Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

For years, teacher librarians have been teaching students not just how to run online searches but how important it is to authenticate information found.

But over the last 12-18 months with the preponderance of ‘fake news’ popping up not just on the internet but in usually reliable print publications such as newspapers and journals, the impact ‘fake news’ has had on our world has been the subject of much discussion around the globe.

So it is refreshing to see that the conversation has now started to shift from how dangerous fake news is to how to spot and combat fake news.

Perhaps under threat from mega million law suits, Facebook has been one of the first to take a lead by informing users of some basic tips on how to spot false news.

For a few brief days in mid April this year, Facebook users in just 14 countries got to see this alert:

from where they could read through the following concise and useful tips on how to spot false news:

Why only 14 countries were included in this roll out and why the alert was only live for a few days is a complete mystery.  Given the value this kind of shared information can have in the fight against the spread of misleading and false information, one can only hope that Facebook was testing the ground and will come back to making this a permanent alert available to global Facebook users.

As reported by engadget recently, Google also is attempting to stamp out the spread of fake news by inserting a ‘Fact check by’ tag on searches on contentious issues.

Another interesting development this week is the announcement by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

WikiTRIBUNE is being developed as a new kind of news platform.  By calling on the community to work hand-in-hand with journalists, the aim is to verify and edit facts before they appear online.  Using crowdfunding to hire 14 journalists, it is intended that WikiTRIBUNE, like Wikipedia, will be free to access.

WikiTRIBUNE is set to differ from other news outlets in four specific ways:

  • the news source will be clearly stated
  • access to WikiTRIBUNE will be free and ad free
  • contributors from both the community and journalists will be equals
  • to achieve full transparency donors will be informed where money goes

Read more about the purpose and nature of WikiTRIBUNE in this excellent engadget article Wikipedia co-founder launches Wikitribune to fight fake news or listen to Jimmy Wales himself as he invites the world to come on board.



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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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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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As we approach Safer Internet Day, which this year is to be celebrated worldwide on Tuesday 5th February, my mind flicks over the many fabulous sites that are available to help teach students about safe online behaviour.

Late last year I came across this gem: Keep It Tame.  With a very ‘teenage’ feel about this website I’m certain it would be great to have students spend a session exploring it at their own pace.

Opening the website, the viewer is presented with an option of posting a very ugly picture about a teenage girl.  Viewers are then taken through a range of reactions experienced by the victim.  The screen shots are clean and uncluttered and move quickly from screen shots to video without the viewer really being aware of the switch.  The content is real and engaging.

After the intital scenario is played through, users are asked “What would you like to do?”  In response to selecting any of the tabs “Help”  “Know”  “Act” users move through a very broad range of cybersafety sites where they can read, learn or even act on a concern.   Links to a range of excellent resources abound:  Kids Helpline, Cybersafety, Think U Know, The Butterfly Foundation, ReachOut.com, Play it Safe (Facebook), Good to Know (Google eSmart) and Easy Guide all help to make this a very powerful resource.

The simple message imparted to teens

Respect each other online  

is followed by the byline:

You can use phones, tablets and computers to do awesome stuff. But things can turn nasty if you use them to disrespect each other. Treat each other with respect and Keep It Tame.

This Australian developed website is sure to be a winner.   Take some time to check it out.

Also take time to explore various links and events being staged in Australia by reading the summary of Safer Internet Day 2013 on the Bright Ideas blog.

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Facebook went public this week.   With a billion users, what an amazing juggernaut this has become!

Questions about its efficacy in schools continues to rage though.   Does Facebook have a role in our classrooms?   Should we embrace its power for educational purposes?  Should teachers and students ‘friend’ each other?   Should the power that Facebook has to spread information also be utilized to spread knowledge?

As arguments rage for and against blocking access to Facebook in our schools, I find a host of questions surfacing in my mind:

  • As educators, is it not a part of our role to teach students how to safely and responsibly use Facebook and other Social Media?
  • If Facebook is blocked at school, do we inadvertently highlight the negative way in which Facebook can be used?
  • Should inappropriate use of Facebook trigger collective ‘punishment’ or should the transgressors alone be punished?
  • If Facebook is blocked, why aren’t we also restricting use of mobile phones which can be also be used inappropriately?
  • Has Facebook, a mode of communication that has taken on phenomenal proportions, not edged its way into our school curriculum which includes learning how to communicate effectively and appropriately?
  • Although our students, the Y and Z generation, seem more proficient in the use and uptake of Social Media, do they really know how to use it to further their learning?
  • Should educators take a role in teaching students how to generate a positive digital footprint?
  • Can educators, by creating positive opportunities for the use of Facebook in the classroom, effectively teach students appropriate use?
  • How will students develop an understanding of privacy settings, the long term implications of posting photos or the benefits of ‘liking’ the range of organisations that proliferate on Facebook if we take access to it out of our schools?
  • If Facebook and other Social Media platforms are a dominant part of our changed world, doesn’t it make sense to incorporate them into our day-to-day school life?

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Every now and then I feel like I’m floundering out there in cyberspace!  And like me, you probably have moments when you too feel that Social Networking has all but taken over your life!

So when I saw this latest video, which is bound to go viral, I had a good giggle.

To a novice onlooker like me, it seems that Facebook and Google+ are continually raising the stakes on each other.  It’s a bit like that old song

‘Anything you can do ….. I can do better!”

I’m left in the middle, kind of wondering why I need to use both of them, but then worrying if I don’t remain active on each of them, I may miss out on ‘something’ really important, interesting or essential.  And in between it all, I’m still trying to figure out how I want to use them.

Then there’s Twitter.  Fortunately though, I don’t have any lingering qualms about its value.  For me, Twitter stands apart from other Social Networking platforms.   It’s great, it’s invaluable and it’s a form of Social Networking which speaks to me in a totally different way to either Facebook or Google+.

And then there’s Blogging ….. and Nings ….. and Linked In ….. and GoodReads ….. and Diigo ….. and VodPod ….. and Flikr ….. and …. and ….. goodness …. the list goes on and on.  It’s not until I stop and think about it that I realize how many different Social Networking tools I’m using – all of them eating into precious time in a day.

But just in the last few days, I’ve hit upon more than one video which talks about us getting back to the real world and not letting Social Networking take over our lives.   I guess it’s important to remember that there are ‘real’ relationships out there which need nurturing if they are to be maintained.   As new Social Networking platforms come thick and fast, we need to take stock and remember that wise adage our parents used to say:

Everything in moderation”

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