Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

Hooked on Pokemon?

With more than 30 million players worldwide traveling around catching cartoon characters using phone GPS and cameras, it certainly seems that phenomenal records have been hit.Pokemon

I have to admit though, I did a double take yesterday afternoon when driving down Dandenong Road, a major arterial road here in Melbourne,  to see a road sign hung up over the busy road warning drivers to not play Pokemon while driving!

Photographed by someone at night and uploaded onto the Internet, this is the wording of more than 40 signs that popped up mid-way through last week on our roads.

News reports tell the story!

Hard on the heels of news reports are all kinds of warnings, such as this one from the

I’ve also spotted stranger danger videos posted on Facebook warning of the dangers of following others in the trail of playing Pokemon.

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Common Sense MediaI recently came across the Common Sense Media website and discovered all kinds of valuable info which can easily be slotted into lessons or displayed in a library on a loop to promote cyber awareness.

While there’s a wealth of valuable information to explore on this site, these two short and sharp videos speak volumes.  There quick and colourful format will ensure that their message is absorbed by young students.

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Being mindful of what we post on Facebook goes without saying.

Aunty Acid - Think before you post

Being familiar with the ins and outs of using Facebook and its various settings is, however, something that many of us know little about.

So when I logged into Facebook the other day, I was blown away to see an invitation to better learn how to use Facebook.   The teacher in me shot to attention as I quickly started paging through the simple, clear statements listed in this presentation and realized that this would make a great learning tool that could be used in the classroom or in our library sessions.

You're in charge

It’s an awesome presentation and reminds me that for all of us our learning journey is indeed never ending!

And with this discovery, another year draws to an end.  Desks have been cleared, bags laden with books to read have been packed and we head out the door at this end of the world for our summer break in which we aim to pause, reflect and re-charge our batteries before the start of the next busy year.

Warm greetings to you all for a safe, happy and rest filled break.

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Whether participating as a reader or a writer of blogs, engagement with the Blogoshphere provides an opportunity to learn, explore and discover the knowledge, opinions and thoughts of others.  It is an exciting and vibrant world which invites readers and writers to freely express and explore an enormous range of topics.

Having the opportunity to tease out the various aspects of blogging – how to blog and what can be gained from blogging – is an opportunity that was extended to me by the Australian publication Education Technology Solutions and is the fifth and final article in a series about lifelong learning which I have written for this magazine over the last twelve months.

Aiming to provide concrete suggestions for the novice blogger to help get started as well as providing thoughts and ideas of the benefits to be gained by engaging in the Blogosphere. Blogging: Powerful And Addictive!  has just been published in Education Technology Solutions – Issue 69, December/January 2016.

ABSTRACT: Blogging is a powerful way to determine our own growth and development. By pursuing topics of personal interest, by considering the words and thoughts of others, by writing reflective and informative posts, a rich, supportive network is built. Engagement with the Blogosphere enables educators to enhance their own skills, knowledge and experience and in the process define their own path of lifelong learning.

Also published on the Educational Technology Solutions website, I’m pleased to also be able to share my article here:

Blogging: Powerful And Addictive!

pic-1By Bev Novak.

Blogging is a powerful way to learn, explore and discover.

Replete with an infinite source of information on a limitless number of topics, the blogosphere is a perfect location for educators to create and direct their own learning path. That which is learned from either reading or writing blog posts expands both their knowledge and their thinking. By posting comments on blog posts, it is possible to engage in a form of social networking that is distinct and different from other social networking platforms. Connecting with those who write blogs or with those who read their blogs is exciting, stimulating and inspirational.

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I just watched Monica Lewinsky’s TED video: The Price of Shame.  It’s moving and profound.

This young woman, who has been shamed, blamed and ridiculed worldwide for virtually her whole adult life, has finally had the strength and courage to share with a worldwide audience painful lessons she has learned.  It is heartening to know that her life shattering experience has now filled her with a determination to make the world a better place.

If you haven’t seen the video, put aside some time and watch it:

Just a few days after her TED video was aired, it was shocking to read Nadia Goodman’s post:

Reaction to Monica Lewinsky's TED Talk
Such vitriol is sickening.

Knowing that voices are being raised to fight cyberbullying though is very heartening.  Even more so, it is great to learn that youths are taking up the fight against this insidious behaviour.

I’d not heard of Project Rockit until Monica Lewinsky mentioned it in her talk.

Started by two sisters, Project Rockit aims to give a space and voice to the youth of Australia:

To put it simply, PROJECT ROCKIT builds spaces where imagination, leadership, creative expression and acceptance are available to all young people, regardless of their social label, grades, gender, sexuality or cultural background.

And just a few days ago, I came across another website created for our youth: ThinkUKnow which features young people themselves talking about the dangers that technology brings to our lives.


Are we sharing these sites with our students?  Do they know what’s out there to support them?


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I made a decision quite some years back to restrict my ‘friendship circle’ on Facebook to real friends and family.  Not having a need to share my activities and thoughts in such a public forum has most probably been the driver of this decision.  As it turns out, I log into Facebook on a daily basis and enjoy catching up with what others are up to.  Occasionally I share or like the posts of others, bur I very rarely post updates.

Sometimes I find that my lurking gets carried away though.   Reading a post which mentions a person who I knew a long long time ago, inevitably hooks me in and I find myself wandering off to that person’s page reading their updates to find out what they are up to in the 21st century!  Sometimes I get further carried away by discovering yet another long lost acquaintance on that person’s page and …. well ….. you know what I mean.  The usual scenario is that I sharply regain consciousness, give myself a shake, look at the clock and realize how much time I’ve whiled away on inconsequential stuff.  The buzz lines that speed through my head revolve around me not really needing to read the detailed happenings of others, what they’ve seen, eaten or recently acquired.  It all hits me as a bit plastic, unreal and time wasting.

Yes – I can hear you saying:  there’s a wealth of Facebook Pages to be liked that are informative and valuable.  I agree.  I probably could gain much if I was more selective or inclusive in ‘liking’ more Facebook pages. Right now though, I’ve elected to not branch out too much beyond my current base.

My few updates are indicative of my lack of need to share personal bits and pieces in a such a public forum as Facebook.   Sharing over a coffee, one on one, is the real me.   Those who are my Facebook friends, surely know this by now.    So when a work colleague recently shared this article via email:

Anti FB
I found myself nodding with an amused smile.  It reminded me of a video I saw a few years ago which questioned the path our online life was taking us.

So when I read an article in the newspaper this week about the creation of a social network in Bologna in Spain, I found myself thinking about this issue once again.

Looking to make new friends in his new neighbourhood, one resident posted a flyer on his street, Via Fondazza, explaining that he had created a closed group on Facebook just for the people who lived there.  Within three or four days, the group had 20 followers.  It was not long before virtual exchanges between residents became concrete.  People began to greet each other on the street, to publicize events and gatherings virtually and then share face to face, or just responded to each others request for assistance or support.  Two years later the group has 1100 members.  A warm ‘village like’ atmosphere has been created where approximately half of Via Fondazza’s residents belong to the Facebook group. Those who do not use the internet are invited to events via leaflets or word of mouth.

The idea, Italy’s first “social street” has been such a success that it has caught on beyond Bologna and the narrow confines of Via Fondazza. There are 393 social streets in Europe, Brazil and New Zealand, inspired by Mr Bastiani’s idea, according to the Social Street Italia website, which was created out of the Facebook group to help others replicate the project.

This is certainly an intriguing idea and, it seems, a great way to get to know people if you find yourself living in a new location.  Checking the Social Street Italia website is a fascinating browse.  Hundreds of social streets have been created throughout Italy.   So far, I’ve not been able to locate a link to other countries.  Perhaps they are out there somewhere.  Please let me know if you come across it.

This whole concept reminds me of my own early foray into the online world in which I was able to enjoy ever deepening  and meaningful connections with a large number of virtual friends.  With the warmth of thoughts and experiences shared online, our face-to-face meeting was highly anticipated.  It was like we were close friends who had known each other for years.  An awesome feeling!

Meantime, have a read of the article which outlines this fascinating experiment: Italian neighbours build their own social network, online and off

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It’s no wonder that this video, posted just a few days ago on August 10th , has gone viral.

Fear and disbelief flooded through me as I watched how easily young girls could be sucked into believing that people they chat with on Social Media are who they say they are.  The anguish of loving parents who have clearly spent time educating their daughters to stranger danger in both face-to-face and digital situations hasn’t overcome the reality of the dangers of Social Media.

Predators are evil and are very real.

How can we do it better?

Perhaps sharing this video is just one path.

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