Category Archives: Google+

Closing the distance between distance education and myself.

Greetings fellow ECI 834 students. I look forward to learning with you over the course of the term!

who am i zoolander.gif

“Who am I?” via Giphy

Who am I?

I am Logan Petlak.

  • High school science educator (biology, health science, environmental science).
  • Football coach (and track coach).
  • Recreational hockey player.

    jesse.png

    Foster kitten: “Jesse” (now adopted: “Lou”)

  • Physical activity addict (weight training, assorted sports)
  • Frequent co-foster parent of stray cats and kittens (with my beautiful partner, Kristin).
  • NFL/NHL fan.
  • Moose Jaw product and resident.
  • Lifelong learner and critical thinker.
  • Proud Central Collegiate, Moose Jaw teacher.
  • Avid gamer and supporter of gamification of learning.
  • Open education supporter.
  • Student advocate.
  • #EdTech enthusiast and;
  • Fledgling distance educator.

This course revolves around the final point! It’s not necessarily a fresh topic for me, I’ve discussed it before. How exactly can I bring the Mr. Petlak experience worldwide? Not for personal gain, but to simply aid in the learning of others? Better question, how do I best deliver online education and learning to others? Therein lies my goals for this course:

  1. Gain resources and tools to create a distance learning classroom. Then utilize tools to best replicate what it’s like to be in a face-to-face classroom with students (and for students, with me).
  2. Connect with other professionals who can provide examples, suggestions and support as I develop distance learning opportunities.
  3. Critique and analyze the learning inherent within distance education and what learning may be lost outside of a face-to-face or in-school setting.
  4. BONUS: begin developing content for my Biology course as part of our module assignment!

 

In our school, some students are already taking distance education courses. Through informal polling, it has received generally positive reviews! Perhaps it was a shift in thinking but I don’t remember them being offered as much when I was in high school and, in my only distance experience in university, I had a hard time getting engaged without the face-to-face piece…

Fast forward.

When picking where to apply for my Master’s, distance education/universities came up, but I assumed they would hold less validity or reverence than other institutions so I decided against it. Whether it was engagement or validity of distance education, I guess I should’ve watched this video first!

Opportunities for distance education are available for most subjects, at many levels, worldwide. How will I fit into the distance education world and can I provide something that others don’t, and will I stick to my open education-centered morality?

If you were a distance educator, would you capitalize on the potential financial gain associated with private education?

How will your distance classroom work?

Am I foolish to hope that I can almost completely replicate the classroom experience, or is being consistently connected (via email) and using apps/tools like Zoom, Remindvirtual reality, google docs or GAFE to include all of the Google apps I guess (thanks Kyle), and socrative not enough to make it happen completely and becomes a blended learning environment (just shy of a completely online course)?

How will I account for students who don’t have as much access? We know they will be affected negatively, can we supply devices at a distance?

 

Regardless, I intend to close the distance between where I am now, and where I want to be with distance and blended education.

 

Thoughts and comments are welcome!
Logan Petlak


Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Actually, it’s Virtual Reality.

The first few lyrics to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is all I can think of when I think about virtual reality (VR). If you aren’t already familiar with virtual reality, to put it simply it’s a type of technology that allows you to experience another environment through sight. This happens by using a headset that tracks your head and eye movements to change the image you are seeing within the headset changing the environment you are experience. Our brains are triggered through the image and movement to make the experience more lifelike. Why might someone use virtual reality? There are a variety of reasons for using VR that go beyond simply entertaining ourselves. There are 9 different industries that use VR for training, education or experiences. Sharon discusses some VR tools that Sask Polytechnic use here in Regina to train their nurses. VR is being used to help treat patients with dementia and for teaching someone how to walk again. For an overview of virtual reality and how it works check out this video.

Amy found a really great Ted Talk discussing how virtual reality should be used to develop empathy through experiencing the lives of others around the world. I cannot even fathom what it would be like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes in a war torn country or a country where children must walk miles to get to school. Yes I have seen videos or documentaries, but those videos do not give me the same experience that VR could. I had never thought of using VR in this way before and I think that this would is an incredible way to use the technology.

Photo Credit: bmward_2000 Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: bmward_2000 Flickr via Compfight cc

Augmented Reality (AR) is another type of reality that can be experienced using technology. This is when we experience reality by combining the real world with overlaying information. Some forms of AR I am familiar with are found while watching TSN or other sports on TV. The first down line on an football field is an augmented reality, it can be argued that slow motion is a form of augmented reality as well because it helps us examine a clip more closely to see what happened. Charles Arthur provides a thorough description of AR by discussing the development, AR apps and the future of advertising using AR. Bill and Logan introduced us to Aurasma which is an AR app that has so many uses within the classroom. Rochelle described how she uses Aurasma at her school by having students create book reviews for the books in the library. A book review is just one example of the many ways AR can be used in education and within our classrooms.

Of course we can’t forget about the digital divide when we think about integrating these experiences in our classrooms. We must always remember that all students come from different socio-economic backgrounds and that the access to technology among them might vary. The cost to implement VR technology in our classes can also be very expensive (unless we use Google Cardboard which is reasonably priced).

I can definitely see myself using a word wall for my math courses and integrating some of the virtual experiences into my technology class. I am really interested in Google Expeditions and want to find a way to integrate that into my technology class. This might be something that I could collaborate with another teacher to make it a cross-curricular activity mixing technology with social or science class. I was happy to hear so many of you already have experience with these different realities and I love hearing how you integrate them into your classes. If there is anything you are doing that uses these technologies I’d love to hear in the comments below!


Assistive Technology Doesn’t Just Involve Technology

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks Flickr via Compfight cc

I was a little apprehensive about having to write this post discussing the topic of assistive technology. I wasn’t sure that I would have a lot to say because I didn’t think I had a lot of experience with using assistive technology but after reading a few of my classmates blogs this week I was able to think about assistive technology from a new perspective. I teach at the same school as Andrew so my experience is much the same in the fact that I don’t have the variety of students that many other teachers have. I have had very few students with disabilities that need adaptations however there have been instances in which I have had to make adaptations. In my internship I had a student who was unable to read from anything printed on white paper so I had to print everything for them on yellow or green paper.  Another way that I have accommodated a student with a disability is by chunking their work. This involves breaking a big assignment down into manageable pieces for them so they don’t get overwhelmed and fail to finish the assignment.

I didn’t think that any of these adaptations could fall under assistive technology until I read Amy and Heidi’s blogs this week. Each blog discusses ways that we adapt that might not involve technology. If you check out the Understood website there is a large list of assistive technologies that don’t actually involve technology. After reading through some of the items in the list I realize that I do a lot more adapting than I had originally thought. In my math classes, students use calculators, graph paper, rulers, protractors and manipulatives. These are all assistive technologies. Other examples include chair cushions, fidgets, spell-check, timers and graphic organizers.

Dave Eayburn describes assistive technology as: “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability”. I feel like it’s a pretty good definition of assistive technology but I do think it assistive technology can help everyone, not just those with disabilities.

Assistive technologies (or ATs) are specialized technology (software and/or hardware) that are used by people with and without disabilities to adapt how specific tasks can be performed.

Photo Credit: DiegoMolano Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: DiegoMolano Flickr via Compfight cc

I think that assistive technologies go beyond hardware and software and include any object or device that allows us to be more efficient or productive. We all use assistive technology everyday; computers, phones, word processors, Siri, microwaves and cars are just some examples of the daily items we use that assist us. Obviously there are some devices (hearing aids, braile, sensory objects to name a few) that are more helpful to those who have disabilities and which impact these individuals more in their daily life than my everyday life. For example, could I get by without a computer? Sure I could, but my work life would be a lot less productive. I appreciate having the technology to use but if the computer was never invented I wouldn’t know any different and I would be able to carry out my job no problem. However, someone who is blind and never learns to read braile will have significant issues reading and learning.

Google Read and Write was discussed a lot this past week and it was interesting to read teachers discuss their experience using it in their classrooms. Roxanne is able to integrate it into her daily language lessons and I think that it is a great tool to adapt for those who struggle, but is also a great tool for students who may not necessarily need the tool. There are a variety of features and two of them that I thought were really great were the vocabulary list and the word predictor. The word predictor is great for students who may be learning English or who struggle with reading.

I haven’t had any experience with the add on, but after watching this video there are a few suggestions that I have. The first is that when the picture dictionary is used it would be nice to have real, lifelike pictures to choose from as opposed to simple cartoons/clip art. My second suggestion isn’t just for Google Read and Write, but for all Text-To-Speech (TTS) software. It would be nice if the audio didn’t sound so robotic. Is it too much to ask to have it sound more like an audiobook that is read by a real person? Now I know that it isn’t as easy to develop software that can do that but my hope is that sometime in the future we get there. I can’t imagine having to use TTS often and having to listen to Mr. Roboto talk to me. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here is a sample from the article we were asked to read this week. It had a listen option so I decided to click it to see how it sounds. Let’s just say I didn’t listen to the whole file and can’t imagine having no option but to listen to it.

One final thought is based on a recommendation from the article Rethinking Assistive TechnologyThe article has seven recommendations for rethinking assistive technology and the one that stood out to me the most was that we should consider using “technology enhanced performance” as a replacement for the term “assistive technology”. The reason I like this so much is because it breaks down the barriers and stigmas that might be associated with students who use the assistive technology. The adaptations shouldn’t be something that makes users feel singled out or different and changing the name of it might help break down those barriers a bit.

What are your thoughts? How do you adapt for your students? Do your adaptations always involve technology or are some of the adaptations less sophisticated? Have you had any experience with TTS software and did it involve a Mr.Roboto? Do you think TTS software will ever sound ‘human’?


You have to walk before you can run.

Tuesday night it was my turn to take part in the Great Tech Debate for my EC&I 830 class. The debate statement was: Schools should not be teaching anything that can be googled. I was arguing in favour of that statement but to be honest when we signed up for the debate topics I was planning to argue against the statement. So it was actually quite interesting to try and argue against my own feelings on the topic. I can’t say that I came around and was fully convinced that schools shouldn’t be teaching anything that can be googled, but I think that my team was able to argue some valid points.

It is important to understand that although it seems that almost anything can be googled, it cannot be the be all and end all as Jeremy also noted. Google is a tool. We need to teach students how to use the tool properly in order for them to benefit from using it. We need to teach students that not everything they see online is true and how to evaluate the quality of online information. Before our students can evaluate the information on the internet, they need to have some foundational knowledge. This is where I agree with Amy in that the “cart can’t come before the horse”. Now I know what you are all thinking — didn’t she argue against that in her debate?? Yes…yes I did. But I had to come up with something to argue in favour for the statement. Isn’t this why we are taking grad classes?? To be challenged haha. Anyways, I agree that students do need to have some basics before they can jump into the whole evaluating and analyzing part of learning.

In my own little world, I would argue that the focus should be on developing basic skills but we cannot be okay with simple memorization of facts. We need students to go beyond memorizing and move towards deeper understanding and thoughts. In order to move beyond the basics, we should be trying to “google proof” our questions.  We should be working towards questions that make students think as opposed to allow them to find a simple answer online. Terry Heick describes three ways that google impacts the way students think and I think they are very valid points. Terry suggests that Google creates the illusion of accessibility, naturally suggests “answers” as stopping points and obscures the interdependence of information because it is linear. I think that the first two points are especially true. We feel like we have instant access to everything because we can use google but we have to remember that not all answers can be found on the internet. Some answers have yet to be discovered. We need students to be curious and seek to find answers that don’t exist on google. We need them to use their basic skills and knowledge to be creative and use their imagination to find the answers.

As a math teacher it is hard to say that students don’t need basic facts. Yes students can use calculators to help them, but a calculator doesn’t help students quickly remember their multiplication facts. A prime example is teaching students how to factor. Students who are able to factor easily are the students who have their basic 12 x 12 multiplication times table pretty much memorized. I have students who need to use their calculators to attempt to find the factors of an equation, but most of them take a long time to do it. For many of my students (most of which are in grade 10 and 11) who struggle with their multiplications tables, I have to give them a chart to help them out. This video hits the nail on the head when it says that some things should be automatic. They need to be automatic before we can move on to the more complex problems. For my students that have the basics down the higher level thinking questions are MUCH easier for them than their classmates. Thanks to Amy and Heidi for the great find.

I can’t argue against the fact that students do need the basics before we can move to a higher level of thinking. I think that we need to do a better job of creating opportunities for students to think outside of the box and go beyond the simple memorization of facts. We need to foster skills that will help them be employable in the future by providing different learning experiences.


Just Google it? Just Google it right. Building from simple to complex.

Statement: Schools should not be teaching anything that can be googled.

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No2Google Logo via No2Google.com

 

Disagree.

The picture below isn’t necessarily related, but it was one of the pictures that came up when I searched, “Yes Google”, and I feel compelled to use it… it helps if you imagine Psy singing “Heeeeeyyyyyyy educators, Goo, Goo, Goo Goo. Google ain’t so bad”. This builds into my post, while illustrating both the problem and potential solution of simply “googling it”.

2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival - Day 1 - Show

LAS VEGAS, NV – SEPTEMBER 21: Rapper Psy performs onstage during the 2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 21, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Clear Channel retrieved via Business Insider)

Building from simple to complex googling.

Apart from the fact that so much can be Googled (and Googled and found mistakenly, as seen in picture above), the policing of instruction to avoid this next to impossible. However, like any potential problem-causer, it provides opportunity. How do we roll with this? How do we make a positive out of a negative? How do we build from simple to complex?

Terry Heick visited the thought that: “complex questions can’t be googled.” He went on to state that the answer Google provides can be a stopping point… and that it “… creates the illusion of accessibility,” or “obscures interdependence of information.” All valid. This can happen from simply using Google without education, but it reminded me of Dave Cormier’s details on using MOOCs appropriately through the cynefin framework and the rhizomatic learning… specifically that answering complex questions requires a particular approach to learning, that we as educators can seek to facilitate. Terry Heick then concludes with an awesome point that alludes to this need for educators and highlights the importance of teaching about proper use of Google and why Googlable (new word?) concepts should be taught in schools: “none of this (the above concerns) is Google’s fault.” Educators (and parents, for that matter) bear the responsibility to inform students of how to use technology like Google and Wikipedia to foster ideas and “cultivate curiousity”. So much can be Googled, so teach students to think critically, and recognize that every teacher can do this regardless of grade or specialization, as evidenced here, and through digital citizenship as Jeremy Black referenced.

Connecting critical thinking to maximizing Google.

“Before students can think critically, they need to have something to think about in their brains.” Ben Johnson made this comment, and used it to remind us of the importance of memorization and still keeping this as part of instruction. This speaks to the baseline knowledge that may come from using Google and other information sources. Finding the simple answers that “Googling it” may provide is the beginning to deeper parts of cognitive function in individuals, leading to fostering curiosity that I made reference to before. My phrase I tend to use in course outlines in senior science echoes the overlap between memory, critical thinking and curiosity: “in order to remember these terms, I will push you understand these terms.” This simply reflects my angle of looking at it, but there are many ways to aid in memory.

 

Final thoughts

Ultimately, the proper use of “Google” falls to educators to ensure students continue to ask complex questions and follow links to continue pursuing knowledge and continue to connect to new ideas with that new knowledge. Memory may play a dominant role in this process providing the fundamental information that sets a foundation to curiosity and challenging complex questions.

 

Agree? Disagree? Comment!

– Logan Petlak


Baba’s Summary of Learning for #eci831

Well it has been a jam packed, content filled semester and I feel like my eyes are going to fall out of my head from learning everything from the internet.  Although, I have to admit because our class was encouraged to guide our own learning, use open education, and make connections I feel like I have learned more in this class then any other.

I even surprised myself with by creating my own whiteboard animation video, you can make own to through the powers of the internet (they have templates and a 7 day free trial, just click here).

So, here she is folks my summary of learning:

Questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed.

Thank you to Alec & Katia for putting up with my technology illiterate mind.  Also, good luck to my classmates, go enjoy your summer!


Planning it out with SketchUp

After scouring the web for way too long, it became time to make the design for my table.

Despite great aspirations to make my table really cool and something unique, I ultimately decided to try to make my design as simple as possible since this is my first go round at this.

I ended up basing my design off of this table created by Ana White. The design is called Rustic X Coffee Table. It was simple, but I decided to make it even more simple.

I ended up cutting out the side x and wanting to change how the bottom shelf was structured. And, I wanted to change up the dimensions.  I decided I wanted to make sure my design a little more detailed than sketches on scrap pieces of paper, so I downloaded SketchUp to start my design. I have some CAD drawing experience, but not a ton with SketchUp itself. So, I headed off to YouTube and found a ton of resources. After watching a couple intro tutorials I got the basic idea. From that point on, I just typed exactly what I wanted to do into YouTube and found a tutorial specific to it.

After designing my table once, I decided to screen record myself (I used Microsoft Mix‘s screen recording feature) building it again, to see if I have a good understanding of the tool and clean up my original design.

I also was able to very easily make the entire screen recording into a quick animated gif using Giphy.

via GIPHY

Here is a link to the actual SketchUp Model in their 3D Warehouse if you want to try it out yourself. I’m sure my actual design will change as I dive in and try to make it all fit together, but this was a good starting point. I also embedded their neat 3D viewer below (click and drag to rotate the view).

I am always amazed at the resources available on YouTube for learning, especially when it comes to software. Additionally, I found it extremely easy to make my own videos and share them on YouTube. I have made flipped math videos for my students before, but I haven’t shared anything as raw and quickly as my table making tool. I hope that maybe someone can make use of it. I also came to the conclusion that it was time to contribute. If you’re going to learn from videos on YouTube, you might as well share your experience and method in the off chance it might help someone else.

 

 

Employability Goes Online

Just as other classmates have done this week, I too Googled myself. Logan discussed a key point that I have always thought about when thinking about doing a Google self search or Egosurfing. When he searched for himself he was able to find some information relevant to him, but when he searched other classmates he was unable to find a lot of information directly related to them. Why is this? I think that it depends on the uniqueness of the name being searched. For example, if I search myself under my maiden name Ashley Dejaegher, I find a lot of information about my hockey life. There is some information from my undergrad work but most is related to hockey (a small portion of my life). If I search myself using my current name, Ashley Murray, I have a hard time finding a lot about myself. There are some links to work I had completed last semester in EC&I 832, but not a whole lot more. There is a however lot of information about other Ashley Murrays.

Screen Shot of Search Results Screen Shot of Search Results

It’s pretty obvious that Ashley is a very common name but I wasn’t sure just how popular it was so I decided to see if I could find out. I found a site based on the population of the United States and there are 510,770 people in the US alone with the name Ashley and it’s the 114th most popular name. I also search the last name Murray and there are 213,130 people with that last name so chances are there are quite a few people who share my name. In the United States there are fewer than 120 people with the last name Dejaegher so it is quite uncommon. Chances are if you have a more common name you may not find as much information about yourself.

Luke brings up a good point about how we can make ourselves more visible online. If we have a common name, how can we make sure that people can find our twitter pages or our blogs? I found myself wondering the same thing and basically found that it all boils down to the popularity of your blog for example. The more people you have visiting your site or twitter page, the more popular it will come which will bounce it up in Google searches. I also came across how to use a search engine optimization (SEO) to increase the visibility of your blog on search engines by using different techniques while blogging.

Photo Credit: arbyreed via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: arbyreed via Compfight cc

I am among the percent of social media users who changes their privacy settings on my accounts. My Facebook and Instagram pages have high privacy settings. The reason I have my settings this way is because I use Facebook and Instagram to connect and share with people who I have personal relationships with. My friends list on both platforms is quite small in comparison to others. On Facebook I have 201 friends of which probably 50 are family. On Instagram I have 133 followers. This is because I have chosen to keep my friends lists limited. Every so often I go back and delete people who I no longer feel a close connection to. I don’t add people easily either. I have decided to keep it limited because I don’t want everyone and anyone knowing about my personal life. I think that teachers are held to a higher standard so I tried to keep things private just in case anything that might be thought of as inappropriate pops up. But sometimes it would be nice to just be an average person too. 

Just like Vanessa I believe that online identity is only a small portion of our actual identity. Our identities are made up of so many different things and each part is as important as any other part depending on what you are doing. That being said, I don’t believe our online identity should make or break us as a person. Something we need to realize is that what happens online stays online…literally. Luke argues that it should be considered a digital tattoo as opposed to a digital footprint and I would have to agree. In order to prevent our students from an array of negative/inappropriate digital tattoos we need to work with them to create positive online images. We need students to showcase their work and demonstrate their learning so that they can create a reputation for themselves that is positive.  It should come as no surprise that employers use social media to hire people but keeping that in mind I do think that resumes should reflect your online image and vice versa. We have seen instances in the last few days where candidates running for the Saskatchewan NDP have lost their jobs because of posts. I think that in order for the NDP to maintain a positive reputation they had no choice but to eliminate those candidates, but in the case of a person going to a job interview I do think that their online identity can be brought up and questioned before making a final decision. Perhaps it was something that happened years ago when the candidate was young and immature.

I think it’s important to keep an eye out on Google and search yourself every now and then to see what comes up. Maybe you’ll notice more posts showing up in Google as your blog becomes more popular. If you’re worried about how your online reputation can hurt your job hunt check out these tips.


Looking at the digital educator narrative, wearing Googles.

Identity and interests

Everything factors into what shapes us and it defines our interests. Our passions (and weaknesses) of these interests are an integral part of our identity and this can direct our learning accordingly. Raised in a house filled with hockey, with Don Cherry’s Rock Em Sock Em Hockey on the television and free time spent on the ice or playing road hockey, I had an appreciation for the rink – my identity revolves around it… how I made sense of the world and utilized the learning within shaped me. Identity is interests, and interests drive learning. Dallas Thiessen is learning about how to build a natural playground, and it is evident his identity revolves around the interest/value of the natural environment its education when he expressed: “a playscape is not only a “place”for kids to play but it is also a place that is educational, innovative, and sustainable.” However, Dallas’ narrative is inferred through his blogs, and there’s a digital-trail and footprint to follow via social media. Where is/is there a digital footprint for my love of hockey? Or what does my digital-trail indicate about me? What messages or narrative do I send? Bonnie Stewart mentions humans are adaptable and vulnerable to the narratives in society and social media that we ingest and distribute, have I even composed a digital narrative? And when I do, how will my narrative adapt and change as I dig deeper into the digital ‘me’? As an educator, what do my students see? Alec Brownstein utilized the desire to view ourselves to get hired, hopefully I can observe and, if necessary, adapt mine to not get fired (I’m not actually worried, I’m clean).

 

My digital footprint: general
I googled ‘logan petlak’ and I found a bunch of my blog posts, pictures of me, my webpage, and some of my past successes! I even found a course outline for my environmental science 20 class which, after reading Amy Scuka’s article on Teachers Pay Teachers, I learned I could be making money off of rather than openly sharing.

logan petlak search page 1

Search: “Logan Petlak” via Google

My digital footprint: hockey
I googled ‘logan petlak hockey’ to check if that narrative snuck through… and it did! I made a video as a hockey interview that was a metaphor for my education learning when I was in my undergrad that came up (awesome/embarrassing). I also found my old recreational hockey statistics when I was playing for the “Beer Knights”… so there’s a possible negative narrative. It also highlights a specific game in which I took a “Delay of Game” penalty. Good for you past Logan, good for you.

kyle webb search screenshot

Search: ‘Kyle Webb’ via Google

Other educator’s digital footprints.
I tried to track down some of my colleagues such as Kyle Webb and Adam Scott Williams and I learned a very significant difference between them and I, their names have a lot more different narratives than mine. Kyle Webb apparently may have killed his father, and there are, no apparent pictures of him immediately found on Google images. Adam Scott Williams, I found nothing on until I edited my search to:’ “Adam Scott Williams” teacher’, I had to keep the quotations to keep him all together, or else I was finding a lot of information on the golfer, Adam Scott. Fortunately, when I googled another colleague, Amy Scuka, I found something more consistent with searching myself. The images were of her and many of the articles were of her – including grad dress shopping from back in the day! It’s nice to see information beyond the “educator narrative”!

adam scoott williams search

Search: ‘”Adam Scott Williams” Teacher’ via Google

So, why the difference between the search results? Logic denotes some names must be far more common, but one thing we all shared was either private or non-existent Facebook accounts. Do we have anything to hide? I doubt it, but it’s an interesting commentary on the desire to protect privacy on-line in a connected age. Have we all taken the steps to influence our digital footprint? We’ve changed privacy settings to manage our digital reputation, have we removed comments? Untagged photos? And have we moderated our digital footprints enough to even manipulate the search into a digital resume/portfolio in the pursuit of an education career? It broadcasts our images as educators, but is this a pseudo-identity that isn’t fully representative of who we are? Does it tell the narrative we’re proud of, but perhaps not the negative narratives worth learning? Students will search us, but will they believe what they find? Or desire to look deeper into our digital lives? I simply googled and tried to search on facebook individuals, what more could I have done?

Comments, thoughts, feedback? Drop it below, I’d love to hear it!

– Logan Petlak

 


Social Media: Who are you and who will you become?

When was the first time that you tried “Googling” yourself? We’ve all done it.

Google Search Bar

For me, it was right after my guidance counselor told our graduating class that post-secondary institutions would be looking at our Facebook and Myspace pages in addition to our applications and resumes when deciding who would “make the cut.” I didn’t use either of those social media sites at the time, but a couple of things did come up: an article about an award that I had received through the school division and a local news article about our basketball team (I was noted for getting fouled out). All of the other results were related to my cousin’s hockey career (we shared the same last name) and my great-uncle’s  memoirs from our town’s centennial celebrations (we also shared the same last name). My digital identity was pretty lame. It didn’t reflect my true identity.

After reading the articles for this week’s class, I found myself curious about what I would find this time in a Google search of myself. The results were very different. This time results from my gravatar, Facebook, my school’s website, Twitter, my blog, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, FlipQuiz and the Saskatchewan Cheerleading Association 2014 AGM came up. (Not all of the results were for my accounts, but other Sarah Wandys in the world.)

Google search 1

Google search 2

Google search 3

Google search 4

My digital identity has evolved, and I’m proud of how it represents me professionally as an educator and volunteer, and also personally. But after reading Bonnie Stewart’s blog post “What your New Year’s Facebook Posts Really Mean,” I wondered how much these social media sites reflect who I am/was independently of them, and how much they have actually shaped who I have become. Stewart says, “Social media is where we are deciding who we are, not just as individual digital identities but AS A PEOPLE, A SOCIETY.” If this is true, then it is a relationship between what I have engaged with on social media and how I have responded to it that has created my digital identity, keeping in mind that I assume a global audience so I sensor everything I share.

I’m not the only young person who is taking care to manage their digital footprint. A study by Madden and Smith, “Reputation Management and Social Media” suggests that “Young adults are the most active online reputation managers in several dimensions. When compared with older users, they more often customize what they share and whom they share it with.” They are becoming more digitally literate and better digital citizens. This is important because customers, employers, neighbors and dates are more likely than ever before to search you up on the internet.

Because people seeking employment know that employers will search them on the internet, some have proactively begun to create online profiles or portfolios to make a good impression and provide links to examples of their skills and abilities rather than simply listing them on a resume. One man, Alec Brownstein, even used Google AdWords to connect with desirable employers. When the creative directors he wanted to work for Googled themselves, they would get an advertisement at the top of the search results introducing them to Brownstein. He ended up receiving two job offers. What we share has immediate and long-term affects, both positive and negative.

I tried searching my maiden name again, just to see what the results would be. Sure enough, the same articles about my award and basketball game appeared, although several pages into the search. Still, I was able to find them.

Every tweet, every blog comment, every Facebook post, every Instagram picture, every AGM report, and every Pin is a snapshot of your identity, and more importantly an opportunity to consider who you want to become.