Twitter Commandments

I went to see the wonderful work that our VCE arts students have created this year in our end-of-year exhibition and ended up talking about Twitter with one of our IT guys at school. We were discussing a number of ideas and in particular why so many people who should know better get caught out by thinking that they are somehow having private conversations when they tweet. I went back to my office and found that Joyce Valenza has scooped up this image from Flickr. I had to download it and will use it as a poster with some classes in the next few weeks. There have been other lists that talk about “The 10 commandments” but I like this one. The authors are not dogmatic and but suggest that the Twittersphere should be about respect, tolerance and freedom.

In case you want to know what they are:
  1. Thou shalt not patronize others
  2. Thou shalt not debate sectarians
  3. Thou shalt respect the freedom pf speech
  4. Thou shalt not applaud sexist, racist,homophobic and other discriminatory statements
  5. Thou shalt not demand answers to your queries
  6. Thou shalt not demand RTs
  7. Thou shalt not judge others’ Twitter style
  8. Thou shalt not copy other people’s contents
  9. Thou shalt not spam
  10. Thou shalt not spread rumours

Some new visual guides for using Twitter

I am amazed at how many of me colleagues still don’t understand Twitter and how it can be used to assist with student learning as well as form part of their own professional learning toolkit.

Lately I have had to explain, in a few forums, why I use twitter myself. I don’t know how I would not use it. My Tweetdeck is always running and I have certain people I follow closely as well a number of hashtags I also follow. I have also found it invaluable in following conferences. If I can’t be there, then at least I can keep up with some of the discussions that are happening. I have been tweeted a lot of great quotes and links over the past few years.

Toady I found 3 more useful Twitter resources. The first two of these are from the wonderful by Sylvia Rosenthal Tolesano (@Langwitches) explaining how Twitter can be useful in helping students learn and gain skills .

The first is an image from a great series of hers  It’s NOT about the Tools. It’s About the Skills and is called simply “Twitter in the Classroom”

The second is a series of images that show how to approach using the social media tool, Twitter in k-8 classrooms. These would be great to have up around a classroom. They explain the essentials of ‘ educational tweeting’ in a very visually pleasing, clearly set out and simply portrayed way. I have embedded the guide below for you to have a look at.

The third reference to Twitter today was a post entitled The complete guide to Twitter’s language and acronyms. How the list could be the “complete” guide may questionable but it was a good attempt to explain how users have tried to fit in as much information as they could into 140 characters.

Useful sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Choosing privacy in a digital world

Recently in the US there was the first-ever Choose Privacy Week.  The focus of the week was to inform Americans about their rights to privacy in a digital age. With Facebook recently in the news because of privacy concerns it was a timely campaign. Below is an interesting video made by American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. Although though it has been created with an American context (with the US consitution making a number of things different from the Australian situation) it still offers a powerful message.
It is also interesting to think that we have come to the situation where the concept of keeping at least some things private is something we have to teach, promote and remind people to think about. 

Why would you not choose to keep some things private?  Many people who live online, myself included, can tend to forget just how much of our personal information is very obtainable (by everyone) and how much more can be gleaned and put together the unscrupulous. Considering I blog, am a member of numerous ning and wiki communities and other social and collaborative networks, I have put a fair chunk of my life online. This video certainly should have an impact on the way people think about their online selves. 

In a previous post I wrote about my take as a teacher of young  people. I regard it as part of my duty to help our students understand that privacy is not really part of the on-line world. Everyone must be responsible about their digital identities. So many of the tools on the web today are intuitive in that they take your past history and try to link it to your current search/request. 

There are still three basic aspects about privacy and cyber-safety that I regard as important to discuss with students about their digital profiles.  These are:

  • Always read the terms and conditions you are agreeing to when you are signing up for something, be it Myspace, Facebook, Glogster, Flickr or anything else.
  • Value your personal information. Most social networks really only require the bare minimum for registration. Everything else beyond that is purely voluntary and always be aware of what could be used in the future.
  • Do not ever share anything that you don’t want others to know about yourself. Do not think that because you only invite some people to something that others will not ever be able to access the information or that in the future some “friends” may turn out not to be so friendly. (This very sentiment is re-iterated by the well-known people in the video)

The technologies today offer all of us many wonderful opportunities. We can make the most of them by being “good” or proficient users and by making sure we understand the strengths and the limitations of these tools. 

Vodpod videos no longer available.




more about “Choose Privacy Week Video“, posted with vodpod


Mashpedia – more real-time information plus…

So many ideas for taking what is out there in cyberspace and mashing them together to create something new. Mashpedia is not a search engine, nor is it wikipedia but something completely new. I found this tool thanks to a post on the excellent Free Technology for Teachers Blog.

Mashpedia aggregates data from multiple feeds from sources such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Digg, Twitter, news sources, blogs, book search engines and web pages in general and then puts it all neatly together in one spot. The layout is quite clean and easy to scan through and/or read more closely. I would love to shift some of the different fields/modules around to suit my idea f importance but this is a minor matter.

The tool works best when you can clearly define what you’re looking for. This is a skill I am trying to teach our students and this tool may help me illustrate my point.

I searched for Jessica Watson and found a great deal of information. There was a lead article that provided a basic data about her, along with the most relevant videos available, a stream of current Twitter messages, latest news, images, blog posts and links.

Search Grand prix gives you a definition and you are informed it could be connected to 12 different items and then goes on to list 4 other headings with more listings under them. Assorted images and videos come up that indicated that this is a search that needs to be more specific.

A search on Iceland retrieved images from the recent stunning volcanic explosion, along with Twitter chatter that indicate renewed concern, a Wikipedia entry, various news items and blog posts. Mashpedia also offers semantic connections between the articles, in form of links.

When working with students on current issues I have been using Silobreaker (discussed in an earlier post) and IceRocket (earlier post) for real-time information but I can see that Mashpedia with it extra information also offers students and teachers an extra dimension to their search for information.

I also tried the World War II search suggested on the Free technology 4 teachers blog. Mashpedia did well at collating the more constant (and evergreen) material along with the newest additions to information on the Web. This type of search would help students find the many varied types information now available to them via the web and see the thumbnails to decide whether or not it might be useful for them.

Worth noting is that there has been a comment about some less than appropriate ads that pop up on some of the results pages but, due to our school filter, I have not seen them so this is not an issue here.

Useful sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


I have been playing around with a new Twitter tool (TwitterGadget) thanks to a post by pdonaghy 

Before the first term ended I was trying to explain to some 1st year teachers how they, or teachers in general, might best use Twitter to develop a PLN for their own professional development. I explained about how I used TweetDeck to manage tweets.

I tried this in my iGoogle page and it works well. I have had a hiccup in my gmail version but will work on it some more. It has numerous other options as well.

TwitterGadget is a clean, robust, web 2.0 style client for, designed to submit and view status updates via your iGoogle homepage, Gmail account, within Google Wave, or directly in your browser

 TwitterGadget seems to be another excellent Twitter tool. It lets you do  everything Twitter related and I like the fact it is tidy so allows you to use it along with other tools, and they can all in the one place.

Check out the YouTube video for more information on how to use this gadget. …And while I am on the topic of Twitter this post How to bookmark Twitter links on the blog by Tom Barrett explains about another tool ( that lets you automatically saves links from Twitter to Delicious thus saving links from Twitter becomes a less time consuming task.