Melissa Giddins

Exploring technology and literacy in education.

New job, new location, new life

I have decided to keep working and posting on this blog, despite the almost 12 month abandonment of it during 2011. A new position as a Literacy Consultant sees me in a non-school based position which, while it no longer gives me a class of students to experiment with, does give me access to many schools and their challenges and adventures, a rich vein of information and ideas to be mined and shared.

Things have changed a lot since I started this blog in 2009. Some tools are still great, some have fallen by the wayside. Here’s a summary, that kind of includes my New Year’s Educational Technology Resolutions!

1. The delicious account that I started to keep track of all the new websites for educational use just became a pain and I stopped using it, so I tried creating a wiki as a place to store the information. This also was not as effective as I would have liked, as my ideas about my staff contributing to it came to nothing as no-one ever did but me. I am going to take a stab at Diigo, as Darcy Moore used it to replace his delicious account and I will spend some time this term trying to relocate everything from delicious and the wiki to diigo. Will let you know how that goes!

2. Yammer. I loved it and used it all the time – alas, no more. The Department, in its infinite wisdom, created something else for us to use instead and I have not logged onto it once yet. Therefore sometime this term I will make time to check out the Department’s version and see if it works for me.

3. Ning. I created a Ning, loved the concept of it and then they wanted to charge me money to host it. Bye to my Ning page.

4. Twitter. Loved it, love it, and have been hopeless at using it for 12 months. Will attempt to dive back in the twitter stream in 2012 also.

5. Google reader is an essential part of my life, particularly now that I have apps on both my iPhone and iPad to enable me to read posts anywhere, anytime.

6. EDMODO!! I love this site more and more each passing year.  I highly recommend it. There is a great professional development group on there as well now called Oz Edmodo that share fantastic resources and provide great feedback.

7. Just bought an iPad. It is revolutionising my world, and I’m wondering why I held off for so long. I’m going to explore new apps and applications for education. Can’t wait!

8. Facebook – now a part of my daily life, but rarely used for work, I have kept that one for my personal life 🙂

And the biggest resolution for the year: blog more often. It is a great way to reflect, clarify thoughts and ask myself hard questions.

Lots more to say, but I shall save it for a series of regular blog posts. Coming right up!

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January 23, 2012 Posted by | blogging, edmodo, twitter | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fake Facebook

Thanks to Bianca Hewes for these two great resources received via Edmodo!

Love it or hate it, Facebook is in our students’ lives. We have seen cyberbullying and now with the introduction of mobile phones that can browse the web, it doesn’t matter anymore that Facebook is blocked at school – the kids can still access it at school now via their phones and so it is still a large part of most of their lives 24/7.

So why fight it? Here is a great site: http://www.myfakewall.com  that allows you to create a fake Facebook wall and use it for good instead of for evil!

One of my teachers is going to use it with a Year 9 class as part of a poetry unit of work – creating a facebook wall for the composer, such as Samuel Coleridge, where they have to research the composer to add the information to the facebook wall.

Another great “fake” option is the fake iPhone text site: http://www.fakeiphonetext.com which allows you to create fake texts! An opportunity to use the evil of text messaging in class for a good purpose.

Should be a fun and engaging activity, however you use it, that catches the students in their world and their interests. Would love to hear from people who have tried it with ideas about ways to utilise these resources!

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Web 2.0 tools | | Leave a comment

Engaging with Social Networking

I read an interesting blog post today: Why You Have to Engage In Social Media, Even If You Don’t Want To: http://blog.asmartbear.com/blog/why-you-have-to-engage-in-social-media-even-if-you-dont-want.html.

This article is from a corporate/business world perspective however, it is still quite relevant to teachers, particularly to assist in understanding the role of social media/networking in the world.

As part of a presentation at school today I mentioned social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, and there was quite a bit of negative reaction to Twitter, whereas Facebook was seen to be a more ‘acceptable’ form of social networking.  In my experience (so far) Twitter has proven to be far more valuable as a professional resource. Facebook has allowed me to connect with people from my past and present, but it is very much about me and my life and harder to see it’s usefulness as a professional tool.  Twitter, on the otherhand, daily delivers new professional information to me quickly and easily. In fact, the link at the beginning of this post came from a tweet I received when I got home from work today. I receive information pertaining to my professional development, the latest news about education and little tidbits of information like the fact that Darcy is spending tomorrow looking at the DET beta blogging platform – prior to that tweet, I didn’t know that the DET was finally starting to think about providing us with a blogging platform – and I am very excited about that opportunity! I feel very ‘cutting edge’, thanks to Twitter. However, I would like to add that it is the people that you choose to follow that makes the experience either valuable or trivial.  I choose to get a dose of both in the tweets I receive, and I am enjoying the interaction with people I may not otherwise have access to or speak with in the ‘real’ world.

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Social Networking | , , , | 2 Comments

Facebook

Ok, I confess. I had avoided facebook. I worried about students saying nasty things about me or making inappropriate comments, I thought that it was a waste of time, etc etc etc. Yesterday, I decided that enough was enough and I needed to get a facebook account. For two reasons:

1. My sister is currently travelling and she put her pics on facebook and I couldn’t see them without having an account!

2. Everyone else seemed to have one, without any of the dramas I was worrying about, and I was feeling decidedly left out.

So yesterday, I bit the bullet (where does that saying come from?), and signed up on Facebook. I was very surprised to find that a heck of a lot of people I know are already on there, regardless of age. Not quite 24 hours later I have 26 friends with, I’m sure, many more to come. I have found people I went to high school with (20 years ago), work colleagues past and present, friends I’d lost touch with, current friends and relatives, and have had no end of fun looking at people’s profiles and being amazed at this nifty tool that allowed me to reconnect with some long lost friends.

It sucked up a huge amount of time getting it set up and reading through everyone’s stuff, etc, not to mention chatting online with a few people, but now that it is up and running it seems like it will potter along without needing lots of maintenance time – though I understand that there are those out there who are quite addicted and spend lots of time on it!

As always, I subscribe to my theory of using it in order to be able to imagine more from it, so it will be interesting now to see what I can come up with for ways to use facebook in the classroom, particularly when it is not allowed through the DET portal.

April 21, 2009 Posted by | Social Networking | | 5 Comments