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Monday, November 18, 2013

Social Media and Parental Presence

facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

This past week I  watched a very sad indictment of the "Sextortion of Amanda Todd" being aired on CBC The Fifth Estate, to commemorate the anniversary of Amanda's death.  I was horrified to hear how twelve and thirteen year old teens are sharing lewd images of themselves on group blogging and webcam sites.  I was even more than horrified to see how online predators could take advantage of such students,  and blackmail them into sharing more revealing images.  This tragedy exemplifies some insidious dangers inherent with image sharing sites,  such as SnapChat and Instagram, and with private chat rooms.   Media literacy is not the topic on display, and images provoke more than just fear, or isolation, they can provoke students to suicide.

This brought to mind many ways as parents we need to be involved in our students' "online time"?

You will often hear students saying that the time they spend alone on their computers is private and they have the "rights" to not share their online behaviour.  Not only are cases of cyber bullying on the increase,  many are not being reported for fear of reprisal.  Often the RCMP cannot respond to complaints in time,  due to the nature of time sensitive issues regarding the Internet.

So what can we as parents/teachers do in this situation?

  • Help our students gain awareness of maintaining appropriate digital citizenship, about creating a digital footprint, empowering them with rules and behaviour for fostering online friends.
  • Consider and decide how your family may choose to monitor online and offline conversations.  Teens are often awake late into the night when lights go out. 
  • Encourage loving relationship with your developing teen,  that includes lots of openness to discuss all kinds of  topics.
  • Discuss and encourage safe digital citizenship such as those found in moderated sites like our school Ning.
  • Discuss and apply safe strategies around online activities in group Skype/webcam/google hangout chats if there are no moderators. 
  • Discuss why there are age restrictions set by social media sites.  As a parent you know your child's emotional maturity and ability to communicate responsibly.  You may choose to wait until your student is 13 or older before establishing a social network profile.
  • Pray for your students to imbibe wisdom in relationship, and in sharing personal information and healthy self esteem.
My prayer is that as a community we can be accountable for all of our students, and that together we can partner with you as parents to help keep our students safe.

For information on sites which can help you deal with bullying and preventative education go here.  To watch a great powerpoint with good discussion topics go here
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Digibraians Unite!

Gone are the days when librarians enjoyed the tight lipped, over controlled persona,  where students and parents feared your presence and eagle eye!

In the quiet dungeon of such library tombs the sound of the date stamp as it thundered onto your book was quite frightening!  Worse than that, losing a book was a life sentence!


Welcome to the age of the "Digibrarian" where literacy is not limited to taking out a hard cover book and returning it on said due date.  Instead the role of teacher librarian, media specialist, or as we now call it "Digibrarian",  has taken the bull by the horns and entered the twenty first century leading the literacy highway.

Digital literacy may encompass many skills which require superb multi-tasking, from : financial literacy; reading literacy; physical literacy; ed tech literacy; art and music literacy; project based learning and inquiry learning.  The list goes on…. and the "Digibrarian" rises to the fore with new and wonderful #makerspaces!  To see all the #libraryawesomeness check out this  infographic!

In our learning commons Digibrarians  may be found:
  •  creating techie tools/bibliographies for patrons, 
  • sharing the joy of  e books, audio books, 
  • creating presentations on digital citizenship,  and social media, 
  • creating havens like Ning to encourage students to learn about social media and digital citizenship
  • helping students refine the research process using tools that fit their learning style  
  • creating a myriad of techie and literacy events to highlight and promote the learning commons.  
  • reading and role modelling literacy  
  • supporting a nurturing and welcoming space for all students 
  • shipping materials to patrons all over the province and beyond
  • writing and editing resources for patrons in the form of kits and supplements.
  • Correlating curriculum.
  • blogging and creating websites 
  • teaching how to use academic databases and Google
  • curating on different media outlets and sharing to social media
  • leading  

 To help Google; curators of the Internet otherwise known as Digibrarians are here to save the Day!

Digibrarian Hero!
Please add all the extra missions you do as a "Digibrarian"?  I am sure I have left out a ton!

Josh Garrels - Pilot Me (from "The Sea In Between")

My new best inspiration of the week.  I absolutely love this song.  Morning worship wake up and shine! Thanks Kevin Gourley for sharing on our music polling competition on the Ning. Thanks Josh Garrels and Pilot Me.