The Teacher Becomes the Student

I have the privilege every day to speak with schools, corporations, police, non-profits, church and support groups and other organizations about the tremendous practical benefits of social media in our lives today. image

My typical routine is to arrive at a venue, sign in and meet-and-greet at the school office, chat with the organizers and student tech teams, test my setup, watch as the students roll into the auditorium or gym and then launch into the presentation. Afterward, take some Q&A and answer questions with students wanting more specific tips and online ideas. (more…)

Je Suis Parent

Yes, it’s true. I. Am. A. Parent. I’m also a strong advocate for the use of Social Media with our children.

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With two kids of my own, a mid-teenager son and a 20-something daughter, I’ve been through the social media gamut on all levels looking at selfies, duck-lip faces, food shots, clothing, the glorious and well-staged magazine-like vacations of friends, family and their friends, selfies and more selfies. But when all I see is someone’s persistent sense of self-importance and non-stop narcissistic content, I unfollow. Period. (more…)

Outrage and Glass Houses

I was contacted last Spring by a number of parents to give my take on this blog post titled “TDSB School Asked My Autistic Student Not to Attend Graduation.” But I couldn’t because I didn’t know the actual first-hand facts. I wasn’t there. Give it a read it along with TDSB’s response plus the numerous Facebook comments that follow. As well, the 160+ comments on the blog itself. But first a caveat; please keep the following questions in mind:image

1. Despite the urge to immediately toss aside your glass house (of which we all own one), hit the keyboard and comment on the blog, do you have first-hand knowledge of this specific event? Were you there for the entire situation? (more…)

Clarity – from an iPhone

I bought a new smartphone. That’s not a big deal in and of itself, however, the decision on which model to purchase had nothing to with the phone and everything to do with how I was living day-to-day.image

Being fully vested into the Apple ecosystem, I found the new iPhone 6 and 6-Plus to be quite appealing. Running much of my business from my phone and iPad Air as well as a significant amount of social media, web surfing, photography and reading, the promise of longer battery life on the 6-Plus was attractive. Also on the 6-Plus was the larger 5.5-inch display, in full glorious HD, no less. But the downside was also its upside; the thing is huge and pulling out it out of a pocket countless times each day to respond to notifications was inconvenient. (more…)

Back in My Day…

imageHow to alienate a tech-savvy teen in four short words; lead with “back in my day” and then proceed to invalidate each one of their preferred methods of communication, relationship management and information gathering strategies.

See, back in MY day we had a rotary dial phone that hung on the wall in the kitchen with a 25’ cord attached to the receiver. There was the inconvenience of long-toned busy signals when someone was on the phone. No call waiting. No text. No Interwebs.That was MY day. But it isn’t our kids’ day today. Students live, for the most part, online – whatever that might look like be it, good, bad or ugly. (more…)

Are Students Really Leaving Facebook?

IMG_0001I’m not a social scientist, whatever that is (heard someone describe themselves as that this week, but they couldn’t really explain it). But I know things, I hear things, and I ask about things, a lot – with the students that I teach. And having been in four different secondary schools this past week in Lakefield, Scarborough, Kitchener and Oakville, I thought I would ask all 5,100 of them; “Who still has an active Facebook account?” Most all of them do. “Who has checked into their Facebook account within the past week.” Almost everyone. “Who uses Facebook less than they used to.” About half, with most still using it regularly. But here’s the rub; students/teens are using Facebook with a more defined and specific purpose – like a utility. They login, scan their News Feed, add content when they have something to say or to apprise their friends of, contribute to their friend’s conversations and content – and move along to their other social sites, apps and activities. (more…)

BYOD and Student Reality

imageI had the opportunity recently to sit with a group of secondary school students to listen and understand how they mostly use their mobile devices and tablets. What I discovered, and quasi-knew through many conversations and student interviews this past summer, is the disparity between the reality as to how students use and prefer to use their devices and the excellent efforts put forth to embrace technology in the classroom through initiatives such as 21st Century Learning, flipped classrooms and “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD).

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