• Top Ten Social Media Competencies for Teachers

    Posted by Paul O'Briant at 8/1/2010 4:00:00 PM

     The Blue Skunk Blog written by Doug Johnson has an interesting post about the top ten social media competencies that teachers should have.  Here are a few of my favorites.   Please check out the Blue Skunk Blog here for the full list.

    • Help students use educational networking tools to solve information problems and communicate digitally with experts, peers and instructors.
    • Navigate, evaluate and create professional content on networking sites.
    • Understand the importance of identity and reputation management using social media and help students understand the long-term impact of personal information shared online.
    Comments (0)
  • The Web Doesn't Forget

    Posted by Paul O'Briant at 7/24/2010 2:30:00 PM

     A friend shared the article from the New York Times Magazine, The Web Means the End of Forgetting.   The author, Jeffrey Rosen, discusses the problem of pictures or messages coming back to haunt us later in life.  Whereas we have all had events occur in our lives that we don't want to advertise, if we post them online in a "private" space, or if others post them online, they can become public.  We know that when we post a picture on facebook, a tweet on Twitter, or a comment on a blog, we lose control of that content.  It can be downloaded, reposted in other places and taken out of context.  That is why it is so important to be very cognizant of what we post online.

    Comments (0)
  • Youth Safety on a Living Internet

    Posted by Paul O'Briant at 7/10/2010 12:00:00 PM

     Youth Safety on a Living Internet – Report of the Online Safety and Technology Working Group, was released last month.

    There are many recommendations in the report that resonated with me.  Below are a few.

    1. Avoid scare tactics.  Trying to scare our kids into doing the right thing is not an effective strategy.

    2. Digital citizenship in grades K-12 should be a national priority.

    3. There is no silver bullet fix.  Youth safety must be promoted through K-12 education AND parental awareness AND effective filtering and control software, etc…..

    I encourage you to take a look at the report and draw your own conclusions.

    Comments (0)
  • Teens and Cell Phones

    Posted by Paul O'Briant at 5/23/2010 4:00:00 PM

     The Pew Internet and American Life Project released an interesting report last month on Teens and Cell Phones.

    Here are a couple of stats that caught my eye.

    54% of teens were texting daily in September of last year and half of teens send more than 50 messages a day.

    I will say I'm not surprised.  For the past three months I've been filling in as interim principal for the JP Knapp Early College High School here in Currituck County.  The vast majority of students have cell phones and they know how to use them!  This has changed the whole landscape of investigating incidents that happen at school.  Twelve years ago when I was a high school principal it took at least a class period for news to circulate throughout the student body.  Now it is just seconds.  A student can leave my office, and before they get back to class, have texted groups of students with whatever the latest drama might be.  Not only that, now I don't have to call as many parents because the students text their parents and the parents call me before I get the chance to call.

    Gotta love cell phones!
    Comments (0)
  • Boys and Girls and Cyberbullying

    Posted by Paul O'Briant at 3/7/2010 7:00:00 PM


    Who do you think is more likely to be a victim or a perpetrator of cyberbullying, boys or girls?

    According to a recent news report, it is girls.

    “According to a study published on US Department of Health and Human Services’ website www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov, “girls were about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying…”

    The website linked above has great resources for working with kids on cyberbullying issues.

    Comments (0)
  • You Tube Safety Mode

    Posted by Paul O'Briant at 2/12/2010 3:00:00 PM

    You Tube has introduced a new Safety Mode that blocks access to violent or other objectionable content. View this video to learn how to opt in to safety mode and see how it works.

    Comments (0)
  • Kitchen Table Discussion on Internet Safety

    Posted by Paul O'Briant at 2/11/2010 5:00:00 PM

     This evening we hosted a Kitchen Table Discussion meeting on Internet and Cell Phone safety.  To view the presentation please click here.

    Comments (0)
  • Passwords - Best and worst practices

    Posted by Paul O'Briant at 1/31/2010 4:00:00 PM

     A report out in December of 2009 highlights the fact that many Internet users are still not choosing good passwords.  If the bad guys can guess your password they can cause all kinds of havoc.

    "In December 2009, a major password breach occurred that led to the release of 32 million passwords1. Further, the hacker posted to the Internet the full list of the 32 million passwords (with no other identifiable information)."

    Here is a list of the five most common passwords.

    1. 123456

    2. 12345

    3. 123456789

    4. password

    5. iloveyou

    We all know the challenge.  The tougher a password is for someone else to guess, the tougher it is for us to remember.  Here are a few tips for creating strong passwords.

    1. Use capital and lower case letter

    2. Use numbers and special symbols

    3. Make the password at least 8 characters long

    Here is a strategy that I have used to create a password that is hard to guess and easy to remember.  Think of a sentence and use the first letter from each word to form the password.  For example, "I love to read books and visit facebook", becomes the password Il2rb&vf.  That could be the password for facebook.  For ebay I could use "I love to read books and visit Ebay" or Il2rb&ve.  Get the picture?  You have a strong password, 8 characters, includes a capital letter, a number, and a special symbol.  This lets you have a unique password for each website and still have a pattern to help you remember.

    Comments (0)
Last Modified on August 1, 2010