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Ferneyhough, Andrew.

OLTD506 2013 Summary Paper Page 1 of 5



Am I an Ostrich or an Eagle?
Ask me in five years.

When asked to think about my learnings in this course as they relate to Julia Hengstlers (2012)
5 Pillars of Risk, I really had to think long and hard about where I was initially with my understanding of
Social Media. In this essay I will take a close look at three of those five pillars: Knowledge; Skills and
Training; and Guidelines and Policy, as well as the various perspectives that I have come across through
this journey. My goal is to highlight those articles and concepts that had the greatest effect on where I
am going to take my future practice. Many of these topics are simply too important to simply shove
away on a shelf and are going to take some major school-wide discussions on how best to proceed.

If you had asked me at the beginning of this course about my use of, and exposure to, Social
Media in the classroom, I would have answered nil to none. Being an Intermediate teacher I have never
even considered using facebook and twitter in my classroom. However, upon further scrutiny, I have
been quite active in the social media world for quite some time. Sites that I have used In the Cloud
such as xtranormal.com, bitstrips.com, and wix.com have all involved, to one degree or another, a social
networking component. I have often chosen to ignore, or tried to turn off some of those components,
but I have never considered such things as where the company stores their information and whether or
not I should have a specific permission form for that particular program. These are just a few of the
realizations that I have come across during my readings. To be honest I am almost scared to do further
readings on the matter as I am sure I will continue to learn how negligent I have been in my teachings.

I am sure I could spend this entire paper on discussing my new found knowledge and/or my lack
thereof, however, I would like to focus here on one of my favourite pieces written by Julia Hengslter;
Managing Your Digital Footprint: Ostriches v. Eagles. In this article Hengstler talks about those who live
in fear and play a passive role when it comes to technology, and those who take a proactive role in
managing the risks by, providing resources, guidelines, structures, life-skills training and professional
development to leverage the abilities of these tools to improve teaching and learning. (Hengstler, 2011,
p.91)

I reference this article in relation to my new found knowledge as it seemed to be the one that
generated the most discussions for me throughout this course. One item in particular was that of the
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Deep Web. It seems very obvious to me in retrospect that there is a huge layer of information out
there that does not hit the Google top 50 pages. I feel almost moronic when I think of doing a search
on my daughter and being slightly proud that nothing came up on her. What amazed me most was her
reference to a statistic stating that, 95% of the deep web is publicly accessible information not
subject to fees or subscriptions. (p.94) So, not only is the information on us out there, but it is easily
accessible to those who know how to look for it.

On a more general note, we cannot possibly hope to each become experts on policies,
paperwork, servers and let us not forget, knowing how to use the actual programs. In order to do this
well, we are going to have to become specialists in certain areas and then share out our knowledge. For
instance, Hengstler (2011) refers to the BC government amending its provincial Freedom of Information
and Privacy Act in 2004, to prohibit public bodies in BC from contracting with companies that store
personal information outside of Canada, or allow access to that information from outside of Canada. If
the Minister of Education, or the Boards of our Education communities are not going to spend the
money to send someone around to educate teachers on this type of thing, then they are really just
saying it is not important to them. Teachers have so many pieces of information coming across their
desks every day that it cannot be assumed that they will just happen to read all new legislation that is
passed and jump on it. It is really a cryin shame that many teachers are going to learn about this after
the first court cases start crashing down on colleagues around them.

Tied closely to the idea of knowledge is the concept of skills and training. As Hengstler states in
her 2012 article Digital Professionalism & Digital Footprints, In order to safely navigate social
networking in your professionaland personal lifeyou must understand the concepts of digital
footprints and digital professionalism, the nature of social media , and social media use within your
Canadian employment context. In my opinion, these are not skills and information that you can just
pick up on a Friday afternoon Pro-D day. They are also not skills that simply come naturally to most
teachers. This is brand new territory and if our provincial leaders expect us to take this seriously we are
going to need some major help in disseminating this information.

Hengstler (2012) references several points in Stams 2012 article. The one that stands out to me
most is the one that talks about employees understanding, that when a person is considered an
employee in Canada, there is an implied contractual requirement for employee loyaltyespecially with
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regard to content considered business secrets (Stam, 2012). There are so many nuances in terms of
what content belongs to the teacher or the school and what rights employers have to employees
personal information. As much as we can try to relax and try not to become paranoid, it seems very
easy for a conscientious teacher to become confused and a little freaked out.

During this course we spent a great deal of time looking at policies and permission forms. The
most useful component of this for me was looking at the SD71 document Computer and Internet Access
Responsible Use Agreement. I have to admit that previously, even if I did read it through, I would not
have understood half of what it was saying. Having to read it with a purpose certainly changed my
perceptions of not only what is written, but how and why it was written. One example of this is in
Section 4 when it states that, I will not play games, instant-message, use social media, or access music
or videos at school, unless it is part of the curriculum and/or is authorized by a responsible adult. I now
understand the layers of complexity involved in this statement, including my knowledge of the individual
programs being used, as well as the creation of thorough permissions.

We could discuss perspectives in a variety of ways as they relate to this content. The most
obvious one for me would be in reference to the Thierer (2012) article on Technopanics. It was good for
myself, and I think many of my peers, to read his article at that point in our journey. We were starting
to become a little overwhelmed, and it was good to have someone put things in perspective.

The more personal, and frankly more interesting views on perspective came around the lunch
table at school. As there are a few other people currently studying the issues of policies and privacy, in
other Masters courses or on their own, it allowed for some heated discussions on what we should be
publishing, or not publishing on our school website and in our school blogs. In the end there will be
various amounts of information, pictoral and written that come out of our particular institution.

As Hengstler (2011) says in the closing of her article Managing your digital footprint: Ostriches
v. Eagles, onlinemuch like stepping outside your door each morningis rife with risk. This
statement encompasses several of the articles that we have read on everything from paranoia to
bullying. It reminds us that we cannot make an omelet if we dont break any eggs. She also talks about
Web 2.0 and social networking technologies having much to offer education, but only if educators and
students are able to, develop the knowledge, skill and good judgment to manage the risks involved.
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(p.41) The knowledge and skills I have no fear about teachers acquiring bit by bit, it is the good
judgment I worry about. I say this not because I doubt teachers abilities to make good decisions, but
simply because there are so many different views on what is appropriate for a particular age level. I
certainly see this as a prickly area, full of interesting discussions. I guess, in the end that that is what
learning is all about, and I am extremely excited to see what lies ahead.






























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References
Hengstler, J. (2011). Managing your digital footprint: Ostriches v. Eagles. In S. Hirtz & K. Kelly
(Eds.), Education for a Digital World 2.0 (2nd ed.) (Vol. 1, Part One: Emerging technologies and
practices). Open
School/Crown Publications: Queen's Printer for British Columbia,
Canada.http://www.viu.ca/education/faculty_publications/hengstler/EducationforDigitalWorld
2.0_1_jh89.pdf
Hengstler, J. (April 2012). "Digital professionalism and digital footprints". Document prepared for
training session with Vancouver Island University's Administrative Assistants, April 2012.Social
Media Digital Footprints 2013_v3.pdf
Hengstler, J. (2013). A K-12 primer for British Columbia teachers posting students' work online.
Blog post http://jhengstler.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/a-k-12-primer-for-british-columbia-
teachers-posting-students-work-online/
School district no. 71 (comox valley) student, parent and employee computer and internet access
responsible use agreement. (n.d.).
Retrieved from http://www.sd71.bc.ca/Responsible-Use-Agreement.pdf

Thierer, A. (2012) The six things that drive 'technopanics'. Forbes.com
http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamthierer/2012/03/04/the-six-things-that-drive-technopanics/