Class visit for iPod project launch

This past week had a number of highlights:

  • Tuesday night Ontario Meetup online session with Alec Couros
  • Discussions with school administrators about content filtering and system readiness for change
  • iPod Touch project launch
  • a presentation from @AnitaBK to our Board’s consultant staff regarding our new library program design
  • ongoing discussions with @ron_mill, @hniezen and @rebrouse about keeping the conversation alive, keep pushing the envelope

So much to blog about, and not enough available time to blog this past week. Why are days only 24 hours long???

Thursday, I had the opportunity to visit the classroom of @kimsten for the launch of the iPod project. This particular class has been issued a set of iPod Touch units to use on a 1:1 basis for the balance of the school year. The iPods will be used both at school and at home.

The students had been issued their iPods a day or two before the ‘launch’. With expectations reviewed, students were busy with their first assignment – check out the iTunes store to see what applications were available and which ones captured their interest.

I appreciated the opportunity to attend the session and feel the excitement in the room as students eagerly waited for their turn to demonstrate their application choice to the class with the document camera. As one might expect, many of the students had investigated the games section. I was impressed with the number of students that had also explored other areas of interest and were prepared to present these choices. Chatting informally with the students, they shared a broad range of interests in the applications including google earth, wordpress (for blogging), puzzle/problem solving, interactive whiteboard (shared drawing), creation tools for art and communication tools. Some students were already taking typing lists to capture the choices of other students with the iPod notes application.

I know this will be an interesting learning opportunity for the class, and I look forward to being involved as they travel this mobile learning journey.  A few photos from my visit are displayed below.

Following the student presentations, the class was off to the lab to do a collaborative writing session using etherpad with @wattsup56.

~ Mark

Things that make you go hmmm


Last Friday, I wrote a blog post about the excellent session about copyright and the Creative Commons presented by @thecleversheep at the recent RCAC event.

Over the weekend, I became aware of the Artists’ lawsuit against major record labels for copyright infringement. While the lawsuit dates back to 2008, it keeps popping up in the news because new plaintiffs keep joining the case.

The issue has occurred because record companies no longer had to get a compulsory license every time they used a song. As long as the song was added to a list of music pending authorization. Essentially, this translates to using the song now as long as it was on a ‘pending’ list, and the artist(s) would be paid later. As you might guess, this did not work out so well – the promise of payment has not happened. The list of ‘pending’ songs is over 300,000 – YIKES. The copyright infringement lawsuit may be valued as high as $ 6 billion.

How ironic the the record companies will go after music sharing violations of various schemes, then hold out on paying the artists themselves. Hmmmm. Thanks to Twitter contact @NBCCSue for posting the link to this article.

Related Reading

1. View the ars technica blog post.

~ Mark

Links for 2009-12-13

Links: 2009 12 13 — Interesting finds of the week

1. Digital Media and Learning

2. NASSP: Shifting Ground

3. Stumble Upon: BBC article Children who use technology are better writers

4. Track iTunes for new apps with AppShoper (Thanks @msjweir)

5. Paper: PLC’s: Investing in Invention

6. Discovery Education: Conquering Technophobia

Enjoy the learning, keep up the sharing.

~ Mark

New Facebook Privacy Settings Get Mixed Reaction

There has been a fair bit of hype around the promised improvements to Facebook privacy settings. The release of the new privacy settings format this week has come with a mixed reaction from users and privacy advocates. Many users claim some settings are in fact more open than they were before and that it is easier for users to give out details they may not wish to share.

The first time you log in since the new settings were put in place, you are prompted to review and update your settings. As you can see from the screen capture below, there is a long list of things impacting your privacy options to work through and check.

Personally, I was disappointed to see that some of the settings default to friends of friends. I was certainly hoping for default settings to be more locked down with the onus on the user to open up the settings to their liking. In working through this new setup, I noticed that not all settings seemed to adhere to the way I set them the first time through.

Be aware, and be safe online. Take the time to complete a thorough review of your settings. I would recommend the following actions:

  • a detailed review of ALL of your settings with appropriate changes saved
  • logout
  • login
  • recheck the settings for verification

I believe there continues to be more work for privacy and online safety advocates to do.

Related Reading

From the Facebook blog: new privacy tools
ABC News: 5 things to know about the new Facebook privacy settings.
Yahoo News: Privacy Advocates slamFacebook change

~ Mark

RCAC: Managing the Gap

One of the things I really enjoyed about the RCAC event this week was meeting people for the first time that I have only known though online interactions. It was truly a pleasure to meet @thecleversheep, @peterskillen and @aforgrave.

The format of the RCAC day is keynote, break out sessions, lunch, keynote and another round of break out sessions. This formula works well, and there is always a good selection of presenters and topics for the break out sessions. This year, I had registered for a presentation about the Creative Commons. What a pleasant surprise to discover that the session was being presented by @thecleversheep, who I had been following for some time on Twitter.  How wonderful to meet a kindred spirit who shares the same passion about copyright, licensing, managing content in appropriate ways in the web 2.0 world and spreading the word about digital citizenship!

I really liked the framework used to discuss content from a cradle to grave perspective: creation, ownership and rights of use through to public domain. You own the rights to content you create (original or using legal sources), all rights reserved and 50 years after your death, it becomes part of the public domain. The ‘gap’, defines the timeframe between creation and public domain. The Creative Commons provides a great way for you to formally indicate a specific type of copyright licensing and use of your work(s) while you are alive. Licensing typically fall into the  areas of:

  • attribution
  • share alike
  • non commercial
  • non derivative
  • and combination of these principles

Detailed license descriptions are available at the Creative Commons website. Excellent examples were given to illustrate music, videos, written content and remix/mashups. I had to smile when audience questions were taken at the end of the session and the answers to some scenarios were ‘that’s illegal’ and ‘that breaks copyright’. Just because something is easy to do with technology does not mean it is legal to to it.  The Clever Sheep knows his stuff !

I would encourage you to visit the Clever Sheep website and view the Creative Commons for RCAC article. Thanks for a great session, being a creative teacher and promoting digital citizenship.

Thank you to @dougpete and his organizing team for a great learning opportunity.

~ Mark

Video Streaming on the Go

I recently became aware of two applications that allow users to stream video from their iPhones. Today was a download, install and try out apps for the the first time day. The products I tested are listed below.

I am already thinking about curriculum applications. First impressions will follow in a future post.

~ Mark

Social Media ID Probe

Question of the day: How willingly do social network users give up personal data?

This very question has been explored by Sophos UK. Sophos conducted testing in 2007 and 2009. The results may surprise you.

Given the efforts put into promoting and raising the awareness levels of Digital Citizenship, online safety and privacy, I would have anticipated a trend of improvement to be reflected in the results. However, this was not the case. I wonder if a big factor in this result stems from the continuing growth in the numbers of social network users. The Facebook blog currently reports over 300 million users. Just a few months ago the number was in the 250 million range. TwitDir, a Twitter directory currently shows 5.3 million users with an aggressive growth rate. Some estimates place the Twitter growth rate at 1382%. The reality is that this means there are high numbers of relatively inexperienced social networkers in the mix at any given point in time who may not be as savvy as more experienced online users.

Some highlights from the testing showed that:

  • 41 – 46% of users probed blindly accepted a friend request
  • one of the ‘blind friends’ was in fact a plastic duck
  • younger users tend to give out information more freely

Actual results of the probe are summarized in the chart below.

I would encourage you to read the report and recommendations for online safety at From my point of view, the results indicate that there is considerable work to do in the area of Digital Citizenship and online safety.

~ Mark