Tag Archives: socialnetworking

Web 2.0 guilt

WunderkammerJohn Larkin’s blog struck a chord with me when he talked about signing up for everything under the sun ‘in a drunken Web 2.0 haze’. Me too. My ‘registrations’ information word doc is now into its third page – yes, you heard correctly. But what am I to do!? There’s so much out there, and I’m like a child in a lolly shop. All the lollies are free, did I mention? As John says, ‘too much choice does create paralysis. Like the aisles in a supermarket. Too much choice is a legacy of the twentieth century I guess’. And I do love knowledge, discussion, recommendation, links to fabulous resources. And I love passing these on to other people. Still, this weekend I have done other things: boring house stuff, baked a blueberry crumble cake, helped my younger son with a project about earthquake-safe houses, bought a barbecue, watched an energizing Nigel Kennedy concert on DVD, had breakfast at Brunetti’s, visited Wunderkammer, read my older son’s year 12 psychology research essay, played with the dog…. so you see, it’s not that bad.
I loved one of the comments on John Larkin’s blog: ‘Set up a new group? What should we call it? “Clayton’s 2.0″? The group you have when you are not having a group?’

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#17 Library 2.0


Originally uploaded by David Warlick

I haven’t slept well for the last few nights. I’ll tell you why. I haven’t been able to let go of a significant stuff-up in a job interview for the position of teacher librarian in a secondary school. It still astounds me that, when asked how I would engage students in reading if money were no object, I completely forgot to resource the collection! No mention of buying books! My library would somehow engage young readers bypassing a collection altogether.

I blame my present conversion to all things Web 2.0. Seriously, it’s almost as if a vibrant collection of resources is taken for granted. But, to be fair, when I analyse my giant faux pas, I would have to say that we all know, and have known for some time, that school libraries need a fantastic variety of all things readable, countless copies of every author, genre and style. But it’s not enough! One of the other questions that challenged me during the interview (an excellent question) was ‘how we get to know adolescents’ at our school. I think this is one of the most important questions, because if we don’t think about how we are going to understand young people in our schools, then we’re buying books for ourselves, then our programs are for a mismatched audience, our money is spent in vain.

During the course of this Web 2.0 journey, we’ve had a taste of the world that our students more authentically inhabit than we do, a world we have to force our way into perhaps, so as to have an insight into the question ‘how do we engage young people in reading?’ After crawling into Facebook and MySpace, feeling our way through Flickr photosharing, and other Web 2.0 applications, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that we’re living in a new information landscape, one where interacting and sharing understandings, views and knowledge is the purpose behind everything we do. David Warlick noted a graduate student’s comments about school in his blog,

“There’s not really an avenue at school for me to share, or publish my own stuff, or especially get feedback from people all over — That’s really the only reason I rush home to do MySpace so much.”

I think the reason I omitted to talk about the provision of books and concentrated on Web 2.0 applications, is that, like Will Richardson, I see this generation as a read/write generation. It’s not just about reading – it’s about reading and sharing opinions and ideas about what we’ve read with our friends.  If we provide books, then we should provide the opportunity for socialnetworking amongst students. Teachers should not be the sole audience. Young people care about what other young people think. This is what Library 2.0 is about – innovation, people and community building.

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#12 Google docs

Some Questions Can’t Be Answered by Google

Originally uploaded by Mykl Roventine

The unmistakable beauty of Google Docs is that they can be saved and accessed on any computer. It seems that all good things are free-floating. We’re no longer anchored to one harbour. That goes for del.icio.us, furl, librarything and others I can’t think of at the moment.
I played with a google doc, created a folder, was able to see ‘all revisions’ made and how long ago, compared different versions of the document. The ‘sharing’ aspect is cool. This is the meat in the Web 2.0 sandwich, the networking aspect. I had the option to invite people either as collaborators or as viewers. I could even give my ‘collaborators’ permission to invite other collaborators. A socialnetworking army! I feel so powerful!
Lastly, you get the option of saving the document in different formats: html, open document (what the…), pdf, rtf (what the…), text, word – have a look for yourself.
Zohowriter was similar, and enabled me to save folders as tags, ensuring easier location and access. Inserting images is apparently easy, and you can post it to your blog. You can also make a draft post. The ‘add comments’ feature is useful for teacher/student interaction.

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a small matter of perspective

Here’s an example of the way Facebook can broaden local perspective.

My older son is currently doing Year 12 IB (International Baccalaureate). He joined an IB related Facebook group (You Know When You’re in IB When …) , and read that northern hemisphere IB students had already finished. Thinking that he could attract some pity, he wrote that his end of the world had 6 months of IB to go.  Here’s his post:

Sasha Sheko (Ivanhoe Grammar School) wroteon May 15, 2008 at 9:29 PM

That’s right… You guys are done but us people in the Southern Hemisphere (i.e. Australia) have six months to go.

The response from an IB student in Lebanon took him by surprise:
(I had to conceal some language)

 Post #3

Omar ‘Boobass’ Boubess (American Community School Beirut) wroteon May 18, 2008 at 9:50 AM

holyy sh* so u guys take the november tests?? goodluck with that…if this could make u feel better there was a civil war here in Lebanon and we still had to make our way thru all the shellings and rpg’s (<< yes f*ing RPG’s) and get to school to take the test.. god bless IB 🙂

Yes, Omar, you win….

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Facebook/MySpace? What the…? (#10,11)

Facebook Vs Myspace (Ben Heine)

Originally uploaded by Ben Heine

What’s the difference between Facebook and MySpace? To find out, I asked my son who uses both: 


– more customised in terms of html; the look is more customizable;
– you can stick pictures wherever you want and also YouTube or widgets
– he feels it’s more ‘his space’ and puts effort into making it look nice and individual
– automatic widget from lastfm  plays his cds on autoplay so it comes on for visitors.


– no autoplay, so visitors have to click on to hear his music, and they might not do that
– smoother, when you tag someone it works better – doesn’t open up a new window or take forever 
– photo albums are better, quicker , tagging is better
– better for groups – eg. interests, themes, etc
– he likes to send messages to more than one person at once (like email) and when they reply it goes to everyone in the group selected so it’s good for collaboration

His general comments:

MySpace can look awful (matter of taste)whereas facebook is the same for all
It’s ridiculous that we talk to the same people on MySpace and facebook and msn but we do it

– writing on the wall in facebook is similar to comments on MySpace although with Wall to wall, if there’s a conversation going on b/w two people, it’s easier to keep track of

Participating in these socialnetworking communities, you know more about a person – their taste in movies, music, comedians etc. than you would otherwise – you can’t always work that into a conversation.

My views:
I think that for school, using something similar gives the kids an identity, this is their space, and includes all that they think makes them unique and what they want their friends to know and see about them. Book and film reviews pages could be set out more like this, so that students have an identity and their own space for creativity.

Drupal might be a good option. What do others think?


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#11. Let’s face it …


Originally uploaded by tania.sheko

A little background … My older son was one of the last to ‘be allowed’ to use MSN, Facebook and MySpace. What am I saying? He was one of the last to ‘be allowed’ a gameboy, Nintendo, to watch The Simpsons, South Park, etc. Reflecting back on my reluctance to condone MSN, Facebook and MySpace, I have to admit amongst many other reasons, a distinct nervousness about this new way of socialising. True to every generation, I was afraid of change, and I wasn’t in control of this socialnetworking – I didn’t understand it at all. When you don’t understand something, you’re likely to be suspicious of it. Could even be paranoid about it.

Some time this year – I don’t remember why – I decided to ‘get’ Facebook. That weekend I don’t think I even came up for air. I was hooked. In a short time, I’d ‘found’ people I’d lost touch with and minutes later was communicating with them – my god-daughter in Sacramento, friends from Sydney we’d lost touch with – we had lived in Sydney for 13 years. Posted photo albums revealed young people we had known well as young children. I was able to see friends’ trips all over the world. I saw albums of weddings, christenings and other events.

The different levels of communication have proved interesting. When suddenly finding someone I knew but hadn’t seen for ages, and unsure of whether they wanted to reconnect, I was able to ‘poke’ them, leaving it up to them whether they wanted to communicate or not. Brief responses indicated a more distant willingness, whereas some responses were overwhelmingly positive and took the form of private emails. Writing on people’s walls is public with the knowledge of others being able to read everything. Very twitter-like is the initial few words that everyone adds which lets you know what they are doing or thinking or feeling in the last day or so. Sounds trite but sometimes I’m happy to be informed of things on the run – eg. if someone has passed an exam, got a new job, is sick, etc. You’re not expected to respond. It also means that you don’t have to email everyone separately with those little things.

Lastly, I have to admit, it’s addictive. If you’re the kind of person who has to check emails throughout the day (yes, it’s a little sad), then watch out – Facebook is worse because all your ‘friends’ are up there together and there’s so much going on at once.

Yes, I have changed my attitude to my sons’ participation with Facebook. I think it’s a good lesson, and one that can be translated to our experience as teachers/teacherlibrarians. If you don’t ‘do’ something, you won’t really know what it’s about. You’re more likely to be negative, suspicious, critical. But if you don’t keep up, not only could you alienate young people, you could miss out on a lot.

PS. Yes I do have a life. I also live in the real world.
I’d love to hear about others’ thoughts.

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