3 Reasons you’ll find me on Facebook when I’ve called in sick

December 9, 2013

Recently I received an e-mail from a co-worker that basically said, “Sorry you missed the meeting because you were not feeling well. I see from your Facebook page that you were not too sick to be using social media.”

While the Internet is rife with news articles and cases about people who post photos of themselves partying after having called in sick, there is a counter-side to this argument that employers, colleagues and others might take into consideration:

Status updates can be scheduled.

Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people use services such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck to pre-schedule status updates, Tweets and so forth. Often the update will be posted with a note such as “via Hootsuite”. The savvy reader will look to see if an update was posted using an automated service.

Earlier this year, I found myself in hospital for a few days, suddenly and without warning. All the while, my Facebook status and Tweets were auto-updating. No one but a few family members and close friends knew I was hooked up to an IV line in a Calgary hospital.

Social media is a mindless activity.

When I’m home sick (legitimately), I sleep, watch TV and yes, I sometimes go to my computer. In today’s digital world, that seems pretty normal, no? You’ll notice that reading wasn’t even on that list. Why? Because for me, social media takes less mental energy than reading a book. That is probably because the kind of books I read tend to have a hefty dose of educational leadership or management theory in them. Reading means I have to turn my brain on. Social media lets me unplug my brain for a while. Clicking “Like” can hardly be correlated to reading (much less writing) a strategic plan, in terms of intellectual activity.

Engaging in social media activities certainly takes less concentration and mental acuity than doing my work. My professional activity usually means my brain is in overdrive, solving problems and processing complex information, including academic, policy and research materials. Saying, “Thanks for the ReTweet” does not.

Social media helps us to feel connected.

Much of my work is online. I teach using e-learning technologies. I consult virtually. I conduct research mostly online. I can go for a week without seeing anyone outside my home.

Let’s face it, when you are sick and feeling miserable, loneliness and feelings of isolation can set in more quickly than most of us would like to admit. Signing in to Facebook or Twitter allows you to connect virtually with friends, family and others you care about — and who care about you. Loneliness subsides and feelings of being disconnected from the outside world diminish. You might even see something that makes you laugh.

Not all employees or colleagues who engage in online activities while taking a sick day are fraudulent, lazy or lying. There is a phenomenon in human resources known as “absence management” that aims to measure and track absenteeism. In some organizations, monitoring employees’ social media channels is increasingly being seen as a valid and reliable manner of assessing genuine illness. Personally, I think it’s hogwash; that is, if the person’s job involves them needing to use critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities or higher levels of cognition. (Wait, isn’t that most jobs in the 21st century?)

When I work, I go full tilt. I usually have three or more projects on the go at any given time, working with clients in at least two different sites and possibly different countries. I’m consulting, teaching, researching, strategizing, writing or speaking. But when I get sick, I pretty much hit a full stop. I hate downtime and even more, I hate not being there for my students or clients.

There will always be employees who try to abuse the goodwill of their employers, but as we move more and more into the digital world, we still need to put caring for one another as human beings first.

When you see some one online engaging in social media activities when they have called in sick, take a deep breath before assuming they are simply skipping out of work, shirking their commitments or otherwise “crying wolf”. You might even offer a supportive comment, ask if there is anything they need or just say hello and let them know that you are thinking about them.

Consider this: Being hooked up to an IV doesn’t prevent you from hitting the “Like” button on your iPad.

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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Twitter for Teachers at the Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention (CATCA) 2013

February 22, 2013

Twitter for Teachers (cover - jpg)I am super excited to be presenting my workshop, Twitter for Teachers, today at the Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention at Red Deer College.

Here’s what I’ll be sharing:

  1. Twitter overview. We will briefly review what Twitter is and how it is used in business. This course is designed for people who already have had some exposure to Twitter and want to learn how to use Twitter in a meaningful and strategic way. There is no point in having a Twitter account “just because”.
  2. Develop your personal Twitter strategy. You will learn how to develop your own personal vision about what Twitter means to you and why.
  3. Twitter time management. You will learn how to manage your time on Twitter effectively. There is no question that social media can be time consuming. In this session, we will talk about ways to minimize the time you spend on Twitter,  while still using it to its fullest potential.
  4. Twitter followers.  We will bust the myth that you need more followers. What you really need is more engaged followers. You will learn what it means to have an engaged following and how to develop one.

If you can’t attend the conference, but you are interested in the content, you can download my free .pdf guide with step-by-step, “how to” instructions. Click here to get your copy of the guide.

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If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or leave a comment. Thanks!

Share or Tweet this: Twitter for Teachers at the Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention (CATCA) 2013 http://wp.me/pNAh3-1yM

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.


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


Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week(s) (Feb. 23 to March 4, 2012)

March 5, 2012

I am behind with posting some of my favorite resources. Here are my favorite resources of the past couple of weeks, curated from my Twitter account.

Ed tech resources

Technology tools for Education Majors – Prezi

18 Free Screencasting tools to Create Video Tutorials – Web Design Blog

Seriously good resources for Screencasting – Timo Ilomäki ‘s Library

How to Build Rapport With Online Teachers – by Jennifer Williamson

Fluidsurveys – Online survey tool

7 Resources for Teaching and Learning Anatomy & Physiology – from FreeTech4Teachers

7 Strategies to Make Your Online Teaching Better – Inside Higher Ed

Literacy and languages resources

Teacher resources – Noodle Tools

The Best Apps for Learning a Foreign Language – Mobiles Please Blog

The 100 ‘Greatest Books for Kids’ – USA Today

Spark Enthusiasm – Movie and video resources for teaching Spanish

Livres audio gratuits à écouter et télécharger – Free audio books for teaching French – http://www.litteratureaudio.com/

English as a second / additional language (EAL) and related resources

Canadian Newcomer Magazine – Lots of resources and info for New Canadians

Understanding Different English Accents – Daily English Activities Blog

General education resources

40 Alternative Assessments for Learning – by Charity Preston

Differentiated Instruction – Teachers Offer Help and Resources – Teachers.net

30 Online Multimedia Resources for PBL and Flipped Classrooms – 21 Century Ed Tech

Social media resources

TweetChat – An easy way to follow Twitter chats

Related posts:

Dr. Sarah’s favorite news of the week (Feb. 6-12 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 30 – Feb. 5, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 23-29, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 16-22, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 9-15, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 2-8, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 18-24, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 11-17, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 4-10, 2011)

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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.


French pre-schoolers learn literacy skills with Twitter

February 21, 2012

Sarah Eaton literacy keynote education educational speaker presenter A new project in France has captured international attention. A kindergarten class in Talence, a town near Bordeaux in southwest France is using Twitter to build literacy and language skills. The Vancouver Sun reports:

“The children’s teacher came up with the idea as a way to teach them to recognize the alphabet in different formats – cursive, keyboard, screen – and to learn to transition from the oral to written word.

Each day the process is the same: the children propose topics, discuss them under the teacher’s guidance and vote on a winner.”

The children’s teacher, , Philippe Guillem, says

… that the goal was not just to teach the children but to educate the parents as well.

“They have to consider how this will play out when their children are 12 years old and using the tools of the future.”

The children use a group address: https://twitter.com/#!/camusmat04

The Tweets are protected, which means that you need to send a request to follow them. If you are approved, you will be able to see the Tweets.

This is a stellar example of how to engage children with 21st century technology for learning purposes. I hope we see more innovative uses of technology and social media to get today’s children engaged in learning.

Read the original article.

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Share or Tweet this post: French pre-schoolers learn literacy skills with Twitter http://wp.me/pNAh3-1gw

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.


Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Feb. 6-12, 2012)

February 13, 2012

This past week, I was inundated with so many great articles and resources that to help you avoid getting overwhelmed, I’m dividing up my favorites of the past week into two posts: news and resources.

Here are my favorite resources of the week, curated from my Twitter account.

Ed tech resources

6 Sites to get kids excited about Google Maps – Fractus Learning

An app to create lesson plans – Tech & Learning

Web 2.0 Tools: Tools and Teacher Resources – 2Learn.ca

The Best Education Apps at FETC – by Stephen Noonoo, the Journal

Project-Based Learning for Digital Citizens – by Andrew Marcinek

Top 10 Free Online Tutoring Tools for 2012 – Edudemic

Literacy and languages resources

5 Keys to Snagging Reluctant Readers – Shelf Consumed

Open Source Language Education Resources – Yazik

ESL Literacy – Learning from Research: A Review of the Literature – Bow Valley College

General education resources

20 Must-Have Educational Resources For All Teachers – Edudemic

Social media resources

10 Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy for Your Business – by Jennifer Amanda Jones, Social Media Examiner

General resources that I thought were cool and useful

Starting and Managing a Small Business – Business Victoria (Note: Lots of great resources here for non-profits, too).

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and Study Yourself Failing – by Joshua Foer

Pretty Good – poem by Charles Osgood

Related posts:

Dr. Sarah’s favorite news of the week (Feb. 6-12 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 30 – Feb. 5, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 23-29, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 16-22, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 9-15, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 2-8, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 18-24, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 11-17, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 4-10, 2011)

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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.


Dr. Sarah’s favorite news of the week (Feb. 6-12, 2012)

February 13, 2012

Sarah Eaton speaker education literacy keynote social media This past week, there were so many great articles and resources that came past my desk that I was almost overwhelmed. To help you avoid getting overwhelmed, I’m dividing up my favorites of the past week into two posts: news and resources.

Here are my favorite news stories of the week, curated from my Twitter account.

Social media news

German police use Facebook pictures to nab crooks – by Alice Baghdjian, Reuters

Employers, workers navigate pitfalls of social media – My Joy Online

Study: Why Do People Use Facebook? – ReadWriteWeb

Texting, social media prove problematic for teachers across the country – Laura Graff

What Schools are Really Blocking When They Block Social Media – by S. Craig Watkins

Literacy news

Caution: Not Embracing ‘Continuous Learning’ has become an Occupational Hazard – QELA

Newfoundland group wants literacy plan from the province – The Telegram

Wilsonville launches early childhood literacy program, putting free books in the hands of preschoolers– by Rachel Stark, The Oregonian

Language learning news

Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Sort Out Language – by Perri Klass, New York Times

Bilingual children gain better focus, literacy skills: York U study – Exchange magazine

Schools join forces to rescue languages – by Amanda Dunn, The Age

Finer points lost in Google translation – by Mark Abley, Montreal Gazette

Education news

The Future of Work for High School Grads – by Jordan Weissmann, The Atlantic

Why Pay for Intro Textbooks? Rice University Announces Open Source Textbooks – by Mitch Smith, Inside Higher Ed

Teacher retention a growing Alberta problem – by Jeremy Nolais, Metro

Technology news

How Computer Games Help Children Learn – MindShift

Study: U.S. gaming population has nearly tripled in three years – by Stephanie Fogel, GamesBeat

General interest

Speaking Up Is Hard to Do: Researchers Explain Why – by Elizabeth Bernstein, Wall Street Journal

Labour shortage becoming ‘desperate’ – by Barrie McKenna, Globe and Mail

Want People to Return Your Emails? Avoid These Words  – Mashable

The Business Savvy Behind Nonprofit Success – by David LePage, Canadian Centre for Nonprofit Renewal

Related posts:

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 30 – Feb. 5, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 23-29, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 16-22, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 9-15, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 2-8, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 18-24, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 11-17, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 4-10, 2011)

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Share this post: Dr. Sarah’s favorite news of the week (Feb. 6-12, 2012) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1ev

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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