Free webinar: Learning the 21st century way: Making sense of how to use social media for learning

August 16, 2012

Over the past decade social media has changed how individuals connect online and share information and how organizations interact with stakeholders and customers. Did you know that social media is now being incorporated into learning programs from Kindergarten right on up through adult education? Does it really add any value to the learning process?

In this one-hour webinar, I’ll share exactly how I incorporated social media (and in particular, Twitter) into one of my classes. I’ll share what worked, what didn’t and what you can do in your own teaching or training practice to effectively integrate social media ‐ and why you might want to.

By the end of the webinar you will:
• Have a basic understanding of how social media can add value to your learning programs
• Gain insight into how to incorporate social media into a lesson plan
• Get ideas on how to assess activities using social media
• Get ideas on how to incorporate social media into your own learning programs

There will be time for questions at the end of the webinar.

This free webinar is sponsored by Essential Skills Ontario. Here are the details:

Date: Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Time:

10:00 a.m. Pacific Time (Vancouver, BC)

11:00 a.m. Mountain Time (Calgary, AB)

1:00 p.m.  Eastern Time (Toronto, ON)

2:00 p.m. – Atlantic Time (Halifax, NS)

6:00 p.m. – British Summer Time (London U.K.)

7:00 p.m. – Eastern European Time (Cairo, Egypt)

It’s free for you to join in, but you must register, since there are only 100 spots available.  Click here to register.

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too


Literacy and Essential Skills: Why Digital Literacy is Crucial

December 6, 2011

The Guardian recently published an article called “No place in class for digital illiterates“. The article talks about how children who lack technology literacy skills are getting left behind. Writer Gavin Dudeney talks about changing definitions of literacy that now include “digital literacy”  or the ability to use the Internet and interact with digital texts.

As I was writing The Need For Increased Integration of Technology and Digital Skills in the Literacy Field in Canada I found research that suggests that Canada’s 9 Literacy and Essential Skills may be just the beginning. One of the 9 Essential Skills is “Computer Use”. Some researchers are suggesting that this term is too narrow. Today, it is not enough for a person to know how to turn on a computer, manipulate a mouse or use a track pad or write a resume on a word processing program. Digital skills are an important part of computer use.

People need to know how to search for everyday information such as bus schedules, tax information and other important information that is part of every day living. Job seekers need to know how to search for and apply for jobs posted on the Internet and submit their resume through an online application system. More and more job application sites require users to create an account and register with a company or a service. If adults do not know how to do these things, they will fall behind.

Children who do not know how to use touch screens or the Internet may find themselves disadvantaged later on, as they try to catch up with digitally savvy peers. There are some groups and individuals who are opposed to the increased use of technology in schools. Waldorf Schools, a system of private schools with an excellent reputation, reportedly does not use any technology in its elementary grades.

As an educator, I worry about such approaches. Clearly, it works for them because they are a hugely successful network of schools. But I openly confess that I have never worked with a Waldorf school, myself. I’d love to be invited to one to see how they teach and engage with their learners. As a bit of a “tech junkie”, I have to acknowledge my bias in favour of using more technology, rather than less. I worried whether children who do not learn how to use touch screens or the Internet in their school years may find themselves disadvantaged later on, as they try to catch up with digitally savvy peers?

Having said that, I do think it is important to incorporate technology in a meaningful way that shows why we are using it, what purpose it serves and ultimately, how it benefits the learner. It is critical to make these links so that we show how digital skills can help children develop cognitively and socially so that when they grow up, their lives as adults have meaning as they find work that makes them feel that they are making a meaningful contribution to their world. It is a world that we can only dream about right now. As an educator, I ask, how do we best prepare our learners for success in five, ten or twenty years’ time? And what will “literacy and essential skills” look like a decade from now?

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


Social Media Challenges in the Workplace – CIRA panel discussion

November 24, 2011
CIRA Dinner Calgary

(Left to Right) John Moreau, Tom Hesse, Sarah Eaton and Andy Robertson debating social media challenges in the workplace

Tonight I took place on a panel discussion in Calgary on the issue of social media challenges in Calgary. The dinner event was hosted by the Southern Alberta chapter of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA), and organized by Dr. Kelly Williams-Whitt, who is a professor of Labour Relations at the University of Lethbridge (Calgary Campus) and serves in a leadership role with CIRA.

My fellow panelists were:

  • Andy Robertson, Partner, Macleod Dixon LLP
  • Tom Hesse, United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW) 401
  • John Moreau, Arbitrator

Dr. Whitt presented us with three Canadian labour cases including:

  1. A female employed in the health care sector who posted photos of patients without their permission on her blog, discussing their conditions and making disparaging remarks about her fellow employees, her workplace and her bosses. (She was later dismissed from her job.)
  2. A male employee with documented mental health issues who blogged about his Neo-Nazi beliefs, his hatred of certain racial groups, the desecration of animal remains that he took part in, the anti-depressants he was on and other assorted topics. He mentioned the name of his employer in his blog. (He was suspended from work and then reinstated.)
  3. A male employee who circulated pornography to his co-workers and was later found to have over 3000 pornographic images and some porn videos in his work e-mail account. (He was suspended from work and then reinstated).

Each panelist gave commentary on the cases, based on their respective experience. My point of view was mainly “pro” social media. My main arguments were:

  • Most companies do not train their employees adequately on how to use social media effectively and responsibly.
  • Organizations need to make their expectations about online behaviour very clear to employees.
  • Everyone who engages in social media leaves a “digital footprint”. Employees and employers need to be aware of what this is and what it can mean over the long term.
  • Digital citizenship is in an important skills to learn in the 21st century.
  • Online reputation management is becoming more important for both employees and employers.

Here’s a clip of my commentary:

It was a lively and invigorating discussion that touched on topics such as personal freedoms, organizational control, common sense and personal responsibility. My fellow panelists were articulate, well-informed and thoughtful in their responses. Being neither a lawyer, nor a union voice, I was honoured to take part in the discussion.

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


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