Friday, June 14, 2013

Ain't Nobody Got Time For That!

Some people call me tech-savvy. Some call me digitally-connected. (No one calls me Maurice.)

But some make the mistake that I engage in technology for technology's sake. I don't. I can't. As the eminent 21st-century philosopher, Sweet Brown says, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

I do invest time in learning about technology, true. And not all technology I research will be useful to me, also true. But the technologies I consistently engage are those which bear some usefulness to me - aside from being cool gadgetry. (Even if sometimes the purpose is entertainment.)

For example, blogs like this one. I don't blog just to be blogging. I blog to record ideas for teaching or research to which I can return later. I blog to share ideas with my colleagues. I blog to provide resources for students' projects and assignments. In fact, the main audience for my blogging is me. I don't have the illusion that millions of people are waiting to see what I might write. (And if I had such and illusion, I could just look at the blogger stats and be disabused of such notions.) But if I DO become famous for my blog, then so be it.

So, let me share a few ways I use technology for my own benefit - and to share ideas with others. These are not all the tech tools I use, but a sample to show that your tech usage can actually be a time-saver rather than a time waster.

First, I use Delicious to archive all my bookmarks. I categorize my bookmarks with "tags" so I can retrieve internet resources easily for my own research, or to share with students or colleagues. For example, if my students ask where they can find "legal use" images for their presentations, I just send them a link to the Delicious Links I tagged "Images for Multimodal Composition" and voila! they have access to thousands upon thousands of copyright-free images! Do you have an unruly set of bookmarks? Try

Second, I use ScoopIt! to help me handle all the articles that I have read, and need to read again - or use in class or research. Someone recently asked me how I knew about a certain digital tool, and I said, "Well, I read a lot." And I try - but reading in my field can be overwhelming - so i use ScoopIt! to help me handle all the articles from magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. I save articles related to Digital technology in a "topic" category called "From Chalkboards to Smartphones." Then, all those articles are in one place for me when I want to return to them for research. Maybe this tool will be helpful to you as well.

Lastly, I let an "aggregation app" called Pulse organize my news for me so I can quickly skim articles so I can stay current in various topics (like news, tech, sports, travel, etc.) from selected publications (like the NY Times, Smithsonian , The Atlantic, ESPN, WIRED, CNET, Gizmodo, Boing boing, or the Food Network.)  And, because I have the app on my phone, I can skim the day's news while having a cup of coffee or eating lunch. Here's what my Pulse feed - for tech sources I selected - looks like on my desktop:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Resumes, Digital Footprints, and Ethos

Though it sounds preachy - it is  true that your resume (or c.v.) is NOT the document you meticulously design, craft, revise and format. In an increasingly "connected" digital world, your resume is the ethos you have established in every area of your life. (Ethos here refers to your credibility, your standing, your relationship with others, your reputation, etc.)

A recent article in Digital Trends, titled "People Still Don't Understand Their Online Lives Can Cost Them Their Real Jobs," discusses new research that reveals "one in 10 young people have been rejected from a job because of the content of their social media profiles."

The most surprising part of the article is not that people lose jobs because of their online behaviors, but rather that they are clueless that it is happening!

People have been getting fired for their activity on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for a while, but this report is noteworthy because it underlines how common it is to have negative real-life repercussions from fooling around on the Internet. You’d think that this widespread rejection would make young people more cautious when posting online, but the On Device study noted that two thirds of the respondents are not concerned that their social media will damage their careers. That means there’s some kind of disconnect happening between what people think is acceptable to employers online and what’s actually acceptable. -Digital Trends, June 3, 2013
from AVG Digital Diaries

When we consider that our c.v. - which stands for "the course of my life" - is just that: everything you write, say, do, etc., then it is clear that it would be a disservice to students to teach them proper formatting and grammar, and not to address the core issue of professionalism we call ethos! With every project, relationship, and deed, we write our c.v. - digitally, visually, relationally, figuratively and literally.

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. -Proverbs 22:1