Monthly Archives: December 2010

So? What is a domain name?

When you surf to a website, you can get there two ways.  In your browser (Firefox or Internet Explorer) you can type in the real address:  This looks like 127.0.0.1.  Or, you can use the name attached to that address, something like www.ibm.com This is the domain name.

We have ownership of the domain name   www.collegecrow.net this means that if anyone surfs to that address they will see content that we put there. Names on the internet are only leased (you pay for them for a time period and if you stop paying then they are available to someone else to purchase.

What might this mean to you?

Have you ever tried ego surfing? That’s where you type your name into Google and see if you turn up. Or just type in your name in the browser and see if there’s a web site on you. Not surprisingly there is unlikely to be a web site about you unless you make it. Yet, this is what a potential employer is going to do. When you apply for a job, your potential employer is likely to look for you on the web to see if they can find some information about you. This is an opportunity for you to improve your chances of reaching the interview stage. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if they found a web site about you – listing all your achievements, your skills, your suitability to the job, your value to the organisation and with links to your hobbies or sporting interests?  Remember though this should be balancing the fine line of introducing you without publishing personal data like your address or other details you wouldn’t want to make public. This also shows an employer how responsible you can be and smart in managing your won information.

If this sounds like a smart move – purchasing your own domain name before someone else gets it is a good thing; populating it with your research papers from Uni, listing achievements and so on, you might give yourself a head start when looking for a job.

Go to one of the web sites that let you purchase domain names, search to see if your name is available and maybe ask someone for the name as a birthday present.

Digital Competence

The capacity to participate in a digital world

Self

Digital Access:  The capacity to use and own digital technology.

This should be gender irrelevant, and encompass the capacity to explore and be undaunted by new things. This forms the basis of being a digitally capable citizen. Digital exclusion of any kind is restrictive to the growth of human beings in a digitally natured society (like schools).

Digital Commerce: The capacity to participate in an increasingly cashless society.

This must include the recognition of imbalance during trade, the recognition of when being ‘ripped-off’, and how to be successful consumers of online goods and services. The understanding of hidden small print and sneaky deals, and long term ramifications of signing up for services. To select

Digital Literacy: The capacity to access information with discrimination and verification of that information’s veracity.

To express oneself in non-written ways, encompassing multimedia constructs. To select appropriate methodologies and applications suited to purpose and be discriminating in that choice. To personalise and purpose focus own computers and mobile devices and link them towards a synergetic relationship.  To construct personalised portal applications. To understand different file formats and their open or closed-ness.  To be RSS aware as a basis for managing information overload.

Digital Learning: To have self management skills in learning activities.

To manage digital media and files supporting learning. To keep reflective portfolios and recognise patterns of learning in order to be aware of own learning style and preferences. To know how to seek out what is needed to fill learning gaps. To know how to seek mentors, support, peers, information sources, etc, when constructing personal learning networks. To maintain the currency and freshness of that network in changing situations.

Digital self protection: The capacity to be self protecting against digital attack.

From computer virus, malware, online fraud, identify theft, or cyberbullying. The capacity to construct a positive image of self in cyberspace, untarnished by inadvertent inappropriate activities. To manage one’s own digital footprint. To protect digital assets with appropriate backup and storage. To protect hardware and maintain it in working order. To maintain digital skills sufficient to be on equal level when participating in the job market.

Digital wellbeing: The capacity to use technology to enhance rather than be detrimental to health.

To set and maintain routines, schedules and time limits appropriate for using technology. To have sufficient OH&S knowledge to promote self wellbeing. To understand ergonomics as applied to technology use. To have strategies and knowledge enough to deal with cyberbullying. To have awareness of the time consuming (addictive) nature of cyber activities.

Others

Digital responsibility: To know about copyright, other digital laws and ethical use of technology.

To know how to not infringe creative rights and find alternative sources of media for personal consumption. To know how to avoid illegal activity, knowingly done or inadvertently done. To refrain from using technology and digital skills to cause harm or distress to others be they of a less, equal or more skilled nature. To have self protecting, human feeling awareness capabilities around social networking. To develop competency in new methods of communication etiquette suited to the media chosen. To know how to choose the right system per situation. To respect/protect the privacy of other people’s sensitive information.

Digital Etiquette:   To appreciate appropriateness when interacting with humans – seen or unseen and mechanical response systems.

To be discriminating in file sharing – cloud computing and interchangeable file types. To use appropriate language subsets, suitable to the media chosen.

Blogs

An issue that is increasingly important for students and of vital importance for any leader and evangelist of ICT in education is the capacity to take regular classroom activities out of that classroom both spatially and temporally. We are, like many, a college with insufficient face to face teaching time; so access to the learning minds of students outside school hours is vital. Tools that tap into screenagers enamourment of social networking and technology are an important solution to this problem. Crooked Timber’s Henry Farrell identifies five major uses for blogs in education.

First, teachers use blogs to replace the standard class Web page. Teachers post class times and rules, assignments, project, notifications, suggested readings, and exercises.

Second, and often accompanying the first, teachers post links to Internet items that relate to their course.

Third, blogs are used to organise in class discussions.

Fourth, teachers use blogs to organise class seminars and to provide summaries of readings. Used in this way, the blogs become “group blogs”—that is, individual blogs authored by a group of people.

Fifth, students may be asked to write their own blogs as part of their course grade.

Farrell’s fifth use of blogs could, with little change become, requiring students to construct their own lesson material or compile their findings of ongoing experiments or exchange possibilities with peers – within a stipulated project, either teacher or student generated.

For an example of this; a Year 9 Science class, via www.blogger.com (See pictures below) were required not to submit a final assignment paper but produce a blog of the experimental progress concerning water quality and associated flora and fauna in a waterway in Centennial Park. Review by peers counted for as much of the final mark as the teacher input. Blogs were specifically chosen so as to raise digital literacy, remove possibility of a last minute all nighter, allow considered reflection or contributions and access by the teacher in non-school settings. The science teacher was also able to improve the students learning by adopting uses 1, 2 and 3 (Farrell). The class teacher used the students’ own blog entries to link to sites of interest or further exploration (use 2). The ‘scaffold’ in the students own head served as the basis from which to explore and so expand. The teacher also had a blog entry to act as a reference page to review the topic as the study progressed, acting as an advanced organiser page and an index to the students’ own work (use 1).  While not a use specific to the project, discussion was encouraged across the blogs as to the interest level and completeness of peer work.

Blogs can be in-house, but the resultant ‘in captivity’ nature then negates the value of being internet based. An important value of a blog is that students know they have a more public reach; that they are potentially in the face of an audience of global proportions; having outside review as a real possibility gives gravitas to their approach and writing.

Sample blog entries from yr 9 Science class.

I have finished writing my scientific report. All of the experiments and observations and research I completed taught me a lot about an area that I live so close to but knew hardly anything about. I found the open ended investigation really interesting and enjoyed doing it. Now that I know so much more about the protected wetland, it makes me want to help maintain its existence. It was fun, but it feels good to be finished!
Today i tested the turbidity and salt presence of ny first 2 samples and as they were from the harbour they were very high salt. I am going to do my moisture and organic content of my 2nd lot of soil samples. Because the science teachers are using the drying oven at school i have to use the second oven in the boarding kitchen. The kitchen won’t let me use their scales so straight after school today i went to phillip and weighed out 2 lots of each soil and what i will do is put all 8 in the oven but i will take the first 4 out at an hour and a half and the other four at 3 hours because i am unable to weigh them inbetween so this way the first ones will be moisture and the second organic. This weekend i hope to go and take more pictures of the gardens and work on my report.
due to miss b being away on tuesday, i have had to delay my parent rock, texture and colour testings. these tests are the last ones that need to be completed so every test has been completed at least once. they will be tested during lunchtimes, whenever miss b is available.
once these are complete i can begin sections of my report that invlove methods and results.
i have already begun writting my draft report; the introduction and reference section.
also called the Health officer from Randwick council- Mark Leona about the new stormwater system that has been installed. results from this arent determinable yet as to how it has impacted as it is still early days but i did get some details on the system.

the regeneration number did not respond, this reference is not too important though.
nor did the Environment officer at randwick 9399 xxxx

Digital Literacy course for Yr 6

I have begun to write a course for my Year 6 class.
This is proving to be difficult and I might end up producing a lot of it on the fly.

It must dovetail with the regular curriculum, hopefully be a little in front so that when they need computing skills to produce something a little beyond the regular essay-type assignments, they think in terms of digital storytelling or take a multimedia approach.

I also want to avoid handing them worksheets and paper based material (I’m an advocate of gracefully grandfathering all text books).
This must be partly self exploration and mostly practical.

It should make them competent in the 9 elements of digital literacy at least those pertinent to 11 year olds. And in context of, making the technology they have part of their creative world, not just a tool to Google and word process with. Their own online protection is primarily important and as such they may end up using social networks such as Facebook or something similar. At least they’ll have a chance to learn how to use it sensibly and to their advantage, rather than stumble and post inappropriate pictures and comments. It must cover many of the common Web 2.0 tools we take for granted (Twitter, Bogs, Wikis, Delicious, Etherpad Etc.)

Here’s the extent of the thought process so far.

Digital literacy course

Comments and constructive input welcome