Facebook

These demographics may not necessarily be accurate but they are interesting. People do not always give their age or their correct age on Facebook and then they may have an account which they are not actually using. It would be interesting to see what is occurring in terms of active Facebook use because it has changed considerably in these last two years and is less social and more games oriented.It still remains a very good way to be in contact with others.Australia rates number 15 which is not bad given our small population and we are very Facebook dedicated.Recently there have been quite a lot of people going through their friends list to get rid of people they dont’ really know and that, in itself, says Facebook is coming of age and that people what some real value out of it.The changes have brought out some real humour and that coupled with some daft Facebook changes has made it quite funny at times. We all seem to be playing our favourite games and are linking up with our friends there.Whether Facebook really is for younger people is something which will remain unknown if real ages are not on there. The cult of youth runs through our society and yet it seems to be older people who are working out some of the real power of social networking because they have more time to explore options and then more experience in social behaviour. We are getting a better representation of age groups and so more depth and diversity. While this is all happening people are weighing up the pros and cons of using Facebook for business and then what sort of business. There are companies and artists who have formed very successful groups but the jury is out as to whether this will translate into financial success. Money. There are other things. Having a lot of followers tends to suggest you have created something worthwhile but that is not enough these days. In any case, Facebook is the third largest country in the world, uploads 3 billion photos each month, speaks 70 languages and is the second most popular site in the world after Google. It is a very strong international community and it has done all of that in 6 years. Crowd power is stupendous!

Turn URLs into Dock icons

Fluid turns internet sites into desktop applications on a Mac, so then you can park them in the Dock. It means you have your Dock filled with the things you use and a lot of what I use on a regular basis are specific websites. It is as easy as in the picture on the home page of the website. I had Fluid installed and my first website icon in my Dock in 2 minutes. The application is free…so no excuses for not playing with it. In the classroom you would be able to get students to have the frequently used sites stored on their MacBooks and then they could get into the habit of shifting them into their dock for the lesson.

15 interesting facts about the Internet

We all seem to have a fascination with facts at the moment and a lot of it seems to centre on social media and internet usage. We are probably aware that change really is going on at the moment and so in our own way we are trying to track it. As people who like technology and the internet then we like to keep up with facts. As teachers we like to use facts and information to create perspective and to get students to understand that all this information means something. So, if you need some facts on the internet, these ones are a bit different and they are the sorts of things which would be meaningful to students and would get some good discussions going.

Mac Photography

Mac Photography Tips is a site for everyone who is using a Mac. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to work out how to get the best out of your Mac or whether you are good a photography and want to get better or if you are migrating from Windows to Mac, you will find something on this site to help you. It has some good lessons for beginners but the beauty of this site is that it gives you instructions with pictures. You can see what you need to click and change. It is very methodical and the writer of this site is enthusiastic and has a cheerful approach to photography. The icing on the cake are the iPhone and iPad tips which are appearing now.

Digital Citizens

We are all learning how to use web 2.0 more effectively but part of what we have to do as teachers is teach students how to use technology effectively and responsibly. There isn’t as yet an agreed way of teaching digital citizenship. So many of us are now Netizens and it is to our credit the internet runs so amicably. I happened to post this question on Twitter last week:

Should students create an online profile with slides & videos to promote themselves. Is this a must? I think so. Why the resistance?

Schools are in a difficult position because we have to protect students as we teach them with online materials and yet we all have a real life profile or CV and we are at the stage where an online one would be valuable. Who is responsible for that? I got a lot of responses. I was staggered by the amount of responses I got. Teachers think we need to take some responsibility for digital citizenship but then it comes down to where the buck stops and who teaches it. We can complain about students using technology badly or in a negative way, but we need to look at what we can do to promote good practice and responsible use. I mentioned in my last post I was trying to find ways of students using mobile phones in a good way to promote and facilitate education and yet people would know me as the one who is very hot on not allowing students to use mobiles in class. These things are not going to go away. So another thing was considering whether it would be good for students to develop an online profile. I am doing that in French with one of my classes. I am also using Twiducate with a class to try and help them use social networks better and in an educational way. We need to get the ideas coming and find out where to obtain a digital passport.

iWebKit

As usual, I was looking for something completely different – a free pdf to swf converter as a matter of fact. I didn’t find a pdf to swf converter – one wouldn’t load, one water marked the final product badly and the other was an online converter from a URL, but I did find iWebKit and it cheered me up enormously. It’s a free kit to make applications for iPod Touch and iPhone. I looked in the gallery section and liked what I saw so I have bookmarked this site. I am thinking, when I have time, I shall have a go at making some French applications for my students.This may or may not work but I shall try! I am also going to show it to my students in Term 4 (October) so that it could be something I’ll offer as a homework option for those students who want to have a try. By then I shall have had a chance to think of what the other options might be because not all students will want to do this. I have one class in mind where half of my students adapt very easily and readily to new things and they will be used to their new laptops by then. I believe as a French teacher I am not just teaching them French. I need to be teaching them things to help them succeed in their world. My other thought is that mobile phones in class can be a real pain so I am currently looking at doing a makeover of the mobile in class approach and finding things which will teach students to use them responsibly.iWebKit is the very thing!

Twiducate

Twiducate is a free social networking site for students and teachers which remains in the control of teachers. It’s private. It means you can safely introduce students to the Twitter like social medium without fear of unwelcome interlopers. It’s Canadian and Canadian teachers are currently the biggest users. I had been looking at it for a while as I do when I wonder if this is a good thing to use in class. You cannot just march in and do things in a classroom. You have to think. I have decided to try it with one of my classes because I believed they, if anyone, would approach it in the right spirit and then we’d trial it for one term. I explained all of this to my class on Monday and Wednesday I enrolled them all in our Twiducate class and by Wednesday night I had avatars up and French tweets and the students were so positive and excited. All I did was give them their password! This thing ran itself. Twiducate motivated them to write French by themselves and to just be there. In two weeks they get their laptops into class and the plan is for us to use it in class. I am thinking it will help them help each other and it will help me help them. I also believe it will be highly motivating and so far it has more than exceeded expectation. I am excited!