Crowdsourcing to retain language

Looking back at my previous post Apps To Retain Language another way people are attempting to retain their language is via crowdsourcing. Live and Tell is a language website which allows anyone to contribute translations and stories to save and learn languages such as Navajo. As brilliant as that initiative is some people such as Maurice Claypole make the accurate observation that errors and inaccuracies can be made and thus learnt and repeated – that is not successful learning. Claypole argues only when professionals donate their time to help with such crowdsourcing as translations, will inaccuracies be reduced. Then again time is precious; so how many professionals can afford to give up this valuable commodity?

Facebook Page Crowdsourcing in Education
Live and Tell
Guardian Article
Liberate Media


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Crowdsourcing in the classroom

Could crowdsourcing be used within the classroom for marking assignments? One professor at Duke University teaching a “This Is Your Brain On The Internet” class, tried this method in 2009 allowing students to evaluate class assignments, where crowdsourcing was used to grade each other. Professor Cathy N. Davidson tested this assessment approach via dividing fifteen students into rotating teams of two and assigned them to teach each class/come up with assignments by using a list of sources she provided. The same students were then to read and grade each assignment. Much criticism was written on Professor Davidson’s blog about her “experiment” yet she continued to defend it saying; “Education is way behind just about everything else in dealing with these [media and technology] changes. It’s important to teach students how to be responsible contributors to evaluations and assessment. Students are contributing and assessing each other on the Internet anyway, so why not make that a part of learning?” There wasn’t much of an update or final evaluation of the “experiment” however, I do believe Professor Davidson may have been correct in introducing this scheme in the classroom. The question is will this become a sign of the future? If the use of crowdsourcing assessments and grading in the classroom increases strict rules should apply to achieve “fair” marking. All in all though, a great and innovative idea.

Hastac Blog
Article on Crowdsourcing Grade
Facebook page on Crowdsourcing In Education
Crowdsourcing image

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This week I will be discussing crowdsourcing within online and offline education. I thought it would be nice to start out with a video explaning what crowdsourcing actually is. Enjoy!



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Social Media and Teachers Privacy

Due to the nature of my previous posts this week I thought it would interesting to discuss the notion of teachers who use social media sites and the catastrophic consequences when their private posts are not so private after all! The rise of Facebook is undeniable and according to one in every 13 people on earth is on Facebook, this is a phenomenal number and with a selection of privacy settings it is easy to believe you could post anything in the safety of your own little Facebook “family”. But, as this post will highlight nothing posted on the internet will ever truely be private. Certain professionals should be careful about what they write or share on social media sites – especially teachers. June Talvitie-Siple a high school teacher from Massachusetts believing her Facebook posts were private made the detrimental decision to post her views about her students on her Facebook page – ranting that they were “germ bags” and parents “arrogant” and “snobby” the teacher was reported and forced to resign. EDIT: After posting this I was contacted by June Talvitie Siple who said my interpretation of her comments on Facebook were false. I then gave June Siple an opportunity to get her story across; this is what she said (completely unedited)

What you wrote was two snippets or quotes taken out of entire sentences and then placing then in an entirely different context. I have never revealed the full story and may not ever. But even without the full story what I wrote in my comments on your blog still stand. I did not refer to my students in an intentional derogatory manner. I simply joke about I was constantly sick due to continued exposure to my students. I jokingly referred to them as germ bags. We are all germ bags in the literal sense. We all carry germs around and share them with each other. I lamented that I had been sick for 6 weeks with three different infections, including pink eye. I was on my third antibiotic and eye salves. Would it have been more PC to refer to my students a disease vectors? Saying that I called my students germ bags out of context was and is so damaging to me in so many ways, but that is exactly what certain individuals in the community and teachers union wanted to do to discredit me.

And yes I referred to the community as arrogant and snobby, and I have not apologized. I regret that in a fit of extreme anger and frustration with a few that I referred to an entire community as having these nasty attributes. However, we all make comprehensive comments in situations like this. When was the last time you said to someone, “You always…” when you know that no one always does anything. We over generalize without qualification.

I had my privacy settings on FB set so that only my friends and family could see my comments before Dec 2009 when FB changed their privacy policies, and arrogantly and rudely reverted everyone’s settings to viewable by everyone. I know this because my students had tried to get into my account and joked in one of my classes that it was “shut down.”. I never noticed the change by FB. Politics in the school district was so thick you could cut the tension with a knife. I was more than a teacher. I was an administrator 60% and a teacher 40% of the time. I was not a member if the union and my position was opposed by the union. It was my first year in the district and I walked into a hornet’s nest without warning. I was hated the minute I stepped on campus and the union executive council went out of their way to discredit me every day during the entire year. They solicited parents to help by feeding lies to them. Did it ever occur to anyone what those parents were doing snooping the Internet to find anything to ruin my credibility? Yes, I made a mistake saying anything of any substance on the Internet. Yes, I made the mistake of trusting FB privacy, but why would anyone care what I wrote in FB unless they were looking for trouble?

The story here is far more complicated than anyone has reported because I have tried to accept my mistakes without taking down anyone else in the administration or my students’ parents. But the reality is I lost more than my job. I lost my career, my livelihood, my self-esteem, and much, much more. All over two comments taken out of context.

Perhaps a detrimental mistake, the same could not be said for Christine Rubino a Brooklyn teacher who thought she was safe to vent her anger behind a private Facebook page. Following the death of a 12 year old girl who drowned during a class trip to the beach Christine ranted “After today, I’m thinking the beach is a good trip for my class. I hate their guts” a fellow teacher and Facebook “friend” saw the post and reported it – Rubino was later suspended. A question of privacy comes into play after all Rubino’s page was meant only for her friends, but to post such hurtful and insensitive comments from a person who is suppose to be an intellect and role model is, in my opinion unacceptable. So, still think your Facebook posts are private?

Click here to read more stories about disgraced teachers using Facebook.

Jeff Bullas
New York Post
ABC News

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Online Learning and Privacy

Its never too late to learn and with the ever increasing presence of online learning courses and unpredictable recession more and more adults are turning to the internet to learn a skill and/or advance their cv. Looking at my previous post – Online Learning Infographic – the results for a demand in online courses are evident with institutes reporting a 73% increase in applications for online learning courses. The Open University is one such online source offering a myriad of courses ranging from Arts and Humanities to Social Sciences; it has something to appeal to almost anyone. Providing options to study in a postgraduate program, towards a degree or an introductory module and with over 22,000 students in the postgraduate program alone – The Open University is incredibly popular.

I spoke to Nikki – who is studying Spanish and French with The Open University – about her experiences with the online learning service which she referred to as “sometimes DIY”. Nikki continued to reveal that the Open University were very flexible with assignments and tutor’s are helpful via providing appropriate feedback. Moving on I wanted to discuss the notion of privacy; the Open University stores highly personal details of each student such as their date of birth, address, even income and bank details. I asked Nikki if she had any concerns of her private details being stored on the Open University’s database “not really, just type your name into google – 15 seconds of fame!” was Nikki’s reply. This relaxed attitude is very common. But, when it comes to your privacy and identity is there cause for concern when enrolling with an online learning source? It is noteworthy to explain in regards of privacy this article will refer to the storing and retaining of personal details on a website database. After all, there are some very easy ways to steal one’s identity. Professor and software developer Herbert H. Thompson conducted an experiment in 2008 to see how easy it was to steal one’s identity – the results were shocking. The average internet user is (in my opinion) completely unaware of how little privacy they really get when they put any information on the internet. As is evident from Herbert H. Thompson’s article, all you need is a few details about a person to access their bank account. In the words of Steve Rambam private investigator specialising in internet privacy “privacy is dead – get over it”. As petrifying as this is, I doubt there will be a decrease in people enrolling for online courses, however, I wonder if an increase in identity theft and loss of privacy will result in this? Only time will tell………

New York Times
Privacy Issues Online PDF File
Open University
Digital Fingerprint

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Online Learning Infographic

This week I will be discussing online learning and privacy issues, but to start the topic I’ve included an infographic with some brilliant facts and figure about the increasing use of online learning courses.

Socrato Blog

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Apps To Retain Language

A special iPod and iPad app has been created for the language of Senconten (from the Salish language family). Used as audio dictionaries, they come with a definition and an audio example of each word accompanied by a picture of video for the word. Creating this application is a fantastic idea and will allow the Salish language to thrive and continue via the wonderful world of digital media. Working with the younger generation (who very often identify themselves as avid mobile users) via these apps will no doubt prove a success and with (according to research by Nevada University) 85.5% of young people in education owning a mobile, the creation of this app will no doubt prove successful – best of all its free!

Salish mobile app
Mobile statistics

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