Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Google Me

Week 3 of Digital Footprints was about digital citizenship. As part of the discussions, our presenter, Scott Monahan, suggested that we google our names to investigate what our online presence looks like. I had a student teacher a few years who told me she had googled me before beginning her student teaching with me. She had nothing but complimentary things to say, but I was taken aback. Obviously it's a quick way to get background on someone, but I had never considered that anyone would do this on me.

Many, many pages were available when I googled my name. There are a few other people with my name, as is to be expected, but a lot of the results are actually me. There are links to sites I belong to, like Facebook and Twitter, one for my school web page, several YouTube videos of music performances that I played in, my father-in-law's obituary, an article I wrote a few years ago, and every comment I ever made on numerous blogs. Doing this reminded me of several places that I no longer wanted to be, so I took the opportunity to remove myself.  I also found myself on a few sites that I had never heard of -- these seem to be entities that collect information from people's digital footprints in order to sell this information. That explains some of the emails I had been getting at work. I was able to remove myself from one of these.

As I looked further I found myself on Picasa and Flicker. The strangest place I found myself was on a blog called Blonde Research where a video of Mozart piece I played in a few years ago was posted. In fact, all the YouTube videos of performances had migrated to other sites, none of which I had heard of.

It was an interesting experience. Overall, my digital footprint is positive, but it is a little disturbing to find out that I am being seen and heard in places that I had of. I'd be interested to hear what other people find when they google themselves.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org: #iPad as Laptop Replacement: Going Post-Digital

 An interesting article about how iPads and other devices can change the way we teach, if we are willing to give it a try.

Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org: #iPad as Laptop Replacement: Going Post-Digital: Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-ipad-usage-2012-7 The graph says it all, doesn't it? For the readers of Business ...

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Week 2 of Digifoot12 was devoted to Twitter. As I said in my first post, I didn't really "get" Twitter. I had signed up for an account, though I really didn't see the point in posting my activities as I went through my day or following other people's activities. "Going to the store to buy mulch. Must mulch the bushes." "Back from the store with mulch." "Bushes look good." Who has time to post or read this sort of thing? So I hadn't been using Twitter for anything. My avatar was still an egg and I didn't even realize it.

The Digifoot12 Blackboard presentation on Twitter was excellent and opened my eyes to the possibilities. Thank you, Kim Gill! I could hardly wait to start the activities. Right after the session I began working on my profile and finding people to follow. I linked my Twitter account to Facebook and tried some searches.

The next morning my newly hatched profile had attracted several new followers, one of whom owned the website mynakedvids.com. Why me? But I used my new skills to block my unwanted follower. When I retweeted a post on project based learning that I liked, a teacher friend saw it on Facebook and commented there. I wasn't sure that the Twitter-Facebook connection was going to be useful since my Facebook is primarily social and musical connections, and I am designing my Twitter account to be mainly professional teacher connections, but this very first post showed it may be a good thing.

I still have more to explore in Twitter, including making lists, chatting, and participating in FollowFriday. What I'm seeing as reasons to tweet are connecting with people who are engaged in similar work and being able to learn from them, primarily from the links they post and through the chats. I'm a little worried about how much time I will be able to spend on this once school starts, but I think it will probably be a good idea to set a goal of spending 5 or 10 focused minutes a day exploring.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Jumping In

When I got an email about the MOOC called DigiFoot12: Exploring our digital footprints together, I decided to sign up. For me this was a plunge into something completely different, (Yes, I am a Monty Python fan!) I had never used Blackboard, where the weekly sessions are taking place, I do not understand Twitter, though I have an account, and quite a few of the things to be explored were new to me. But, it's summer and I have time to try things out, "get messy," as Detective Roberts says, and just play around.

Blackboard worked perfectly for me at the first session! I still have to get used to more than one thing happening -- the main presentation and chat going on at the same time. I feel like I missed some things. I like how open-ended the activities are. There are many choices, all with the same main goal of exploring the whats, whys, and wheres of interacting on the web and creating a PLN.

We have assignments each week. One of the first is to create a home base for my PLN: this blog is it. We are also to introduce ourselves to the class using a Google doc and to lurk amongst the information posted by our classmates. Lurking is an activity that I am good at and through my poking around so far I can see my classmates are an interesting group of people, many of them already very knowledgeable about digital footprints.

So, the experience so far is a bit overwhelming, definitely nonlinear, and fun as I dip my toe in. Isn't there a famous quote about the importance of trying things that scare us?