Thursday, October 6, 2016

Managing Social Technologies

Social technologies have been described as a 'third platform' comprised of social media, mobile computing, data analytics and cloud computing services. (Gartner, IDC) I'm increasingly finding this to be a useful framework.

Many organisations are moving to a more mature and strategic use of social media, mobile computing and cloud services informed by careful use and analysis of data and analytics generated by these services.

Staff and students are finding it relatively easy to create online social and learning networks for sharing, collaboration and advocacy using social technologies. However social technologies bring risks as well as agility, innovation and opportunities for creativity.

Privacy, security, ownership and control of social technologies must be understood to minimise the risks and maximise the potential benefits. Creative Commons licensing, information management and account/password management become important tools and processes.

I'm looking forward to a rewarding journey of digital transformation as we strategically navigate this space while focussing on organisational priorities to innovatively deliver key outcomes.

Friday, September 30, 2016

2016 ePortfolio Forum Day 2: Digital footprints as ePortfolios and open badges

For me day two reinforced the message that students are choosing to use a range of technologies beyond those provided by their educational institution to support their learning.

In general students are not bringing social (Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram) content into institutional ePortfolios but they are taking learning artefacts and reflections from institutions (and work placements) into personal social technologies.
  • What are the privacy implications of this blurring of the personal and institutional?
  • What are the copyright and IP implications?
  • What are the learning, teaching and assessment benefits and risks?
Some courses in higher educational institutions (medicine, health, education) raise awareness of privacy issues, scaffold student understanding and model best practice. But what about students in other courses who are capturing their learning in personal social technologies? Are the risks lower in other courses?

A student's digital footprint or online presence could be seen as a collection of learning and social artefacts - an (unintended?) 'ePortfolio'. These collections can be made visible through search engines.

Institutional ePortfolios provide a controlled environment and risk mitigated processes to construct an online folio. Are students aware of the potential benefits and risks of the personal (and often unplanned) 'ePortfolio' that arises when someone puts their name into a search engine?

Increasing numbers of students are engaged in both formal and informal learning. Can online open badges provide a way for students to raise the status of their informal learning in the eyes of potential employers and educational institutions?

Do open badges provide a way for students to bridge formal and informal learning across their chosen social technologies and into institutional ePortfolios?

Should the My Education ePortfolio facilitate the presentation of open badge backpacks?

How do we prepare students in years 7-12 to safely and effectively navigate institutional and personal ePortfolios?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

ePortfolios Australia 2016 Forum - Day One Reflections

I'm attending an eportfolio event for the first time in 5 years.

Five years ago I was working on eportfolios for learning and assessment with TAFE students and teachers using Moodle/Mahara.

Today part of my focus is on the safe and effective use of social technologies within a new Tasmanian government My Education program.

Within this program the eportfolio agenda has shifted to
  • support career assessment, guidance and planning (My Education and Kuder Navigator for years 7-12)
  • provide an external link for potential employers and further education (Kuder Navigator)
  • support students to safely create a professional, responsible and respectful online presence through their chosen social technologies (plus LinkedIn for students in years 9-12)
  • support student learning and parent engagement
  • provide ongoing access to the above ePortfolio (Kuder Journey available to school leavers and the general community through libraries)
In this context my takeaways from the sessions I attended on the first day of the 2016 ePortfolio Forum (principally for higher education) are:
  • ePortfolios appear to have found some implementation niches - work-integrated learning, student centred/directed learning, continuing professional development, authentic/transdisciplinary learning, wicked problems...
  • Employers are looking for deeper insights into and points of difference between applicants - the focus is more on soft skills, creativity, marketing... An eportfolio (and social media) provide a window to these.
  • Learning artifacts and reflections are now more easily captured at the point of learning via mobile devices.
  • More ePortfolios reference employability/capability/CPD skills providing meaningful frameworks for students and employers.
  • ePortfolio-based tasks count for formal assessment.
  • Students are using social media for learning, uploading, sharing and peer review/critique.
  • Students are choosing cloud services and apps for learning and productivity tools.
My keyword to describe eportfolio use and implementation is now 'wicked' :-)

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.