Monthly Archives: March 2007

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Next week, the CEGSA AGM will have the pleasure of a presentation from Mike Seyfang (aka the Fang) which will hopefully provoke the assembled masses into some sort of reaction, be it excitement or fear (or maybe a heady mix of both). Mike is an independent consultant specialising in mashing Web2 technologies and because he doesn't come from a classroom background and doesn't fear sacred cows from that environment, is the ideal person to shake and challenge some conceptions and perceptions about the state of technology in education today. In collaborative fashion via his blog, his newly formed twitter account and the Net2Blazers email listserv, he's circulating his embryonic idea for his little presentation and wants any input, regardless of whether you are a CEGSA member, or in this case a TGZ reader.

His idea? The virtual web excursion. Really, read his post to get the starting ideas, but to me, it's take the filters totally off for the period required for a specific project or task so that access to any required tool is not an issue. Back it up with consent forms and clear outlines as to what will be occurring, treating it like taking the class to the zoo on public transport. It could be the class is building a wiki with another class overseas and need a synchronous hookup using IM, skype, etc to communicate as they build, access to building areas like pbwiki or wikispaces (currently blocked) and building materials (hosted web sites, flickr CC pics, YouTube vids or podsafe tracks. The hassles required to have each item unblocked via the administrator is significant, so supervised access minus filters would allow the project to be completed in good time, without delays caused by access restrictions. The concept is definitely designed to make you think because there are many issues at play here, ranging from teacher web competencies and savviness to student/teacher rapport to unbroken precedental ground.

What's going to stop this being a good idea? I'll deal with the negatives first because such a proactive idea deserves to end on the positive.

Firstly, the teacher.

Some teachers are glad that there is a filter there. It means that their responsibility for actively teaching and guiding kids through the internet is diminished - they can't get into too much trouble, if they try to go on a dodgy website, the filter'll bounce 'em - so they are going to run away from this idea as fast as possible. The excursion analogy is an interesting one because even on an excursion, there are places you would never take a class of kids - the red light district, death row, town rubbish tip etc. - but on the web, it's all there when the filters go down and only the confident teacher who has the communication skills, expert monitoring of where a class group is at any one time in cyberspace and clearly defined goals and criteria of the virtual excursion is going to attempt this feat. So, the big danger is that no matter how big the potential for this idea, no matter the worth of the suggested information literacy activities, most teachers are going to be so uneasy and unfamiliar with where students might head on an OPEN internet connection, they will see the risks to outweigh the benefits. So, instead of widening the potential pool of educators wanting to engage with this idea, once again it will be the boundary pushers, the web-savvy teachers, the pure constructivists who will be the only ones taking advantage of this opportunity. These are the educators who already work out ways to get access to as many default filtered tools as possible by befriending their local network administrator, or discovering workarounds (i.e. Flickr is blocked here in SA schools, but one can access the Creative Commons content from Flickr by using an unblocked tool like flickrcc) to enable the collaborative online projects for their students.

Next, the students.

Again, unless the students have had the benefit of a teacher who values web based literacies and is aware of the potential pitfalls that the OPEN web presents, they may well be as fearful as the non-confident teacher. If they are not good managers of time, they may well be distracted by the EVERYTHING that is available for the allotted time and come up empty on the actual task assigned for the online excursion time.

But there are some positives behind Mike's challenging suggestion. I personally would utilise his suggestion, but the idea shouldn't just be confined to a handful of Web 2 enthusiasts who also happen to be teachers. I think that just like my post from the other night talking about what the technology can do, the online virtual excursion needs to identify the benefits that can be achieved sans filter so that the naysayers (myself included) don't poison the water. I need to expand on how this idea can work and work well but as this post has stretched over three evenings I'll stop here, post and trackback to Mike so he has a little bit of input to work with.


Photo remixed from DSCF4465 by mobology


Leonard Low points out that an effective way of getting educators on board with new technologies is to focus on the outcomes gained by technology use, not the technologies themselves. He says:-

By first demonstrating the application of technology, and providing a clear picture of the goal - how it might improve teaching and learning - we can help educators to better understand why they might want to become more proficient with educational technology tools, even before they start grappling with them.

So, if I wanted to sum up my own payoff for engaging with web based tools as an incentive for others to follow my lead, it could read something like this.

  • I get to experience other people's classroom practice.
  • Other people listen and respond to my ideas.
  • Others suggest resources and advice with my needs and interests in mind.
  • I find empathy and sympathy for my professional frustrations.
  • I talk with and network with educators worldwide.
  • My ideas and words are quoted and used by others in their professional work.
  • New and emerging trends come to my notice.
  • My work can be retrieved and used by anyone with a web connection.

Any other obvious ones I should include?

Attribution: Image: 'Technology won9t save you.' by hfabulous


Been plodding around the web following leads out from my Bloglines and thought I'd share a few of the ones that have caught my attention.

Rachel over at BardWired has a great post following the Tuanz Conference where Sheryl Nussbaum has been the keynote speaker. She reflects on that and raises points that I think are crucial, far more important than whether kids can master word processing or spreadsheets - "Our kids need to learn how to be socially responsible global citizens." - but airs the frustrations a few educators have when trying to discuss where education should be heading - "The discussion never really reached the point I thought it could have gone & seemed to revolve more about behavioural standards & management in schools and not so much the creation of media online and the potential issues surrounding this."

Dan Meyer continues to be a blogger who refuses to conform to any pre-conceptions I might have about young, mathematics teachers - his work is awesome and I can't remember being so reflective at that age (I was pretty immature but) and one of his latest posts confirms that. Read this. I've always been very dubious about this idea of teaching being a "calling" - I think Dan hits it on the head when he says "I just can't get into this idea that some people are "called" to teaching when I am struck in the face every day, every class period, by the obvious slices of our job." He peels off 17 off-the-cuff examples and could've added more. It makes sense. I'm a teacher and I'm good at teaching because so many of the things I'm good at are required in teaching - the slices. I just can't grasp a supreme being dictating that "Graham shalt be a teacher."

Finally, I found my way onto Nancy White's blog tonight where I was taken by this post. If you are even vaguely religious and likely to be turned off by my previous paragraph, read the post thoroughly. No wonder Nancy is spoken of so reverently in the TALO group.

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Today I attended the Leaders session as part of the Dave Miller IWB Event, where there was an initial session by Dave, followed by a Leadership Panel where three principals presented their school's journey and things for other schools to consider when implementing their own IWB program. More on that shortly.

Dave started the session by pointing out that he doesn’t have a preference for either brand of the two prominent IWBs but interestingly, he only ever referred to SmartBoard and ACTIVboard, even though the field has a lot more contenders than that. As the event was co-sponsored by both Australian distributors of the before mentioned boards, he was careful not to promote one product over the other. He talked about the introduction and use of interactive whiteboards rejuvenating experienced teachers’ careers. He mentioned that there were quite a few UK organizations conducting IWB research and that many were pointing to an improvement in student attainment.

A quick poll of the audience showed that about 75% of the schools represented were still in the planning stage and had not purchased any boards. He then posed the following questions for schools at this stage.

What is your main reason for buying IWBs?

How will you make the decisions about which make to buy?

How will you allocate them?

What infrastructure changes will you make within your School?

What support will be provided? He talked about training – planning and budget percentage.

Throughout the presentation he showed some of the tools on his ACTIVboard - very similar to my own presentation except his board was working!

The UK have defined interactive teaching in three stages (1) on the board (2) at the students desk and (3) in the student’s head. Interestingly, that still sounds like a fairly traditional mode of transmission classroom. I made the side quip to fellow blogger, Al Upton, that it seemed the higher technology skilled and group based the teacher, the more cynical of the supposed benefits of the IWB.

Dave mentioned that London schools had spent £50 million on IWBs. Most research (Ofsted) has focussed on ICT impact on student attainment as measured by high stakes testing. In today's political climate, it's interesting that the push for back-to-basics type of curriculum could actually be supported by this technology, which as Tom Barrett pointed out a little while back isn't that new anymore. Yet, here in Australia, it really is being seen as very new and I think I heard the word exciting more than once from various participants. No wonder Web 2.0 is unheard of - that's the area I need to push into more, exploring where IWB and Web 2.0 intersect.

Dave also spoke about embedding all of the resources into the flipchart (Notebook file for SmartBoard) as a way of keeping things altogether, dodging copyright issues (which I don't think is quite true) and making the resource shareable to other. There's a bit to explore here in another post - there are a few prior ideas I can remix in.

He then moved onto recommendations for schools – he stated that each school needed a clear business model that accounted for all of the variables. Leaders had to remove barriers to use. One third of budget for IWB should be allocated to training. Consider the minimum skills you want for users to have and how to support staff to get them. IWBs will brings new things into classrooms and create an expectation of a transformation of pedagogy. Pupils – are they spectators, participants or creators? He did touch on the problem of reinforcement of transmission styles. To my mind, that's not a technology issue insomuch that it is a teacher's mindset issue.

We had a break downstairs in The Cave, site of much debauchery in my Teachers College days where I caught up with a few people including Jason Plunkett and Mike Shaw.

The leaders session was very good as it was great to hear how other schools had tackled the same journey my school has undertaken since 2005. Ann, my principal, was first up and was excellent in her outline of how she had inherited our school IWB program but taken leadership control of it and steered into a direction where pedagogy is the major partner along with mastering the technology. (I'm not sucking up here - she really was good!) We had two other schools showcase their journey and it was interesting to hear similar traits in all three experiences. We had a couple of sponsor's spots to showcase their technology - the only thing I'll say is that teachers deserve to have educators telling them about technology, somehow someone from sales is going to miss the mark in explaining why their technology has educational benefits. Teachers are smart people, and cautious about evangelism - someone with educator credibility is important in this area.

The final part of the day was a panel utilising Dave and the principals with Peter Simmonds, in the role of Devil's advocate. The short presentation he gave was witty, insightful, irreverent (I noticed that the sponsors were not smiling at all while the audience was laughing) and made sure that the educators didn't get overwhelmed by the "wow" factor. He pitched some probing questions which escape my memory for the moment but the panel provided more valuable information for the audience under his guidance. An interesting day - probably guaranteed to help the momentum build for further school investment in IWB. Interestingly, it was noted that the NSW DET is planning to spend A$160 million on IWBs alone. Why this technology is seen to be high on the priority list also says something about the sort of technology governments are prepared to spend money on. Imagine if that went into higher quality broadband or mobile technology - but maybe the IWB represents technology the average teacher can embrace. Those of us on the school technology "bleeding edge" might be anxious for more but it doesn't make sense to leave the majority behind.

Image Attribution: Magic Marker by Eye Captain

I volunteered to be a school based presenter at the "Want to know more about interactive whiteboards?" event being held over two days here at Flinders University and had about twenty eager teachers in my workshop. I got to duck in to hear Dave Miller, the UK IWB expert over here for this event and then it was off to my room at my old Teachers' College stomping ground at Sturt, now absorbed as part of the Uni. There I met Laurie Quigg, head of Commander's Promethean IWB sales in Australia who helped get me set up and tried to get the portable ACTIVboard communicating to my laptop. Unfortunately, the board's USB cable didn't want to communicate and I had to improvise as people started to wander into the room. Laurie apologised for leaving me to "wing it" but luckily a Tablet works very similarly to an IWB and I still went ahead with my presentation.

After apologising to the group for events beyond my control (they had paid to come along after all) I laid out how I could still cover my ground even if I had left my handouts back at school! It seemed to go OK - I won't post a copy of my flipchart here as it has some recycled pages and has a couple of embedded YouTube videos that may not go too well on the web. I did give the group this blog address and said to check it Friday for the links from the handout so they could get my list - apologies if you've seen these before in prior presentations and posts.

Interactive Whiteboards In The Classroom

Graham Wegner
Lockleys North Primary School
22nd March, 2007.

Presentation Footnotes:

Adopt and Adapt by Marc Prensky

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants - A New Way To Look At Ourselves and Our Kids by Marc Prensky,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

ACTIVboards by Promethean – information about the products, plus links to resources developed by teachers worldwide.

Activboarding – blog maintained by Graham on the topic of the school IWB journey.

More blog resources at Graham’s personal professional blog, Teaching Generation Z, in the category, Interactive Whiteboards.

Browse, read and use the various online resources collected at

For those of you who attended and are having your first look at my blog, I hope the workshop was useful. Feel free to look around and leave a comment, especially in feedback about the demonstration or any questions.


More and more, I really think that leadership in schools is a tough gig. I said as much to my boss the other day and I am not at all sure that being a principal is where I'd want to be in X number of years. Looking at it more closely than I could when I was solely a classroom teacher has revealed it to be a thankless job where you are trying to guide a very disparate bunch of educators towards commonality of purpose within the school setting. Now, my job has a leadership component and I very much realise that I have heaps to learn in this area but the "big picture" aspect is one part I find very rewarding, but also extremely frustrating. This year, my role has me with my class four days a week and having that time with a bunch of kids reminds me of how totally absorbing the classroom teacher job is. To do really well at being well prepared, one must block out distractions with the end resulting in a form of oblivion to the rest of what's happening within the school or indeed, the whole education system. It's worlds away from "big picture" where notes in diaries, following yard issues, making sure there's enough crayons for the art lesson tales precedence over whether system goals are being met or whether technology is being integrated into the learning program. It's the world where if the printer doesn't work or if one child's logon in the computing room doesn't work then that's a big priority that demands immediate action. I, as a classroom teacher, don't really care what's happening across the school in a junior primary classroom because frankly, I've got a stack of stuff to do on my own plate.

But the school leader which pushes to the fore on my designated coordinator day and never really fades from view any other time has to take a different tack. I need to know some of what's happening around the whole school because effective use of ICT resources have to monitored, relevant T&D has to be provided for the staff and other administrative duties that help the classroom practitioners' lives tick along have to be attended to. That's a big juggle but I signed up for the extra responsibility and get the extra $$ in the pay packet as a result. But the principal has to spend all of their time balancing big and small picture - keeping the school as a whole moving towards its objectives, balancing and dripping down department expectations, knowing the kids well enough that any teacher who says little Johnny is being a pain and could you deal with it can be taken in stride. The principal has to put up with being called out across the staffroom mid-conversation and expected to nod excitedly at their coordinator's completion of a regulation task! I'm not sure I'm cut out for that role and luckily being in official leadership is not the only way to be a leader in education.

But... leadership is not easy.

Attribution: Image: 'Leadership' by Dunechaser


One of the conversational themes from the Friday part of the TALO SwapMeet/ Unconference was online identity. I gleaned some of the ideas on the table in conversation with Alex at day's end and I can also asynchronously hear some of the actual discussion via some of his uploaded recordings. I'll certainly see what sparks go off in my Skinnerian brain and put some raw thoughts out here when that happens.

But it strikes me that the students I encounter in my work need to get a firm grip on this concept of personal identity, particularly in the online world. Right at this moment, that seems to be much more important than if they know how to manipulate a spreadsheet, edit a wiki or to use any one of the digital tools freely available for the price of a valid e-mail address. And maybe my best argument for teachers developing an online presence is "How do you educate students to take control of their online identity if you don't have one of your own?"

So how do I define Online Identity?

For me, I leave traces of who I am when:

· I write online - my blogs, wikis (both as administrator and contributor), Google groups, forums, mailing list archives.

· I comment on someone else's blog.

· I sign up for a new web application or service.

· I upload photos to Flickr or Bubbleshare.

· I use text based chat.

· I fill out a profile.

· I buy or even view something on Amazon or Ebay.

· I send e-mail.

Whenever I go anywhere or click anything on the web, information about me, my preferences, my curiousities, my intellectual property is gathered whether I want it to be or not. The only way to avoid that completely would be to adopt a luddite mindset, retire to a cave in the Flinders Ranges and abstain from the World Wide Web. I'm not even sure that could eliminate everything related to my identity. I know of Teacher X who told me that he/she didn't have a computer at home, proudly announced his /her abhorrence of mobile phones and accesses the web from behind the safety of the school's network firewall and IP address. This person and some of their related professional work turned up in the first page of my Google Search based on their name - if you're human and interact with other humans, then they also can have a hand in building your Online Identity, regardless of your own personal stance on the matter.

All of this personal data seems to fall into two main categories - what we give up willingly and what is gathered by stealth via cookies and search patterns. What we consciously type into dialog boxes and text fields can be in search of tools and services, or in the pursuit of communication. That's the part we can control. It's much harder to avoid the key stroke Google info gathering that presents ads to us based on our perceived needs and interests. (I've lost count of the number of Interactive Whiteboard ads that crop up on my work laptop - and after the boys have hammered the Disney, Thomas the Tank Engine and Dreamworks sites, the home PC will peddle different but "relevant" wares via Google Ads.) The only way someone could evade that form of identity hunting would be by disconnecting. That might nearly be impossible and certainly undesirable from a student's point of view so awareness raising might be a good place to start.

But most of that stuff is hidden from most regular web users - sign up information is only accessible by site administrators. It's what we voluntarily contribute to the web that could threaten us if due care and some foresight are not observed. Through these web interactions, we offer glimpses of our families, our social lives, our networks of friends and colleagues, our beliefs, our prejudices and our hopes. It's not as if adults can't make mistakes online but the one thing someone of my vintage has in their favour is my own comfort with my own time-established identity. I'm still not trying on different philosophies or looks, and the mistakes of my youth cannot be downloaded, remixed and manipulated beyond my control. In fact, I am now in the realm of having to think through the ethical decisions of a parent playing and learning in this digital arena. My experience tells me that adolescents aren't looking five years down the track - sometimes it might not even be five days - and the issues that look so obvious to us as worldly wise educators are extremely masked to those who just want to stay connect to their friends and more 24/7.

So I reckon educators need to be having open, awareness raising conversations with their students and logically covering all of the bases that assist these kids to be safe, ethical and in control. And these conversations can't just be the scaremongering the print media seems to be specialising in these days. Every time a crime occurs involving a teenager with an online presence, the finger is pointed to the "dark side of the internet" - if only they didn't have a MySpace account this never would have happened - this twisted logic that would also conclude that car accident victims are to blame for being on the road. As part of the conversation, Alex also pointed out to me the issue of intellectual property - students flocking to MySpace and Piczo are actually giving away their own rights for their content and images to large profit driven companies and being locked into an advertising driven interface where with some education and direction, they could be using open source alternatives and minimal-strings-attached services that empower and offer protection from exploitation.

So when parents start crying for help because they feel out of the loop, when the classroom teacher who's never ever created online content is called upon to sort out inappropriate postings by their students, when the principal is called in to referee a IM flamewar that a father caught the tail end of, how is it all going to be sorted out? I've seen and heard teachers start to berate students for their stupidity and their inappropriate choices - that's hardly going to get the kids on side and willing to alter their choices. Some teachers will be petrified and thank the department for the filters that stop them from having to deal with this technology within the school environment. I don't think either approach is going to work.

Personally I think I'm going to start gathering useful resources and dumping them in for an Online Identity approach to internet safety. I'm going to openly engage in dialogue with my class and share the issues that I've discussed above and try and work with my fellow teachers to get them to access and use these resources. And I'll throw an open invitation to anyone interested to perhaps put together a flexible series of lessons or a unit plan aimed at the middle school area, maybe hosted on a wiki - sort similar to Wesley Fryer's TeachDigital|safedsn pbwiki but aimed at students. Because this Online Identity business shouldn't have to be learned the hard way.

Attribution: Image: 'Migrazioni di Identità' by Kay84


I'm feeling a bit tired and I've been a bit distracted all day long. I think some of it is mental fatigue as a result of having so many intriguing ideas floating around in my head from yesterday's Day One of the TALO Swapmeet/ Unconference. In some ways, it's just as well that the day got off to a slow start because things really started accelerating through the afternoon. In another way, although I would have loved to have the opportunity to be there today, my brain would be hard pressed to process more than a small percentage of what I did get to sample. So today, as I led my class through some very traditional schooling experiences (spelling, writing, multiplication tables, some assembly practice and Go-Go Golf) and spent some quiet anti-social time (two yard duties on the oval), I mulled over what should end up in this post.

One thing about TALO is that it is very ''big picture" and wading into big, curly questions is a specialty. From my viewpoint, the one drawback is getting an unconference going is that without a designated moderator, no-one wants to push their way to the front in a group of educators without any pecking order (which is a good thing). Thankfully, some people have leadership presence whether they are comfortable with that label or not, and Leigh kick-started the afternoon by suggesting that those with less attendance opportunity be up first thereby inviting me to talk to my ideas about E-Portfolios/Online Teachers.

What really amazes me is the way this scattered group of people from all corners of the Antipodes (and beyond via Alex's Breeze session) just effortlessly pull and manipulate available technology to reinvent the conventions of professional learning. There's photos from mobile phones loading periodically to Flickr, there's data projectors beaming dual perspectives onto spare wall space (who needs an interactive whiteboard or presentation screen). Jumping in and showing a resource of interest (Mathematics YouTube videos, anyone?) is not only OK but encouraged. I've never felt so comfortable with people I've never met before - except I have. It's a redefinition of what to means to know someone, what it means to learn from someone, to be someone. There's free and open conversation and no-one playing the role of expert or puppetmaster (except with Bill's slideshow - how eerie!) and if I play the "I'm only a primary school teacher" card, I rightly get admonished for being negative and undermining my own contributions. This is really different (for me) way of learning - when the conversation and digital reference points kick in, anyone can add fuel to the topic at hand, redirect or play devil's advocate to force out further explanation. Contrast that to a regular conference keynote or presentation where someone holds court and pushes out their worldview without challenge to an audience conditioned to respectful silence punctuated with occasional polite applause.

So, as I process the time I spent at TALO07 and then consume the media created on Day Two, can I just offer thanks to Robyn, Stephan, Michael, Mike, Vonnie, Peter, Pete, Leigh, Sunshine, Bill, Botts, Jo, Rose and anyone else in Room 305, Adelaide TAFE for your interaction, energy and colleageality. And thanks also to the world's lowest fuss houseguest, Alex Hayes, who tolerated my family's need for routine and was an instant pal to my youngest son. It really was a pleasure.

Attribution for above: Image: '08032007(017)' by mobology

Attribution for below: Image: 'talo10' by rjay

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Be warned.

This post is going to swirl around several loosely linked topics and may lack coherence and substance.

On Monday, I held an after school PD session (for want of a better title) for any interested teachers on using online video in the classroom. I had five keen participants who are all IWB users and were wanting some ideas about where to look, how to access and conquer other technical hurdles. There are plenty of educational sites offering streaming video but our Educonnect internet system doesn't handle that well at all. There's issues with opening ports and all that and it's beyond my meager expertise to cope with. I had some grand plans for this workshop - looking at using video sharing sites, how to save and access the video clips, how to find useful content for the classroom - but I felt a bit out of my depth knowing where to start because I'm a real amateur in this area as well. My ideas were fuelled by my concept of using interactive whiteboards as a platform for studying multiliteracies but my workarounds were still ideas in my head as opposed to tried and tested strategies.

Anyway, I started by showing the group YouTube which I had to unblock using my administrator override pasword. YouTube has gathered quite a bit of negative press in the Aussie media of late - see Alec Couros' post and Bill Kerr's reflections on a recent Adelaide teenage murder. I could have spent time there debating the rights or wrongs of this stance by our imposed filter system, but the teachers were more along the lines of "If this is blocked, why are you showing us this?"

On another note, this week my next door teacher reported to me that as of this week, Wikipedia is blocked by the DECS filter. I wonder who gets to make these decisons - I did notice that it's listed under the Hosted Web Page category. How do we teach critical literacy skills when a huge repository of information like this is blocked from our students? I don't want to turn to Conservapedia as an alternative. Who's going to turn up to see Jimmy Wales in April? It's not as if we can even use his service! Maybe I'm jumping the gun because occasionally some sites are blocked and then revert back to their previous unblocked status after a few days. This happened to earlier this year - so fingers crossed, someone just pushed a wrong button and wikipedia will be back on deck and available as just one of many resources students can access to broaden their knowledge.

There was a great video Turning Muslim in Australia!?! that I shared as an example of quality content that is worth previewing and then incorporating when "frontloading" students on a particular topic. I then showed the group how to sidestep the filter by embedding YouTube videos in a blog. This is where my group asked me to slow down and show them step by step how to do that. And the wheels started to get wobbly. I'm under pressure... if I can't do these things easily and have trouble and I'm the so-called computing technology expert then the line of logic, it will be too much trouble and effort for the average teacher. I started by demonstrating the embedding in a WordPress blog. But where was the YouTube link button? Perhaps if I just embedded it using the HTML - but I was missing something there as well. Eventually, I ended creating an edublog instead that would embed and the teachers looked fairly satisfied that it would work and yes, not too hard for them to accomplish as well.

The whole thing still had me thinking how much easier it would be if YouTube wasn't blocked. It seems to be such a reactionary thing to do and smacks of litigation than education. It's not as if filters can"protect" our students out of hours. Which brings me to my next part - the issue of cybersafety. We had a Child Protection Training session on Tuesday after school - part one of a three part PD program. The issues relating to online behavious of students and cyberbullying certainly came up and the first "scenario" our MYLU team looked at involved the meeting of people online then in "real" life. (As if online is unreal, maybe surreal.) I was glad to hear our presenter talk about education, not scaremongering, as solutions but she did highlight that increasingly parents are turning to schools for counsel in this area and wanting us to intervene with our students' online activities away from school. Well, they can't be happening at school because the vast majority of the social networking tools of choice are blocked by our ever vigilant filter system.

Yahoo images is blocked now as well. It slipped through the radar when Yahoo released its newly designed interface but I guess someone spotted the danger and acted accordingly. No Google images, no Flickr, now no Yahoo images...

I've been bookmarking a few sites in preparation for a cybersafety evening for parents a little later in the term. I'm certainly determined not to use any scare tactics and want the parents to have their awareness raised and be prepared to talk things through with their kids. I worry that the negative aspects are overplayed (certainly by the print and television media) and the positive learning aspects are seen as not worth the risk, real, imagined or otherwise. A balanced perspective is what I want to present - some of my colleagues are also too eager to jump on "the internet is evil" bandwagon and the "today's youth have no shame" bandwagon as well. I circulated this article to some of my colleagues who found it to be quite enlightening - it has been featured on a few blogs already. I think I found it via Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. There's probably some quotable sections in there for my evening.

That's it - I'm done.