Collaboration Connectivism Course 2 New Media literacies

The flow got me … Creating a revised AUP for Primary School

To be honest – at the beginning of course 2 I had no idea what an AUP (Acceptable User Policy) is. During the four years at a German School I never got in contact with something similar. Probably I signed an AUP for teachers when I started teaching at an international school. I thought the reason for not knowing about it might me the fact that I’m new in this international environment and struggle with all those acronyms anyways. Another reason might be the fact that I’m a single subject teacher. Homeroom teachers might have given it to the students at the beginning of the school year. And six weeks later with the help and collaboration of Vivian Chow, Donovan Hall, Mark Villaflor and Carlene Hamley  and all the wonderful resources out there on the Internet I revised and wrote remixed an AUP for the Primary School. How awesome is this! I even felt a flow of creating …

We were asked to collaborate with other cohort members. It reminded me of a blog post of Edna Sackson – What does collaboration look like? and what is the difference to working together? The main outcome for me is: If you collaborate you share a vision. She created a nice visualisation:

By Edna Sackson

My vision in this context is to make sure that the students get knowledgeable to be safe on the Internet and with the use of technology.

One person commented on the above mentioned post and asked: What about goals? Do we need to share goals as well? Do the individual goals of collaboration lead to more effect collaborating?
During the course collaboration took place in many different ways. Quite at the beginning of course 2 somebody created a hashtag called #CoetailAUP. I was lucky to find a great group quite easy. We had the chance to get to know each other through a Google Hangout. We shared existing AUPs on Google Drive, experiences and ideas. Giving a feedback and commenting on each other’s work was the easiest job with Google Docs. Vivian took the time and effort to summarize our Hangouts and she also wrote the first draft of an AUP, which I’m still very thankful for because my part of the AUP is based on her thinking and putting it in words. I also collaborated with colleagues at our school. From the beginning it was my goal to create something, which is meaningful for our Primary School. I had a lot of support of my ICT colleague and also a reception teacher. I believe that we are all sharing a similar vision but I realized that our personal goals were different. Nothing wrong with that I realized, because it enriched our collaboration. You get different knowledge, a lot of experiences, a huge a variety of skills, great motivation, backgrounds, different learning types, … thinking – what do I want to ask for more?

The experience let me think about group work/collaboration in my classroom as well and especially about grouping my students. I always have been torn how to group them. Is it more important that they choose the partner(s) they want to work with or do I as a teacher make up the groups with the knowledge of their prior knowledge, abilities, learning types, types of learning, etc. and why do I want them to collaborate? I feel like I have to think about it more in depth. Later.

The following AUP is created/remixed with the help of the resources on the Internet and through the collaboration with great educators. Thanks again for that.

I really liked the idea of the 4RsResources, Right, Respect, Responsibility. Hopefully it is a good way to promote the AUP within the whole school community as well as to develop a common language at school.

Three stakeholders will sign the AUP: the student – the parent – the teacher. We all share the responsibility to make sure we are safe on the Internet and when using technology for learning.

It is still a draft regarding the detailed layout (logo, pictures, etc). For me the wording was more important in a first row. The layout will come next with the heIp of my students (great idea Donovan & Carlene).

I have to admit that citing was a challenge. You work on something for weeks, you read about it on so many different websites, you speak to others and get the ideas – honestly, I lost track.

My goal is to get this AUP for the Primary School implemented. My colleague wants to create a Digital Citizenship Program combined with it. I’m excited to see what will happen in the next few weeks and after the summer vacation.

AUP for Primary School 


AUP all Year Groups

Collaboration Connectivism Course 2 Digital Footprint New Media literacies

Co-dependency between Machines and Human Beings

During the last 3 month I realized that connections, connectedness (does this word really exist?), connectivity on the Internet are possible in endless ways. The main two streams though are:

  • connections through human beings
  • connections through machines
Webgraph of

Through Webpages as a graph (works only with Firefox) you get a visualisation of your website and in particular also of your hyperlinks. It looks beautiful!

The blue dots are actually the important ones because they show me the hyperlinks on the blog. To understand the graph fully you need to know at least a little bit of HTML which is the language to create webpages. That reminds me that I – maybe 7-8 years ago – created a website for a friend. Unfortunately it doesn’t exist anymore and also didn’t take a snapshot (probably I put the robot.txt to avoid spam – do I mix up something?). In this context I thought about how to optimize the search engine result and – here it comes – hyperlinks. Google obviously looks at both links – to and from your website. To have an impact on your page rank the links to your website are important. You can imagine, suddenly I was curious about my page rank. There are several ways to check and in the end the chrome apps are the most convient one. The app I really liked is PageRank Status. A screenshot of part of it says: Hmm, does it really means that I’m the first on the search results? How can this be? I’m sure that not that many people linked to my blog. The reason probably is the connection to the Coetail website itself. Please, other cohort follower, please correct me if I’m wrong. I try to understand.

Anyways, my point is if we make sure (somehow) that there are enough hyperlinks from other sides to our than the ranking goes up. We need to set the links but the machine does the rest.

There are other ways to connect on the Internet – again driven by human beings but the machines do the rest, f.e. by suggesting people we might know or suggesting website, groups or people to follow. Recently I intensified it by using f.e. various social website:

  • Google, Gmail, Google Drive, Google+, Google Hangouts
    All those tools gave me possibility to connect to other likeminded people from all over the world. It is exciting and inspiring and not frightening at all. Maybe Vivian is right that Coetail keeps us for the beginning in a bubble, but it also depends on us how much we put us out there. I’m enjoying the collaborative work by using Google Drive and meeting through Google Hangouts.
  • Twitter
    I am following more people now and I explored Tweetdeck wich helps me to orgnise the tweets, to have conversations with other people – to create my own Personal Learning Network. Sometimes I tweet something, ask a questions, comment on something,  … but I definitely still see room for improvement. Like so often – it takes time. I will.
  • Facebook
    Another tool to connect. Fortunately a lot of organisations I’m interested in are on Facebook. It is great to follow them (Still lurking? Well, I started to comment way more often.)
  • LinkedIn
    It is still a little bit neglected by me …
  • Blog
    Of course the blog is also a way to connect. People comment and I try to comment as much as possible. For the kids I really like the #comments4kids on twitter.

And, and, and … To be honest, I still wish to create and contribute more. This experience here with Coetail helps me to connect with other people and how to use the Internet in a less consuming way. Let’s create, contribute and share! It’s worth!

Connectivism Course 2 Digital Footprint Privacy

Offline = Online – Does it really matter?

When I checked the verbs “to mob” (mobbing) and “to bully” in a online dictionary, I got very strong verbs in German that I haven’t used for years in my active vocabulary: belästigen, anpöbeln, tyrannisieren, schikanieren, einschüchtern, piesacken, drangsalieren, etc. Thinking about those verbs and about my experiences as a teacher, the connection to the article “Bullying” Has Little Resonance with Teenagers came in my mind and the following quote of a person who commented:

Technology is not to blame. Bullying has been in existence since there was civilization. Technology has escalated and changed how bullying occurs.

I agree bullying happened / is happening in the offline world as much as it is happening in the online world – then called cyberbullying (German / English). You can observe the same kind of actions (to bully – belästigen, anpöbeln, tyrannisieren, schikanieren, einschüchtern, piesacken, drangsalieren), just in different environments and with different impacts.

This week’s questions were:

Who’s responsibility is it to teach students to be safe online? Who’s job is it to teach these skills? When and where should we be having these conversations with students? Are we taking this seriously?

Cyberbullying has to be taught but in my opinion it doesn’t start with kindergarten or school and in the first row it doesn’t have anything to do with “cyber/being online”.

I had a situation in Grade 3 last week. There is student A who is always late. When he came in the classroom, another student B said: “Finally!” with a very derogative voice. There it starts already. I asked student B to think about what he just said and how student A might feel to hear something like that. Children no matter what age need to get aware and be aware that words and actions can hurt another person. As adults, as parents, as friends, as teachers we need to model how to feel empathy for somebody. (“Bullying” Has Little Resonance with Teenagers)

Photo Credit: Kevin (blahoblaho) via Flickr

It also reminded me of a unit in Grade 1 called “Use your words” where the students learn a strategy to deal with conflicts. It’s called STOP – TALK – WALK – HELP and gives children a tool to say NO to something, to ask WHY somebody is doing something, to have the courage to walk away and to ask for help. And again children no matter what age need to get the self confidence to stand for their own whenever they feel to be in a wrong situation. As adults, as parents, as friends, as teachers we need to get involved into strategies so we can again model for the children.

Does the strategy STOP – TALK – WALK – HELP would help for cyberbullying as well? Will a teenager be able to say STOP when he or she gets bombarded with mean or even worse text messages? Will he or she be confident enough to ask for reasons? Will he or she be strong enough to ignore or ask for help? It’s probably something you can learn no matter what age but the earlier the better. And again – as adults, as parents, as friends, as teachers we need to encourage our children.

Growing up in a small village, being a daughter of an unpopular teacher, being a teenager at that time let me experience how it is to live with gossip around me (and our family). Students of my father talked behind my back and in a very direct way as well. Since then I hate gossiping and it’s hard for me to stand people who a big gossiper. And again, the article “Bullying” Has Little Resonance with Teenagers came in my mind, because it says:

I hear teens’ dramas reflected in their stories about how their parents fight – with each other, with their friends and family and colleagues, and with them. What teens are doing is more coarse, more direct, and more explicit. But they’re witnessing adult dramas all around them and what they tend to see isn’t pretty. Parents talking smack about work colleagues or bosses. Parents fighting with each other or ostracizing their family members over disagreements. And it’s not just parents…Teens are seeing fights and dramas all over the media. Celebrity fights and dramas aren’t just in their face; they’re glorified! And even if MTV comments on domestic abuse after airing Jersey Shore, the way that the housemates treat each other sets a standard for what’s societally acceptable. Teens are seeing drama everywhere – they’re seeing it as a legitimate part of adult society that can often lead to notoriety.

And again – as adults, as parents, as friends, as teachers we model an integer life with communication skills which let us treat each other with respect.
We are ALL responsible whenever a situation comes up.
When children grow up and experience the world around them in a very safe and loving environment offline, don’t you think their behavior and their experiences will be similar online?


Course 2 Digital Footprint New Media literacies Privacy

The chaos of Copy & Paste

Tad not drinking wine

Photo Credit: ekai via Compfight cc

Reading about plagiarism and copyright this week made me realize how huge and important (!) this topic is. You can inquirer into this topic from many different perspectives: location where you are in the world, from the perspective of the students, the teachers, the bloggers, from the perspective of the kind of media (article online, movie, blog, image, comic, … endless).

First of all we as teachers need to know about copyright and plagiarism. Working at a PYP school and not having any books for teaching (which I really like) makes it difficult to have resources and of course we get them through the internet. Wikipedia says about Fair Use:

In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.

I was happy to read the word teaching, but what about In United States copyright law?  Germany seems to be always kind of stricter. Reading the wording of the law I’m realizing that I’m not a lawyer and I’m not used to read laws. Meaning it is complicated. Said very simple: § 53 Urheberrechtsgesetz (UrhG) allows us to copy for the use during lessons. There are different interpretations (using something during the lesson or saving something on the computer) written on the German website lo-recht (Recht und digitale Medien): Vervielfältigungen für Unterricht und Prüfungen. But … I have to admit that the article is quite old and I still feel quite confused. Therefore – my German colleagues (working at a German school): Please let me know more. How do you handle those issues? Thx. We need to know as teachers, for us and as important for getting the students aware.

At the moment Grade 5 at our school is working on their exhibition topics. In German the students are inquiring into a ecosystem which is related to their Central Idea. Right in time I heard about compfight, a flickr search engine, which gives you the code for attaching the caption. I also realized that Google allows you find pictures with certain usage rights (Advanced Search). Very helpful for the students is as well EasyBib: A Free Automatic Bibliography and Citation Generator.

In the context of the students writing their pieces for their exhibition as well as in the context of myself writing blog entries, the website was very informative and surprising for me. There are 10 types of plagiarism and I’m wondering now how much remix and mashup my students do?! And what about myself? I’m reading several websites/articles and recently I started to write down the source. Then I try to build my opinion, combine it with my own experience, ask new (or old) questions – what am I doing?

Last but not least the readings this week made me think about licensing own work. It feels good to know more about Flickr and Creative Commons which allows you to license your work easily if you want to share it. I don’t have to share and contribute so much at the moment, but I told a friend about it who is an artist and she was very happy to hear about it. Let’s spread the word! That is also part of all this with Coetail.

And how about 3D plagiarism? Today at the Maker Munich there was a talk about: Piracy hoch drei: Öffnet die 3D-Technologie wirklich die Büchse der Pandora?  – in English something like:

Piracy power three: Does the 3D technology really opens the Pandora’s Box?

I’m living in such a exciting and interesting time!



Course 2 Digital Footprint Privacy

Do you freely express yourself on the Internet?

If it's on the Internet, it isn't private.
Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey via Compfight cc

While reading and understanding the article for this week (Don’t overestimate privacy of online information & Beware: the internet could own your future) my Grade 4 came in my mind which inquires into the Human Rights at the moment. In particular I was reminded of impressive pictures of William T. Ayton who painted a picture for each Human Right. (First time that I asked an artist whether I can use his pictures – Thanks for replying so quickly, Mr. Ayton! – Check out his website!)

Photo Credit: William T. Ayton via U.D.H.R.

Article 12 (U.D.H. R. – picture of Ayton):

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12.)


One interesting question for me is the following:

Do we just have to adapt and accept the fact that there seems to be less and less privacy online? 

The control over who has access to my pictures, to my information, to my location and so on seems not existing anymore. I try to understand the privacy setting f.e. of Facebook and and it gives me a good and kind of safe feeling but a rest of distrust is always there. I feel like that there isn’t the possibility to control my privacy online anymore. But in my opinion to just give up is too easy although I’m not sure whether I have a chance.
I found information about a Post-Privacy-Movement which believes and is convinced that we are living in a time without any privacy. Really?
On the other hand there seem to be a lot initiatives which try to protect privacy like Me & My Shadow campaign, like a German initiative against the change of the data retention laws (Stopp! die Vorratsdatenspeicherung – German/English), like the Global Network Initiative (GNI) and of course there are many technical inventions which try to protect privacy (f.e. TOR).

All that reading led me to another interesting question:

How is “The Right to Privacy” and “The right of Freedom of expression” related to each other?

Photo Credit: William T. Ayton via U.D.H.R.

Article 19 (U.D.H. R. – picture of Ayton):

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19)

Living in Germany luckily I haven’t experience the feeling that I can’t express freely my opinions. But it’s definitely a different story in other countries in the world like f.e. China and North Korea. And maybe I don’t have to go so far.

I found a quite new (2012) Global Survey on Internet Privacy and Freedom of Expression done by UNESCO. They say that the Internet lets us rethink about our understanding of privacy because compared to the pre-internet-time:

  • the Internet can collect way more different kind of personal information (DNA information, facial recognition, finger scanning, etc.).
  • the Internet can locate our personal information (unique IP addresses, RFID, bar codes, etc.).
  • the Internet and new technologies can analyse personal information and use them for different purpose.
  • there is way more commercial and government related use and analyses of our data.

Even though there might be a common definition of privacy it seems that it exist a very different understanding of the concept of privacy depending on country and also government. Therefor the relationship between both rights is very complex as well.

Course 2 Digital Footprint New Media literacies

Digital footprint – AGAIN an eye opener

Common Sense Media: Digital Footprint Intro from Joaquin E. Jutt on Vimeo.

Since I worked for a Software Company (2000-2004 Infopark) I always felt quite aware of my traces I might leave or I want to leave on the Internet. Will Richardson writes about it in his article “Footprints in the Digital Age” and defines it the following:

– the online portfolios of who we are, what we do, and by association, what we know –

Certain email addresses for different use were a must for me and also anonymous names for certain accounts. Googling myself was also something I did on a regular base. During my year of traveling I was writing a blog but again kind of anonymous and only friends and family knew about it. I always thought I’m quite lucky and safe to have a quite common German name – even my sister in law name is Verena Zimmer. It was not that easy to find information about me.

I have to be honest, I never really thought about my digital shadow. Sure I’m booking online, buying online, etc. but using fake names made me feel save. It’s probably even trickier and less controllable than the digital footprint.

My thinking changed for the first time when I spoke with a colleague/friend at my previous school in Seoul few years ago. We both thought about a teacher portfolio but unfortunately we never really made time for it.

My thinking changed even more over the last 8 weeks. I’m still hesitating and I don’t know where this is coming from (it’s out of my comfort zone and a change of my own mindset) but now actually I want to be found now and it’s okay that people find (professional) information about me. The exchange with other people, teachers so far, but hopefully sooner or later with non teachers as well, I highly appreciate.

My big question though is: Are we 100% in control of our digital footprint? 

At the moment it’s this blog, my comments on other blogs; it’s through Twitter, Facebook, Diigo, Google+; in future it will be  …

Digital footprint forever

Photo Credit: blaho_blaho cc

A digital footprint/portfolio gives us the chance to learn, to be inspired by others, to connect and discuss with like-minded people, to share and reflect on experiences and work, to ask questions, to improve, ….

The question whether we should have a digital footprint / teacher portfolio as a teacher is YES. Teaching and learning is a passion and any kind of reflection and exchange helps us to find our own position as well as to promote ourselves. And Vivian made a very good point: If we live an integer life anyways then we don’t need to fear about possible leaving some negative traces.

Future employers get an additional perspective of the applicant. Fair enough – they want the best fit for their school / company. The applicant on the other hand can convince the future employer that she / he is the right one for that particular position.

Maybe a good and productive match is even more likely with those additional information. But how will an application look like in near future? Somebody of Coetail asked this question before but I can’t find the post anymore. Sorry. How would you apply for a new teaching position or maybe even a different kind of work?! Maybe the way schools / employers will choose a new way as well?!

Realizing having a digital footprint has a lot of advantages the logical consequence must be: YES, we have to let our students know about those advantages. YES, to clarify the risk is important too. But even more important is that we as teachers emphasis the advantages and chances. Being online is a great chance for learning and growing, no question.

And it is Will Richardson again who puts it in words. As a teacher I feel we need to support the students to know

  • how to find their own passions
  • how to connect with like minded people
  • how to work, communicate and collaborate
  • how to connect with a variety of different minded people to get a variety of perspectives which pushes learning in different directions
  • how to asks provocative questions to get discussions going and create new thinking
  • how to choose people who are rather inspiring and with good intentions than harmful
  • how to find the balance between being connect online and in real life.

When and how to start? I found several resources on the Internet, f.e. Lesson: Trillion Dollar Footprint (6-8).  It really depends on YOU as a teacher, parent, friend, on the STUDENTS, and the circumstances. We shouldn’t negate and avoid that topic anymore, maybe just because we might feel uncomfortable. Let’s be aware and let’s spread the word.