). I think that these two questions are very important to think about as you participate in web activities. You do have some control on how public or private you want to be. You have some control over what the first things people see when they go searching for you. There are many ways to managing your presence. In the web posting “Creating Your Web Presence: A Primer for Academics,” the authors Miriam Posner, Stewart Varner and Brian Croxall (2011) give some very good recommendations for creating and managing your web presence. I especially like how they have broken the concept into three manageable elements:

  • Familiarity: What are you getting into? Don’t sign up for a social networking platform or Web application without understanding what it does with your data, whether you can maintain the privacy you want, and the conventions that govern the way the community operates.
  • Consistency: It’s important to carry the same voice, image, and persona across multiple social networking platforms.
  • Participation: Social networking is a gift economy. The more you participate productively with others, the higher your own profile will be.

I manage both a public and a private web presence, however I’m more apt to use my public presence for most content or comments I publish and I try to use the same userid or username as much as possible. I think this is not only helpful in being found and building a reputable web presence, but it is also helpful in managing logging on to websites and blogs or other social media.

I do participate in some private conversations due to the submit matter. I justify my participation for the greater good of the family and I trust that the other participants are equally conscientious about the topic and the site’s privacy will not be shared. I actually anticipate that at some point, the conversation will no longer need to be private and that the discussion will dissipate or its private web presence may even disappear.

I recently participated on a nation-wide screening committee in which there were about 60 applicants. There were only a few candidates who actually addressed their web presence in their cover letters or resumes. Only one, who had a very common name, actually gave specific search parameters to help the committee find them on the internet. Luckily, I didn’t have to google all 60 applicants, but I did search the internet when the committee had a smaller pool of potential candidates. Again, I was amazed that very few of the applicants had a strong web presence. Most of them were hidden behind their institutional web presence without any kind of name recognition. Did this activity influence my decisions when putting names forward? For this specific job, yes it did.

[ok, here is where things get sketchy for me…I don’t have children, I have no k-12 experience with teaching. I’ll try my best!]

Teaching about web presence to all students whether, K-12 or post-secondary students, is a responsibility of every teacher or instructor and should be a part of the competencies for each grade level and for each course. I have zero experience with K-12 students except for being one, and I can only image the enormous challenge it is for parents and teachers to get across the message about how things posted on the internet can be harmful and hurtful. The YouTube video, Privacy Student Intro Video – The Digital Footprint  at (2010) really reminded me of how K-12 students might be affected.  Students should understand that what they put out in the public, or even within a more private environment, may come back at them in a way that they might need to defend or explain. It is no different from passing a note in class, in that there is always the chance that someone unintended will intercede and read the note. One should always be prepared that someone unintended will find your web reference and call you on your words.

The importance of building a web presence as an undergraduate student should be part of any degree curriculum plan. One goal for any university or college is seeing that the graduate is either getting a great job or being successful at getting in graduate school. Having that web presence established before graduation will prepare the student for the real world. A post found on the Student Advisor Blog, gives some very clear results about how admissions offices are doing web searches to learn more about potential students. The results show that in some circumstances, if an internet search finds something negative it can have an impact on successful admissions. (2011)  Making smart choices about what one chooses to put in the public or private will continue to be a skill that students and life-long learners will have to develop.

Along with an understanding of what your web presence is and how to build it, students of all ages should be given age-appropriate information about intellectual property and copyright from both a creator or provider of information as well as a user or taker of information. I’m a strong supporter of using a Creative Commons license for anything that I feel someone else might want to use or refer to. However, I do understand that some research and findings might need more privacy due to a monetary contract or fiduciary relationship with an employer. There are good reasons to be private. If this is not the case, and if your content is that good then most people will respect your intellectual property and give you credit. By publishing it on the internet under your name, aren’t you staking a claim on your ideas by the act of making it public? When it comes to taking or using, or referring to someone’s work then looking for the Creative Commons license can be very helpful in understanding how to give acknowledgement to the originator.

Another dimension of understanding your public web presence is thinking about how your employer views the message you are pushing. Is your message in competition with your employer? If it is, then I can’t image that your workplace is even slightly enjoyable and you need to move on! Find out if  your employer has a non-disclosure agreement and carefully consider if something you post could be seen as harassment. People have been fired for posting such statements on Facebook (Eidelson, 2012). Luckily, at least for now, I work in an environment where I feel that freedom of speech is tolerated and often times encouraged, although when the recent presidential decree went out for a proposed staff code of ethics, I was concerned about how that might affect all UA employee’s web presence and was happy to see the code rescinded on many different levels.

When I think about my professional web presence I know I must begin to contribute more to improve what is found when performing a search. On a personal level, I have been the number one suggestion on google since 2007 for “oven poached egg” for posting a recipe (or rather a process) on my personal blog for poaching a dozen eggs at one time. Every time a holiday comes around and people are making breakfast for large groups my blog gets constantly hit and I get comments about how helpful the directions are. This personal side helps identify who I am as an individual. Every academic should hope to have similar successes on the professional side.

Resources

Common-SenseMedia. (2010, Nov 2). Privacy Student Intro Video – The Digital Footprint. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DinW62zlWcc.

Eidelson, Josh. (2012, July 3). [Web page] Can You be Fired for What You Post on Facebook? Retreived from http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2012/07/getting_fired_for_what_you_post_on_facebook.html.

Hargadon, Steve. (2011, September 2)  [Web Page]. Thinking About Your Personal Web Presence (PWP). Retrieved from    http://teacher20.com/forum/topics/thinking-about-your-personal-web-presence-pwp?page=1&commentId=873527%3AComment%3A75835&x=1#873527Comment75835.

Henry, Alan. (2012, May 18). [Web Page] Twitter Is Tracking You On The Web; Here’s What You Can Do To Stop It. Retrieved from
http://lifehacker.com/5911389/twitter-is-tracking-you-on-the-web-heres-what-you-can-do-to-stop-it.

not-attributed. (2012, March 12). [Web Page] More Admissions Officers Looking Up Your Web Presence [INFOGRAPHIC]. Retreived  from http://blog.studentadvisor.com/StudentAdvisor-Blog/bid/103643/More-Admissions-Officers-Looking-Up-Your-Web-Presence-INFOGRAPHIC.

[I found the non-attribution ironic. It almost seems like the author was afraid to claim it for fear of being googled!]

Posner, Miriam, Varner, Stewart, & Croxall, Brian. (2011, February 14) [Web Page] Creating Your Web Presence: A Primer for Academics. Retrieved from
http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/creating-your-web-presence-a-primer-for-academics/30458.

Rheingold, Howard (2012). Net Smart: How to Thrive Online. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Sponder, Marshall (2009, April 20). [Web Page] Learn to Measure your Web Presence. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/201332

Assignment as pdf: ED431-WebPresence