Who Are You?

Who's behind the mask?

Image source: Behind the Mask by Chris Martin Sudios, CC BY 2.0

I recently read an article on the CTV website about a study that shows strong correlations between liking something on Facebook and a myriad of personal demographic information including racial identity and political affiliation. Google personalizes results so that we are liable to get caught in our own filter bubble. Our engagement in social media and social networks helps us define our identity, but it also shapes our identity. When you do a search about yourself in Google, the results you find are who you are, or at least dimensions of who you are. The danger of identity in the online world is that it is difficult to authentically and honestly represent yourself. On the flip side, it is challenging to get the complete picture of who a person is. Yet we feel that we know someone after having interacted with him online. However, the snapshots that we get when we interact with someone online or learn about them through search are just that, snapshots. If you engage in the online world, recognize the challenge that you have to represent yourself. Get out of your close knit, comfortable space sometimes to allow other dimensions of your personality to show. Acknowledge the difficulties of getting to know someone online. Be careful not to fill in details from your own imaginations/expectations.

Developing Research Skills


Puzzled by andy.brandon50

Do you ever give research projects in your class?
Do you use Google for research?

It is important that we (educators) model good research skills and teach students key research skills, including:

  • creating good queries
  • boolean search
  • complex searches
  • search tools
  • advanced search
  • copyright and usage rights
  • evaluation of information
  • triangulation (multiple sources)
  • creative commons

Please visit http://www.powersearchingwithgoogle.com/course/ps/course.html for a self-paced course from Google. Even if you don’t want to do the course, there are a number of videos that may be helpful for you or for your students. I’m currently taking an Advanced Google course and although I consider myself advanced in searching with Google, I’m learning lots through the course.

Short excerpt: If you do nothing else, look through the quick reference guide, post it in your class, share it with students – http://www.powersearchingwithgoogle.com/course/ps/assets/PowerSearchingQuickReference.pdf.

An (Almost) New Year

A New Year Began (about a month ago)

I started off my post secondary education in Pure Math but was pulled into the world of computers. I’m passionate about the potential of technology, the way it impacts society on all levels, the way society motivates technological change, and the negotiations that occur between society and technology. In 1959, McLuhan said “In the electronic age, we are threatened by new fast-moving and flexible media – while we sit in a Maginot Line convinced of the importance of our position” (McLuhan). This quotation is still valid over 50 years later because technology in the electronic age continues to evolve, and introduces threats to traditional ways of operation. Children in this age are growing up with a different mindset, a different skill set than what we may be used to.

iPads, Web 2.0, computers, mobile phones and other devices provide opportunities for collaboration, creation, and communication in ways that I couldn’t conceive of when I was a child. This points to the need for adaptation on the part of adults to understand this constantly evolving technology, discussions between adults and children to develop shared understanding and agreements on responsible uses of technology, and a reframing of work, school and play to effectively incorporate many of the tools and technologies that students take for granted.

The partnership between home, school and child is a very important one. I look forward to discussions with all parties this year, and opportunities for all of us to develop our skills of technology use and our understanding of technology as the year progresses. I’ve recently been in touch with the PTA about providing a tech session for parents. The year’s off to a brisk start …


Links to Explore

– Reviews and suggestions of ipad apps http://momswithapps.com

– 10 iconic Steve Jobs moments http://mashable.com/2011/08/24/10-iconic-steve–jobs-videos/

– A search engine that organizes results by usability level http://twurdy.com



McLuhan, Stephanie. “Understanding Me.” Globe and Mail [Toronto] 10 Oct. 2003. Web. 25 Aug. 2011.