Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Strategic Online Presence for Secondary Students

Students may have an online presence distributed over a number of services and created over a number of years. Some may no longer be in use - even forgotten. These present a risk to identity and reputation management.

A strategic approach is needed that will help create a purposeful and professional online identity and reputation.

Students need a safe and secure online presence that they can control and which will populate web searches with positive content.

As seen in the previous two posts students seeking jobs, scholarships and more... also require an ePortfolio, a LinkedIn profile, an online resume and compelling evidence that showcases their knowledge, skills and interests.

An eportfolio could be used as a space to showcase evidence via selected social media as well as displaying a resume and other more formal evidence.

Two or three social media services such as YouTube, Flickr and LinkedIn could be selected and managed to host compelling evidence for a job application. These could be linked or embedded inside an eportfolio.

A resume, assessment results and certificates/prizes could also be uploaded to the eportfolio.

The eportfolio owner could then generate a private URL which would be sent to a potential employer.

In this way a student could begin to strategically manage their online presence and reputation.

However, while a student can manage eportfolio access care needs to be exercised with the selected social media services. Potential risks and strategies to deal with these will be examined in the next post.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Social Media is a Window to Your People Skills

100 years ago research showed that 85% of job success comes from well developed people skills.

Today many employers and recruiters believe that social media provides a window onto a person's people skills. They look for evidence that a potential applicant is displaying the following attributes when interacting with others on social media
  • Positive
  • Helpful
  • Respectful
  • Responsible
Evidence of creativity and a range of interests is also considered important.

Employers don't hire candidates when they find:
  •  provocative or inappropriate photographs
  • information related to drinking and drug use
  • candidate bad-mouthing a co-worker or former place of employment 
  • poor communication skills 
  • discriminatory comments

A poor online reputation can affect a student's friendships, relationships and job prospects.

So, students need to be proactive in creating a positive digital identity and reputation across social media.

They need to post content that showcases their knowledge, skills, interests and people skills.
They need to delete unwanted content - if possible.
They need to think before they post - particularly if passionate or emotional or tired.
They need to ask themselves how they may be perceived by others when they join particular groups or 'like' particular jokes.
They need to be comfortable with their privacy settings and understand the difference between the social and the professional.

Otherwise they may never get a return call - and not understand why...

This is a lot to ask of growing teenagers...
How can we as educators help?

One might be tempted to advise not use social media or to make everything private but having no online presence can also be risky: Does this person know how to use social media? Does this person have contemporary technology skills? What are they hiding?

It can also mean missed opportunities when recruiters proactively search online for potential applicants.

Resume bots and other challenges facing students today

I'm working with ePortfolios again after a break of a few years - and some things have changed.

Students in years 9-12 are now being advised to join LinkedIn, create an ePortfolio, manage their reputation across social media and write resumes that will get past a 'resume bot'.

In other words to have the best chance of being shortlisted for a job students need to take a more strategic approach to shaping their online presence. More about that later.

And it's not just about job opportunities. Two thirds of people Google and search social media before beginning a relationship with someone new. Sports administrators scan social media before taking on a new player. Parents Google potential babysitters.

In many ways Google search results are as much about reputation as information.

Back to the resume bot. This software scans resumes for keywords and rejects those that don't make the grade. Resume bots are increasingly used by large organisations in Australia to help process the high volume of online job applications they receive. A resume submitted for a job may never be read by a human.

So one challenge for students today is to know how to get past a resume bot so that they get shortlisted.

My next post looks at the social media challenge facing students.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Embedding Images into your ME Online ePortfolio

The ME Online ePortfolio can be customised to include banners, images and other design elements using 'embed code'.

To add a banner to your eportfolio you need to have access to an online image URL that is licensed for public use. This may be a picture or graphic of your own, a Creative Commons (CC) or Public Domain (CC0) image.

Use this Creative Commons image search to locate a suitable online image - or watch this video on how to locate Flickr Creative Commons images.

If you have your own banner image you need to upload it and get the embed code.

Flickr Method: Creative Commons Image

STEP 1: Locate the image you wish to use (ensuring it is licensed for re-use).
Select the 'Share Icon'.

STEP 2: Select 'Embed', choose a size and then copy the code.

STEP 3: Paste the embed code into the 'About Me'  'Summary Paragraph' section of your eportfolio.

Note that when you move your mouse over the image in your eportfolio the necessary attribution information appears. If you don't include this part of the embed code then you need to add the required Creative Commons attribution yourself.

Image: Andrii Slonchak CC BY 2.0

Google Blog Method: Own Banner Image

Another way to do this is to create a Google Blog and upload the image to a post.

STEP 1: Select the picture icon and upload your banner image.

STEP 2: Switch to HTML code and copy the image URL (from https://   to .JPG as shown)
NB You can copy the entire section of code if you don't want to use the image as a banner.

STEP 3: Paste the above IMAGE-URL code into Notepad (or any text editor)

Copy and paste this code into Notepad:

Copy and paste the IMAGE-URL into the last line.

STEP 4: Copy and paste the last line into the 'About Me'  'Summary Paragraph' section of your eportfolio.

Save and Publish your eportfolio and Preview.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Alpha Release of a Possible Bookmarking Solution - Part 2

This post was created for a Yammer post.

ME Online Bookmark Links

Click the HTML icon to view a simple public webpage of ME Online Bookmarks with a contents table.

Click the OneNote icon to view a Notebook of ME Online Bookmarks.

(Access for Department staff only.)

These OneNote bookmarks can be customised by the user.

Click the Evernote icon to view a public Evernote Notebook of ME Online Bookmarks. You can view the Notebook without signing up for Evernote.

Evernote is a free bookmark and research tool – these tagged notes can be imported and customised by the user.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Alpha release of possible bookmarking solution

For 15 years the Department has maintained a collection of bookmarks to useful curriculum resources for teachers. The bookmarks are accessed as URLs coded into intranet webpages. The content is located across various Department systems and in multiple external storage/services. Access to these bookmarks has dropped in recent years and many bookmarks have become outdated or broken.

This service is now being reviewed to meet new needs:
  • accessibility - mobile devices and open access
  • resource discovery - effective searching and browsing
  • content curation - sustainable and quality assured

One possible solution is to move all the bookmarks to a social bookmarking service that includes tools for sustainable content creation by multiple users and provides opportunities to develop QA workflows.

Captured bookmarks can be tagged in a way that facilitates research discovery and mobile and desktop apps provide accessible across devices.

Following agile development methods such those outlined by several NextGen Government presenters earlier this year a decision has been made to quickly develop an 'alpha' product and begin user testing within 6-8 weeks. A few topics have been selected to bookmark and a preliminary workflow has been established.

Evernote has been chosen to host the 'alpha' product. Evernote is a well established service with the required feature set to meet the needs identified above. Some staff currently use Evernote.
Bookmarks will be migrated from Evernote into OneNote which is used by many staff. OneNote doesn't have the same functionality as Evernote but will provide an adequate service.

Bookmarks will also be exported from Evernote to an 'HTML Bookmark' web page accessible across all browsers.

Users will also have the option of importing and customising Evernote and OneNote bookmark notebooks to meet specific needs.

The diigo service was tested for importing the HTML Bookmark file but tags, descriptions and graphics did not import so this part of the solution was not implemented.

My Education and specifically ME Online has been chosen as one of three topics for early 'alpha' release and feedback.

HTML Bookmarks webpage

Evernote ENEX import file (unzip before importing into Evernote)

OneNote ME Online Link (Department staff only at this stage)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

EduTECH 2016 Day 2 - Possibility and Creating Preferred Futures

Jane McGonigal Presenting

For me Day 2 at #EduTECHAU 2016 was about possibility.

Anthony Muhammad began the day speaking passionately about the endless possibilities that arise when we make conscious - and then question - the mindsets and assumptions underpinning our educational processes and structures. 

Jane McGonigal closed the day by showing how a futures perspective can open up a space to think about possibilities in the present. She provided a forecasting  framework to help imagine education in 2026 so that we can create preferred futures.

I resonated strongly with these messages. 

Muhammad's words sit comfortably within the holistic and integral frameworks I use that highlight the importance of culture - and question our implicit assumptions and world views. He questioned the often self-fulfilling 'bell curve' mindset.

McGonigal's words reminded me of the importance of social foresight, creating preferred futures and my time playing Evoke six years ago. Her work has helped shape my educational practice over the last decade.

At #EduTECHAU McGonnigal's ideas had close links with Larry Johnson's (now ex-NMC) presentation which asked if our strategic thinking is based on a world that no longer exists. Both spoke about the future already being here - but not evenly distributed. They both mentioned Bitcoin and Blockchain - and the importance of asking 'what if' questions.

Viv White's presentation on how students excel in Big Picture Schools reminded me of the times I taught Student Directed Inquiry (SDI) in years 11/12. Students followed their interest/passion for a year which made up 20-25% of their course load. 

White spoke of recent agreements for Big Picture School students to bypass traditional tertiary entrance which opens up new possibilities for students who become deeply engaged in and responsible for their own learning. I remember an external assessor from university commenting that many SDI students were performing better than her 2nd year students. 

When you tap into student interest and passion the genius within blossoms.

I wasn't expecting to hear these views at an educational technology conference. 
For this I have to thank the #EduTECHAU conference planners for their visionary leadership.

It seems to me the educational technology agenda is about to move on. I'm looking forward to participating - and this might start with a visit to Jane McGonigal's Learning is Earning game to collectively imagine education in 2026.