Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Digital Privacy

I did a session for an academic on setting up and using a blog. It went reasonable well, although I'm not sure many students really cared for the idea.

In this generation, blogging seems a mildly outdated method of communication. Although there are many great blogs out there that people read on a regular basis, actually having something to say regularly is hard.

What I did was a rough straw pole of students in the class room and what I found was that no one ran a blog. However many of them used Twitter, so essentially a micro-blog.

From what you hear anecdotally students don't use Facebook anymore, it's an outdated social network. However nearly every student in the class does have a Facebook account with a nearly the same number using Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Snapchat being the favoured preference of all of them despite having multiple accounts.

This then brings me onto the next part of the talk I was giving and that is the privacy of it all.

When writing a blog, posting online and even to Snapchat a notoriously private and instant medium things can stick around forever online. I've friends who teach in schools where kids send inappropriate images over Snapchat thinking it is gone but actually these images can be captured using other 3rd party apps, and then you as the sender lose control of where it is going.

I asked the class who used Myspace and I think I got a few blank stares to what it even was. That was my point. What you are using today may not be what you use tomorrow, I know I have forgotten my Myspace details and can't reset it. I now have something online I have no access to, luckily there is nothing bad there, but still people forget parts of the web exist. They still might come up on a search in a few years time that have a negative impact on a job application. Drunken photos are fun to look at and post, and again you may have no control over how they are viewed but they may stick around longer than you realise.

Always set your privacy settings, and even if they are set to be open make sure they are because you want them to be. With all social networks you can lock down access to other people and have them restricted from public view and I would suggest doing this for the more personal areas of your digital life. Make sure you keep your personal life private, however open you are in real life.

Digital Privacy is a very important part of 21st Century life and it is not going away. Make sure you are on the right side of it and are happy with everything that is happening from your own accounts. You have that level of control, just some sites don't make it all that easy for you to find.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Smaller subjects to keep on Bloggin'

I have been trying to keep my thinking cap on to get big subjects to talk about, and today was sent 2 resources that look great for helping academics to produce digital materials.

This is a very good way of keeping things on track. I had not thought of making my blogs smaller as well. Doing posts on small sections of elarning, and at times just providing links to videos. When you are doing a regular blog these can be just as relevant as trying to write about bigger ideas or themes.

Next week I am delivering a lecture on blogging and the software to use. I have 30 mins to fill and not sure I can as it really is just sign in, set up and ta'dah there you go. OK, so this is an over simplification and I know that. However teaching people to blog is to highlight that what you need to do. That is to write, find something that you are working on or with and document it. It's a diary, a journal and a good blog will get people interested in what you have to say.

So I think I will use this page as an example of what I am doing, and look at what others are doing in the world of educational blog.

Back to the main point though, the two sites I was sent are

Technology Enhanced Learning for You and 1 Minute CPD

I think on the days (of which there are may) I have nothing to say, I do have resources I can post.

So today is a short post, but I suggest you take a look at what others are doing, and remember while we are working in our own little bubbles, actually there are a lot of people like you who might be doing the same thing. It's always worth looking for open resources and wondering how you might be able to use them, or help them with support.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

It all starts with a great idea, it falls due to lack of engagement

Since moving offices, which we all were reticent to do, but had no option to stay; the team has actually taken on a new lease of life. We are in open plan, which has positives and negatives but it has opened up our communication (thanks to being able to talk to each other, but also using Slack). We are trying our hardest to share ideas and share work loads like we never have before. 

It is liberating to actually go from apprehension of the change to a real buzz to be where we are. I know there are plenty of quotes about change and the fear of trying new things but actually most times when you do force a change you get something from it that you never knew was going to be there. I mean it sounds obvious when you write it down, but when it plays within your own head space you like the comfort of knowing what today brings and what tomorrow will be like. Security is a comfy blanket we can wrap our selves in and ignore the inevitable change we must one day make. 

So this leads me to the title. We are now having great ideas for projects and developments between us. For me this blog is an example of a piece of work that I want to try to do. I am finding the daily side of it near impossible to complete but I can do regular. Once or twice a week is fine really when you have a small amount to say!

We are trying to do some larger scale things within the team, but require us all to take part, and over a long time. A group blog, where we all write and don't just leave it to one person. We take an idea one person has but see how it can fit into all of our strategies. My next goal is to get a regular Youtube video rolling out but again it requires a few things to be ready first and actually fits in with the rest of the team who are looking at increasing our profile as well as seeing best practice from around the whole university. 

It's true that a good team can work independently of each other but it must also be able to rely on each individual part to take up the slack of where you might fall down. 

When I had a Saturday job in a shop the manager would get his hands dirty too, and work doing the "grunt" work if it was required. You felt happy to be doing that work if the manager did it too. He didn't do it every day. That's why you pay Saturday staff, but it gave me a sense of value to be part of a team that all contributed to the final goal. 

I get that where I am now. I feel that the team (for the most part) all want to work together. From the top down we are all aware we have a "cause" of elearning and digital technology. We can all be part of something that improves the lives of the students and staff we serve here are the university.  

Monday, 3 October 2016

Back to Work.

Holidays are nice although the inevitable happens. Today, here I am, back to work. It's been a crazy morning trying to catch up on emails and then trying to fix a system that has fallen over.

Some days you wonder why you go away.

The training program is back on for me after the summer hiatus where I was able to focus on a range of other things, this blog included. This afternoon though it starts again, and it makes you realise that when a busy period is underway and you have a few other jobs you want to do, it pays to prioritise and manage your time well.

The problem comes where you have an important task but you have to still do daily work that suddenly seems less important.

The start of term is a big time for new staff to get training and is very important to them. I fully appreciate the need for them, but with a system falling down and trying to get it up right again, you want all the time you can.

Saying that, I have done all I can now, and am waiting on the company to let me know what I need to do next. Just like I found while queuing at Peppa Pig world while on holiday, I am impatient.

You want to get it all working asap, then know that you can still offer a good service.

So while it's great to be back at work. It's really nice to be on holiday!