Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I am a technology omnivore, what are you?

On my way home the other day, in my car, I wasn't listening to a podcast but rather to National Public Radio- live-, All things Considered with Robert Siegel.

I just happened to hear the story by Mary Madden, Teens' Online 'Friends' Often Number in Hundreds. I was fascinated to hear Mary say the same kinds of things we as educators write about when speaking to parents and their internet using teens and pre-teens. Put your computers in public places in the home. Monitor Internet use, use a filter, talk to your children and teens, be involved and yes, even friend your child in their, or our, social network. These are all things I have said, and knew about. Then came my aha!
Mary said we need to let our children/students know that MySpace, is really our space. Our students are creating and need to be aware they are leaving a digital footprint. Hey parents, educators, google your child's name with them in the room. Parents need to know how information persists online. Interestingly only 47% of us adults have googled themselves. I have, probably because I am a technology omnivore, more on that in a bit. I remember when I googled my 3 sons. All of them were in high school and all showed up in google having answered math questions in an online math contest, all showed up online due to their presence on the school honor roll. So far, that was the extent of their online presence. Now, 4 years later one has a spot on Facebook and he has friended me, as well as some of his friends have friended me. We share the space and trade stories on occasion. I don't preach, I just live nearby when they want someone to share with.

We need to change our view about how we look at this online information. Mary also suggested that parents read the following websites; GetNetwise, ConnectSafely and NetSmartz

The last comment that really had me thinking was Robert and Mary talking about the future. When our 10 year olds are in their job seeking era, they will be interviewed by 50 year olds who have lived the digital online world. Maybe those 50 year olds will be more accepting of 10 year old or 15 year old indiscretions. We shall see. It was comforting to hear the research results 93% of 13-19 year olds who use the Internet use the privacy settings. 55% keep their profile private and most restrict access in some ways, well that is until they friend hundreds of friends, but the intent is there.

Since I heard the story on the way home,I was able to come home and wait 2 hours to hear the online podcast,( thanks NPR) and now I have listened multiple times to get the best information! When I went to the Pew website I found a great survey. You can take it too, then be sure you leave a message telling me what you ended up as from the survey. If you want you can leave a twitter @ techlearning and share your results with all who have friended techlearning at twitter. Go to PEW research and take the Typology Quiz. Then be sure to read what it means, read about what your friends are and then share the results at twitter or here in the comment section.

I am an omnivore similar to 8% of the American public.

"Omnivores embrace all this connectivity, feeling confident in how they manage information and their many devices. This puts information technology at the center of how they express themselves, do their jobs, and connect to their friends." From the PEW Typology survey results!

I didn't so much celebrate this for me, but rather I am curious about the other labels. You see, being an omnivore means that I have to consider carefully the kinds of technology tools and successes I share. I can share anything on Twitter with my other omnivore friends. However, when I want to entice my workmates to try a new technology tool, I have to go through the back door. For example, today at lunch I said I had a show and tell to share. I had "published" 2 online photo books, one at Snapfish, the other at Shutterfly. It was a simple share, just letting folks look at the photo books, and then sharing how easy it is to upload and follow the directions at a website. That's it, 5 minutes. Now, I will wait, maybe month, to see if someone brings in their own photo book to share-before I will know if my sharing worked.

You will have to take the survey to see the other interesting categories. It is worth the 5 minutes it takes to finish the survey! http://pewresearch.org/interactive/

If you liked this post and you are interested in the PEW Research information you can have a say in what is collected. Just go to the PEW site and ask for specific questions to be included in their surveys, Mary says they are always looking for new ideas.

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