My views are similar for citizenship when offline or online. Don’t do or say anything that will embarrass me or anyone I know. Unfortunately in both worlds, I can make mistakes. Most people think these mistakes are worse online as you can never erase them. I think it’s the same for the offline (real) world as well. Someone always knows you stuffed up, and if one person knows your secret, anyone can know. Of course this problem is magnified in the digital universe, as secrets can be shared much quicker. I have discovered this with having two Twitter handles, a work and a personal, both controlled through Tweetdeck. In the early days I was unaware that tweets I made about sensitive issues (usually political), were being repeated through my work Twitter handle. Luckily with Twitter, news gets old real quick, so once I figured out the settings, my small mistakes disappeared. But I know they’re there.
As far as being a citizen online, I try to keep my profile pretty small. I don’t comment much on facebook, my privacy settings are screwed right down, so much so that it’s been a challenge I have set for students to actually find me. To date I am winning. Lately I have been a bit more relaxed and have shared some humorous stuff, but usually it’s just birthday notices etc. I don’t usually get involved in social movements, and am not convinced they make much of a difference. I observe a lot of political rubbish spouted over social media that doesn’t seem to amount to any real action. More ‘clicktivists’ that ‘activists’. I communicate with my adult children but through the inbox so we can talk privately, that’s about all the personal communication I do. At work I run our Twitter handle, blog and e-news, so I probably communicate more on a professional level than social. As a professional I try to keep it very business, as it not only reflects my professionalism, but the reputation of my colleagues. That is always in the back of my mind, and most of what I send out is vetted by the whole team before publishing. E-mail is huge, and runs my life sometimes.
Track down a person under 18 you say, “I’m bloody 50!” say I. My children and I communicate, usually when we want something from each other. Physical labour from them, or money from me. What I would say is that communicating online with your children is fraught with frightening possibilities. Yes it is the easiest way to communicate with them, but sometimes there is far too much information for a parent to be exposed to. Absolutely Terrifying stuff.
So as far as attitudes to privacy online, I have observed huge differences between my kids. There seems to be a huge difference between all of them (I have seven), and I can’t seem to formulate a theory on either gender or age as far as their attitudes go. Our oldest daughter is extremely (Yuck!) open about her life online, but the eldest boy is paranoid about his online profile. Our youngest daughter (21), lives her life online, but in a much more moderate way. We hardly see any embarrassing photos or comments from her, but she seems to communicate with all her friends through digital media. Our youngest son has a partner who shares her thoughts and photos of the Grandkids through facebook (we like that), but their private lives are private. Do they have separate personas? Not that I can see, it’s just that some of them are more careful about how much of their persona is shared online.
What platforms do they use? Their phones are always in their hands, facebook is used, instagram too. They all have computers at home, but I think the portability of the phone is making these obsolete, well for communicating anyway.
The effective learner
An effective learner, is someone who wants to know how the world works. Inquisitiveness is a crucial element in my mind if we want students to engage with their learning. This curiousness needs to be fostered by teachers, and hopefully encouraged in their classrooms. Students should be encouraged to explore aspects of their studies that interest them. Online sources are fantastic for this. The Hyperlinks on Wikipedia for example mean you can head off in completely unexpected directions. For example; while reading the latest Dan Brown novel, he comments that the four horses above St Marks Basilica in Venice, which were stolen from Constantinople, were also stolen by Napoleon and placed atop the Arc De
Arc de triomphe du carousel
Triomphe. This confused me as I have visited Paris and was pretty sure the Arc De Triomphe was never completed by Napoleon. A quick visit to Google and Wikipedia confirmed that Napoleon never finished his monument, and then a search of the four horses of St Marks confirmed that they were placed on an Arc De Triomphe in Paris during Napoleons time??? Now I know there are two Arc De Triomphes, and I have seen both. One is in the Place Du Carousel (Completed by Napoleon), and one (The famous one), is at the end of the Champs Elysee. This I know because I spent some more time locating each one with Google Maps. I now have a new trivia question to annoy people with.
Arc de Triomphe du Etoile
Now the above example didn’t need much determination, but I could have spent a lot longer researching the monuments if I didn’t get the answer to my question so quickly. The ease of researching online now has meant that we don’t persist as long as we sometime should. I could have stopped after confirming the big Arc De Triomphe wasn’t completed by Napoleon and therefore he couldn’t have topped it off with giant horse statues. This is where an effective learner goes the extra mile, sometimes fruitlessly, to gain a better understanding of the information thay have received.
With this determination, an effective learner can expand their knowledge. Maybe we don’t need to know there are two monuments in Paris with similar names, but the ability to grow our base knowledge can be a very handy tool to have. Memory fails us sometimes, but with software like Evernote and Dropbox we can keep that information compartmentalised, organised and available to us at a moment’s notice. Now we can expand our library of known facts to a greater degree than we could ever do in our minds, or am I only talking about me?
If you have no passion for any activity or subject, it is nearly impossible to be an effective learner. Inquisitiveness and determination will take you so far, but passion is required if the learner is truly immersed in a subject. Without this thirst or passion for learning, we will eventually lose interest and find something more to our liking to do.
These two go together a little bit, and we can probably throw determination in there too. I must say I have found this Unit one of the most difficult and it has taken all my resilience and determination to find a spark of passion which might ignite my inquisitive nature and lead to the growth of my knowledge and experience of this task.
Well there’s me, all wrapped up in a nut shell. (Help! Help! I’m stuck in a nutshell!) sorry about that 😛