Powerful keynote on why/how/what schools need to do with social media

I just watched this excellent keynote by Ben Jones (his M.I.T. admissions blogs got NY Times attention) talking about how Oberlin (where he is now) uses social media for admissions purposes. It's an incredible testimony on how this can be done really well, and I might argue must be done.

This comes on the heels of a wonderful meeting I had at school with my admissions, development, archives, business, marketing, communications and other team members discussing our social media strategy. Tomorrow I meet with our academic leadership from the head of school to the lower school head to the academic dean. The conversations have been wonderful and we've been grappling with what the right use is for us.

Watch this video to see an articulate, clear presentation on the possibilities:


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Is there really any privacy online? Even when "anonymous," like formspring or Chat Routlette?

How do I delete/disable my account?

Ryan Dec 30, 2009

You can disable your account by going to Settings > Disable Account and clicking on "Yes, Disable my Account". You can restore your account later if you choose.

All traces of your profile page and questions users have asked you will disappear.  Questions you have asked others will still appear, as there is no way to ever delete a question you have asked another user.  Only that user can delete it.

I was reading How Privacy Vanishes Online in the New York Times which shows how computer systems can now analyze even seemingly anonymous data to get quite an accurate idea of who you are when a parent of a student asked how she could delete her daughter's formspring account. If you work in a school and haven't heard of formspring, you will soon, so get ready. Anyway, I looked up the answer to her question and came upon the FAQ response above. Wow, what a great lesson for students to read: "Questions you have asked others will still appear, as there is no way to ever delete a question you have asked another user." There is real confusion over what "anonymous" means online, and what "delete" means. For all intents and purposes, I'd argue that neither are a realistic option when online, so consider that the next time you're pressing 'send' or 'post.'

Also given to me recently was the news that there is a new mashup out there mapping Chat Roulette ("anonymous" video chatting) users. It's pretty scary that now your image and your location can be mapped for the world to find you. More on this at Mashable. Here's a previous post of mine on Chat Roulette, for context.

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THATCamp 2010: the humanities and technology camp

THATCamp is a humanities and technology "unconference" at George Mason University near Washington, DC. It seems like a great opportunity to involve history and English teachers in. The applications, however, are due today, March 15, 2010. Even if you can't make this year's conference, keep it on your calendar for next year.

On a side note, have any of you attended before? Do you recommend it?

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Wide Web of diversions gets laptops evicted from lecture halls

Wide Web of diversions gets laptops evicted from lecture halls

In an unsurprising article an old media institution which is slowly withering away (the newspaper) discusses how a law school has to ban laptops in their classrooms because students aren't listening to the lectures.

"This is like putting on every student's desk, when you walk into class, five different magazines, several television shows, some shopping opportunities and a phone, and saying, 'Look, if your mind wanders, feel free to pick any of these up and go with it,' " [Professor] Cole said."

I can't see how this is any different than these future-lawyers desks are going to be. They'll be in their offices, having to do work, with a computer, Internet access, cell phones, desk phones, e-mail, instant messenger, Skype, etc, all available for their perusal.

Shouldn't law schools being teaching future lawyers how to minimize distraction, use modern tools to be better lawyers (like writing a collaborative brief via Google Docs), and embrace what modern technology has done for the legal field? Or perhaps the bigger problem is the modern legal field isn't moving to take advantage of the opportunities. My sense is that the field is, but the educational institutions training the new lawyers aren't.

I can't believe how unwilling educators are to change their practice. You've got to get to where your kids are, or you'll be irrelevant.

My rant for the day.

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