Digital irony

Last night on Twitter I saw a couple of tweets with our subject hashtag, #ETL523, that made me stop and wonder.

A bit of exploring and I discovered:

@LizzyLegsEllis is Liz Ellis the former Australian netballer (who is not, as far as I’m aware, a student of ETL523).

@LizzyLegsEllis has been retweeting tweets from @KathEllis74 (who is).

I might be making a huge assumption, but I suspect Liz and Kath might be related. That’s nice, I thought, showing support for your sibling/cousin/?’s studies by retweeting.

Clearly not, according to Emma the egg (who won’t be taken seriously, according to SocialTimes). Here’s the tweet that preceded the first one:

I thought (fleetingly) about replying to Emma and that damn julia, but no, on their current form that could easily turn ugly and I am a better digital citizen than that. But gee, doesn’t what these two have tweeted just sum up why we need to teach digital citizenship, and isn’t it funny/sad/ironic that it’s turned up in the #ETL523 feed?

Here are some things I’d like Emma and Julia to know:

  • It’s the nature of Twitter that not everything tweeted by the people you follow will interest you. This is not rudeness. Move on, get over it, you are their follower, not their master.
  • If you see tweets that don’t interest you…<<drumroll>>…ignore them. There’s no excuse for rudeness in response to perfectly polite retweets.
  • If you don’t like much of what someone tweets it is entirely your choice to unfollow them. They probably won’t even know (unless you tell them) and most likely won’t be hurt or care if you do – it’s your Twitter feed, make it what you want it to be. But tweeting them with #unfollow is just a bit off.
  • If you are really worried that you will hurt someone’s feelings by unfollowing (I suspect you’re not, though) you can mute someone you follow, either temporarily or permanently.
  • Using certain Twitter clients it’s easy to mute a particular hashtag or keyword. That pesky #ETL523 problem can simply disappear using Tweetdeck, Tweetbot or Twitterific.

I guess what surprised me the most about these tweets is just how some people must think it is ok to be rude. Of course, I’ve read and heard about trolls and all sorts of nasty commenting that goes on but I’ve never really come face to face with it, either personally or in a hashtag that I’m particularly invested in. I’ve had plenty of lively conversations in Twitter and there’s certainly nothing wrong with disagreeing or expressing opinions…politely. Why is that so hard for some people?

 

 

Community, collaboration, conversation and content creation

Module 4 OLJ activity – Arizona State University Library Minute

The Library Minute videos from Arizona State University Libraries tick all the right boxes

  • They are short
  • focus on one topic at a time
  • give a lot of information in a short time without over-complicating things
  • show where to go to learn more
  • and there’s just enough daggy humour to make you smile.

They would be well-received by today’s university students who, like millions of other young (and not so young) people have made YouTube the second top search engine.

I imagine these videos, along with the other social media tools used by the library, help break-down communication barriers by making the library staff approachable and available in multiple ways both online and in real life. The ASU twitter stream includes study tips, timely information about extended hours, competitions and special events. Their Facebook page includes lots of eye-catching visuals with similar information to the Twitter stream in longer, less frequent posts.

I am seriously impressed by the videos and I wonder how many man-hours go into making each one? The technological side would be relatively easy, even just with an iPad you can green screen (Green Screen by Do Ink), edit (iMovie), add effects and so on; but before they got to that stage someone (or several people) have spent serious time writing the script and story-boarding. They are evidence of a strong collaborative process and co-ordinated marketing plan. I would love to create similar videos for my library even though I don’t have the same level of resources behind me.

On a final note, this video, highlighting ways to have fun at the library is one of my favourites. Who wouldn’t want to connect with a library like that!

 

Social Networking and me

INF506 Assignment 1 – OLJ first entry

Social MEdia by John Atkinson is licenced under CC BY NC ND 3.0

Social networking is the use of online tools to connect, communicate, share and collaborate with other people. Social networking can be used for purely social reasons or for education or work. Social networking enables people with common interests to connect in ways unthinkable before the birth of the world wide web and particularly the development of participatory web 2.0 tools which allow an individual to publish their writing, photographs, videos and so on.

I am proud to be Twitter user no.16,589,509 having joined in October 2008. At that point I already feared I was a late-adopter! Twitter is the heart of my PLN and is invaluable for my work in a school library, my interests in education and technology, and was a key driver for the connections I’ve developed with my fellow MEd (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) students. That said, I also follow various accounts for news purposes and quite a few people/accounts just for their entertainment value.  Last year I set up and used a Twitter account for the Disaster Resilience Education project I worked on at Australian Red Cross and at my previous school I set up an account mainly to follow accounts to generate a Paperli daily news edition.

I use Facebook mostly for personal and social connections, all my Facebook friends are people I knew in real life before we became Facebook friends. In contrast in my early days on Twitter there were very few people I followed who I’d actually met. One of the great joys of Twitter though, is how wonderful it is when I actually get to meet one of my “old friends” and I’m happy to say that I now know many of the people I follow on Twitter and we were able to connect in real life because of the Twitter connection.

I belong to a few Facebook groups that are education/library/technology focused but I’ve not been an active user of them (until now with the INF506 group).

I’ve been using Google+ more and more of late, particularly since my experience at the Google Teacher Academy in September. I like the way the communities work and how everything integrates really well with other Google tools like calendar and hangouts.

I’ve used Diigo for bookmarking for a long time and before that I used Delicious. I don’t regard it as “social” in the way Twitter and Facebook are but I belong to a number of groups and have also created groups for work purposes.

Over the years I have belonged and contributed to a number of Ning networks and at my previous school I set up and managed a Ning network for our year 12 students and their teachers.

This is where you can find me:

Through studying this subject I hope to gain a more informed basis on which to draw on in order to advocate for the use of social networking within my library and school. Like many schools, mine is protective and wary of social media, particularly regarding the participation of students. I would like to develop my knowledge of the research about best practice in this field in order to make informed contributions to decision-making processes.

 

Going viral

I published my digital essay on Storify on Sunday afternoon and publicised the fact on Twitter and through the subject forums. By Monday night Storify showed that it had had around 50 views. Like me, I imagined most of the other INF530 students were eagerly reading the work of their fellow students as it became available.

On Tuesday morning I found this tweet notification

Wow, Robin Good is like the content curation guru! Somehow he’d come across my essay and posted it onto his Scoop.it page along with a critique. He gave it 7/10 which I’ll take! I flicked to the essay and found it had been viewed more than 500 times.

More tweets followed:

Bec was prompted to send this tweet:

By this stage the number of views of my essay was approaching 2000. But still the tweets came:

Right now there have been 3455 views in about three days. That’s nearly as many views as my personal blog has had in three and a half years.

I sure hope it is favourably assessed when the time comes. I’d hate to think all those people were reading academically inferior work.

Viral. Who’d a thunk it!

UPDATE February 14, 2018

As of today there have been a staggering 78,817 views of my essay. I do so love our connected learning world! However, Storify is closing down so the digital essay has been moved to Wakelet.

Image showing number of views (78,817) of the digital essay on storify

Stigmergy, deep reading, and John “Pigsarse” Elliott

Over the past week or so of all-consuming work on my scholarly book review a few interesting thoughts and ideas came up that did not fit into the framework of such a writing task (or the word limit) but I thought I’d like to share them here.

My book was Mind amplifier: Can our digital tools make us smarter by Howard Rheingold. As part of background research I came across Wolf’s article (2010) where she poses the question “Will we lose the deep reading brain in a digital culture?” ALL the reading I did for the book review was online, mostly on PC or iPad but occasionally on my phone too. I don’t think I’ve read so deeply or thoughtfully in years. I found the highlighting, note-taking and search capacities in Kindle and Evernote enormously helpful for constructing and consolidating my thinking about the text. In fact, I suspect I would have found the task significantly more difficult without the affordances of of my digital tools. It was something of a relief to find that Wolf has now found it is possible to train the brain for deep reading of both digital and print texts, something she calls “bi-literacy”  Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say. Even more interesting for me at the time was that I was alerted to this article by a series of tweets from Rheingold himself:

 

 

As it happens I have been following “my author” for nearly as long as I’ve been on Twitter (over five years), it was one of the reasons I was drawn to his book. When I had a question that no amount of search seemed to be able to answer (who first called Rheingold “The first citizen of the internet” as the Amazon blurb for an earlier work proclaims?) the obvious next step was to tweet and ask him. Which I did and got an answer straight away!

 

A further tweet revealed the source: The Citizen.

Stigmergy is my new favourite word! Referring to a process where intelligence resides in group but not the individual (think about how ants find their way to a food source by leaving a trail of pheremones that other ants then follow) or where something is created without a central control. Mark Elliott (from Melbourne!) wrote his doctoral thesis about Stigmergic collaboration, specifically in wikis like Wikipedia. Reading about this reminded me of the Emergency 2.0 wiki which I learned about as part of the work I did with Red Cross last year; which then led me to some other emergency services related content that was relevant to my book. I never expected that to happen! And as an aside I edited Howard Rheingold’s Wikipedia entry to add Mind amplifier to his publications list.

John Elliott has more relevance than I thought. In my previous post I pondered on John Elliott’s attitude to the internet – “It’s secretary’s work”. Mind amplifier explains how important it is for the individual to be able to use a given tool so that he is enabled with the mind expanding abilities it provides. The power of word processing is in its ability to allow the writer room to think instead of having to type and re-type drafts (or have his secretary do so) – thus to fully take advantage the writer must have the capacity to use the tool, not just direct someone else to do so. Just in case you don’t know who John Elliott is:

Finally, the support and encouragement of others in the cohort, most notably Simon @aus_teach and Bec @MissB6_2, is outstanding. Simon and I read and commented on each others book reviews via Google docs, just one example of what is so good about this course, knowledge networks, digital technology…the whole thing! I had a fantastic catch-up with Simon at the State Library (most appropriately) on Thursday. It was terrific to have the chance to talk face to face and mull over some of the issues and ideas we’ve been learning about. I’ve begun to realise that I’m very interested in computational thinking, we found links to stigmergy in what Simon is doing in another subject, we agreed on how wrong we think exams are as useful assessment tools and wondered how on earth something like the book review could be done under exam conditions. The whole “everybody has to be treated identically” attitude drives me bonkers in lots of contexts but the idea that a three hour exam is the only fair way to assess a year’s learning is the worst. And of course it’s only natural that a certain amount of “teaching to the test” ends up going on… All too big for one coffee session but fantastic to have the opportunity for the discussion in real life.

Simon, Bec and I will be speaking about our experiences, so far, of doing this course at the next Melbourne TeachMeet on May 10 – if you’re in the area you might like to come along. Sign up here, including for the subsequent TeachEats if you can.

References

Rheingold, H. (2012a). Mind amplifier: Can our digital tools make us smarter? New York, NY: TED Books.

WOLF, M. (2010). Our ‘Deep Reading’ Brain: Its Digital Evolution Poses Questions. Nieman Reports64(2), 7-8.