Are you clickable?

Are you clickable?” – We were reminded by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach at a recent talk she gave at our school. She is referring to the fact that many employers will “Google” potential employees and so teachers today should be making students aware of this and showing them how to create positive online information about themselves.

Sheryl’s presentation was about 21st Century Learning; something she is passionate about and trying to spread the word to the world. She encourages collaborative efforts towards this end. She encourages us all to become familiar with these online tools so that we can be proficient and knowledgeable in the 21st Century because “you can’t give away what you don’t own.”

Step 1 is “lurking”. Just log onto the web 2.0 sites and start reading and watching so that you get a feel for what’s going on. I think “lurking” is an unkind term for what is really personal investigation and self-education.

Step 2 is where you realise you have things to say and you find your own voice. This can be daunting especially for those of us who are reserved, and who perhaps like to give due consideration to our train of thought before we bleat it to the world.

Step 3 is connecting with others online and this too can be a challenge. Each group tends to have their own language according to their field of interest and for those not quite involved it can feel exclusive: like a clique. It really depends how much you wish to immerse yourself in that group.

I enjoyed hearing Sheryl speak but I felt my eyes begin to glaze over when she described how she set up virtual food for guests she had invited into her Second Life room to watch the Superbowl together. I could feel myself looking for the door but fortunately she did not dwell too much on this topic and moved forward. I agree with her in that Second Life does have a place in education but I wonder if that level of immersion in the virtual world is necessary or even wise.

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