Final Project–Visual CVs: Helpful or Hurtful?

IDEA

For my final project I knew I wanted to do a Visual CV, I saw others from previous COETAILers and was inspired. I wanted to create an infographic and then make it into a Thinglink. The Thinglink plan changed because of various reasons (mainly because my type A personality didn’t like how the icons took up so much space and took away from the “flow” of the CV.)

PROCESS

I got to work on this project pretty early on in the course and following Rob’s idea I posted my first draft (below)  asking for feedback.  I also contacted administrators and recruiters within my PLN to ask for their opinion.  The feedback I got from Twitter was great, but was more focused on the aesthetics.

 

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However, the feedback from my current director, former directors, and a head hunter was not as stellar.  All of them didn’t like the idea of a visual CV–it was creative but when they are looking for candidates they want to easily be able to know all about them AND compare them to others quickly. My ego was a little hurt, I worked so hard on it, how could they not prefer it? After the initial letdown, I am glad I asked for their feedback. These are my next potential bosses and/or connections and I truly value what they say. Below is some of their feedback.

  • “The plus-side is that this is definitely eye-catching and stands out.  However, in my experience, when I am reading a batch of candidate resumes, I am seeking to be able to compare information quickly and if I get distracted by someone’s creativity the effect is not entirely positive.”
  • “Most administrators don’t have a lot of time to look at extra “stuff” from their candidates. So although I think it’s a great idea you upload your CV to Thinglink, you may need to have more information about you and your training and that sort of thing on your resume “just in case” the administrator can’t get to your interactive resume.”
  • “It draws my attention, but leaves me wondering about certain things. Knowing you as a professional, I don’t think it fully shows all you do and can do.”

REFLECTION

After letting their feedback marinate in my mind and heart for a little while I reflected on it. I know the main purpose of a CV is to get a job, but I want the future school I work at to want me for me. I consider myself creative and that comes through in a visual resume.  Some school heads might be completely turned off by my visual resume, but then comes the question of do I want to work at a school that isn’t interested in pushing the boundaries? They might not like the picture of my family, but my family is part of my core and I want my future employer to know that. I think this resume, while in words and specifics doesn’t tell more about me, in design and thinking it does.  I am proud of it and what it represents, and sure it could be risky to use it, but I’d rather put my true self out there than be another perfectly formatted resume in a pile of hundred of others just the same. Also, I think I could always have a traditional format of my resume on my website, this way they can get a more specific view of me as a candidate.

The second part of my reflection is on the overall process.  Man, designing is hard!  I spent hours deliberating over moving a line two centimeters, changing colors, aligning everything just right. My original plan changed hundreds of times and I still am not completely satisfied with this resume. I used Pages to create it and the Noun Project for all my icons. I matched my colors scheme with a palette from Adobe Color Thankfully, both of those programs/resources are easy to work with. I ended up going with a monochromatic, but in a green color palette. I also switched the boxes of who I am into a horizontal orientation and changed the words so they became nouns. I added two quotations that speak to me and my philosophy on education and leadership. I added some more information about myself at the top too.  I’m sure I will continue on working on this until my husband and I decide to go leave our current post.

Megan Kuemmerlin Visual Resume

Course 2 Final Project: Empowering Use Agreement for Elementary

Need

This project couldn’t have come at a better time.  Our eLearning coordinator is in the process of revamping the approach to technology in our whole school.  Last meeting we looked at our current AUP and we decided we wanted different AUPs for the different school divisions (upper and lower). I was pleased to read option 1 for the final project. Now, the question was finding someone to work with.  

Option 1: In a small group that contains at least one cohort member outside your school, create a Responsible Use Agreement (RUA) or Responsible Use Policy (RUP) for your division level (Elementary, Middle or High School). You may start from scratch or use a framework from some of the resource that are covering in the course or from what your school already has in place. Include a reflective blog post describing choices you made in developing the RUA/RUP i.e. choice of language level, topics covered, issues of focus, describe how it would be shared with students etc.”

Process

I started on Twitter and then went to our Google+ COETAIL community. Blair posted a sign up sheet so I added my name to that. The next day I had an email from Meghan Highfill asking if I wanted to work with her.  I was glad to find a partner that wanted to work on the same option, so I replied to her and we set our plans in motion.  We began exchanging emails and both had some of the same ideas for where we wanted to go–a visual policy with a positive feel. The first thing we needed was some baseline data.  What did our school communities know about our existing AUP?  Was it helpful?  What stuck out in their mind?  Megan created a Google Form to send out to classes, parents, and teachers. After about a week or so we looked at the data.  

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What stuck out to me was that 42% of our communities didn’t remember even signing the AUP. I highlighted some of the eye catching responses based on the members of the community in the infograpic below.You can see for yourself, but I felt the comments overall were very negative or uniformed, the exact opposite of what we desired. As we’ve learned in previous weeks the Internet doesn’t have to be scary.

Untitled Infographic (4)Our next step in the process was to plan and work out the details. Up until now we used email and Google Docs, but I guess I am a little bit old fashioned because I wanted to Skype to lay the groundwork.  We had to figure out a time to meet, with Megan is in Indonesia and me in Brazil a little flexibility was required. Thankfully Megan is an early riser so we met her with a cup of coffee before work and me with a screaming baby in my arms before bedtime. (Shout out to Megan for being so understanding!)

 

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One of the many emails throughout the process

It was great to Skype, we were both on the same page and had done research prior to talking.  We decided what we liked on AUPs we researched and what we didn’t and then decided upon some must haves–linked to a mission, focus on the positive, include graphics that are correctly attributed, an reflective activity paired with the AUP, and a legal statement. I felt very strongly, and Megan agreed, about tying it to a mission. Again, Megan was super gracious and we used my school’s mission because she was leaving her school next year. The reason I feel so strongly about linking it to the mission is because my school has a new mission this year and any chance I find to make it come alive I try to do that. By linking the AUP to the mission the students are aware of the attributes of our mission they are demonstrating while using technology. I liked Megan’s idea of including graphics for younger students and our EAL population (both students and parents). Megan also had a great idea for a short activity for students to do with parents to reflect upon how they can follow the AUP. This builds a stronger connection between school and home and hopefully will foster further discussion. Lastly, we felt we had to include a legal statement in case an incidence occurs.  

After Skyping we both set out on our assigned tasks.  I created a draft of the AUP and then we both worked on it over the course of the next week.  We wrote comments back and forth to each other and made revisions based on the comments. We remixed some sources to fit our needs: Campbell Hall Technology Values, linked to IB learner profile, this one with visual clipart, former COETAILer Shannon’s. The overall creation of the document was pretty seamless. I think it helped that we had a clear vision of what we wanted.

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Commenting was an easy way to collaborate

Final Product

I am pleased with our final product. We ended up with all of our non-negotiables included and even came up with a positive title, Empowering Use Agreement (thanks to week 4 in this course).

We created the EUP and now is where the real work begins.  Most schools have AUP/RUP and the likes, but I think where we fail as schools is making them living and breathing documents. Now I have to work with my principal, teachers, eLearning committee, parents, and students to make sure this doesn’t get buried in incoming emails or under papers on a desk.  I have a feeling this will be a continuous process, but if it is done correctly I think it will EMPOWER our students, teachers, and parents. Hopefully in the next couple months I will have updates.

Reflection

This project and the process was awesome.  As I said before, it came at the perfect time for our school. I’m hoping that we can adopt it and start with rolling it out next semester. The process couldn’t have gone smoother, thanks to my rockstar partner, Megan. We started early and split up the work equally.

One thing I would do differently would be to find better more kid friendly graphics. As Megan said in her post, we felt limited because we wanted to use creative common licensed artwork/pictures, but kid friendly ones were hard to find. I think one way teachers can personalize this to their class and simultaneously teach students about creative commons would be to have their students find an image that represents the mission attribute in relation to technology.

Another thing I want to do is to make it into an infographic. I think we have a little too much wording, but I think if we could have been more concise in our wording we could have made a powerful infographic. I am still messing with the infographic, but it is looking a little crowded and more like a wordgraphic, so I won’t share it.

Our EUP is positive and almost idyllic, which made we wonder is it too empowering?  Does an AUP need to have a definition of what not to do and the consequences if a student breaks it? The Pollyanna in me wants to say no, but after reading this article I wonder if we should have been more explicit?   

I learned that when doing a collaborative project it helps to start early and leave lots of time for feedback and edits. It also helped me to be able to meet face to face, rather than just through email and comments on Google docs. Lastly, I learned that an AUP is a very personal thing to a school, so making a general one isn’t ideal. I’m hoping that this is a start and that over the coming years my school can tweak, add to, and make this Empowering Use Agreement their own.

Beg, Borrow, Steal.

Image credit Austin Kleon
Image credit Austin Kleon

 

A professor I had in my educational courses at Furman University said this is what teachers do. Beg. Borrow. Steal.  It is how we survive. I laughed at it and then in my first year teaching when I worked on an amazing team I found the truth in it. Could you please send me the review you created?  Thankfully I didn’t have to experience the stealing part. After this week’s readings I would have to add another to the list…remix.

The first time I thought twice about copyright and photographs was in my Masters class when Clint Hamada gave a presentation.  I observed that underneath each picture on his presentation was credit and a link to the source.  Of course I learned all about plagiarism in school and knew that I couldn’t take someone’s words, but images? I figured if I was just using them for school or professionally and wasn’t earning money on them than it was all good.

Living in China didn’t help my cause either.  The Chinese are known for not obeying  copyright laws. I once ate at an “Outback” in Beijing, seriously the same menu and everything, but it was called Aussie (or something ridiculously close). I got used to  never trusting a beer by its bottle.  Brands didn’t mean anything because it was just a knock off.  I guess I just got used to it, and sadly  didn’t really even think twice about copying texts for my class. After this week’s researching I kept asking myself, even if we aren’t in the country do we follow the laws?  My answer is now a resounding YES.  

If one of the reasons I create a positive digital footprint is to model for my students, shouldn’t I do the same in all aspects of my life? I want my students to give credit where credit is do, and realize when they are working from someone else’s work.  I’m pretty sure they all know not to plagiarise, but pictures, music, and videos is something I need to work on with them.  I need to dig deeper as to where to start, but I did stumble upon (and learn about) the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF thinks students “… need to understand their digital rights and responsibilities in order to create, critique, and comment on their culture. This curriculum fills an educational void, introducing critical questions of digital citizenship into the classroom without misinformation that scares kids from expressing themselves in the modern world.” (emphasis mine) I love this approach because it is so similar to how I feel about digital footprints.

Photo Credit: gato-gato-gato via Compfight cc

 

I loved Rebekah’s site on Remixing and based of an image (above) followed a trail to Austin Kleon’s site.  He thinks, “You are a mash up of what you let into your life. Anyone can be creative if they surround themselves with the right influence, play nice, and work hard.”  That couldn’t be more true. Then after watching Kirby Fergusson’s video my mind was blown. He focuses on hollywood and the music industry, but it completely applies to all aspects of creation. He spreads the message that everything is a remix.  There is nothing wrong with this, but it becomes wrong when we don’t attribute the creator. In his TED Talk Embrace the Remix Kirby says, “Creativity comes from without, not from within. We are dependent on one another.” It all comes back to connectivism, we learn through, with, and from others.  

Honestly I wasn’t sure how to use remixing in my teaching.  Then by happenchance my principal asked me to help plan a culminating assembly for our social emotional curriculum. Students will share videos they created to show how we can have empathy at our school, but we wanted to get the students excited and what better way than for teachers to make fools of themselves.  Enter the Village People.  We wrote new lyrics about all we have learned this semester to none other than YMCA.  Now, I am working on creating a video with our lyrics to the song. What a perfect opportunity to model attributing credit and remixing.

I also looked through a lot of examples of remixing in the classroom from Rebekah’s site. I loved Ben Sheridan’s global stop motion video project for kindergartners. I was amazed by all of the contributions. How fun is this Choose Your Own Adventure Hamlet style? And if authors instagrammed is a fun read.

I loved getting lost in the links this week.  I have a long way to go with remixing and I can’t wait to play and figure out ways to get our students and teachers remixing (and giving credit of course). Would anyone be interested in doing a remix project?  

Are Digital Footprints the New Sexual Education?

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I googled myself to see my digital footprint.

 “Scare tactics…are not only ineffective at changing student behaviors (Online Safety and Technology Working Group, 2010), but they also prevent students from seeing digital footprints as potential tools for learning, finding like-minded peers, and building reputations as thoughtful contributors to meaningful digital conversations.” This guy is exactly right, instead of teaching students to be afraid of their footprints, we should teach them to form authentic footprints. We should have learned from teaching sexual education, avoidance and scaring students doesn’t work. 

Our education system has scared students into digital footprint phobia. I’ll be the first to admit I was in the wrong, but now I have seen the light. In the past when I discussed digital footprints with my students I focused more on the negatives than the positives.  Be careful what you post. You never know who is looking.  Watch out for stalkers. Etc. Etc. Etc. Could this be because as a society we focus more on the negative news than the positive news? We are inundated with stories of online predators or people losing their jobs because of a stupid twitter or Facebook post.  What we don’t hear about is the 68% of candidates that were hired because of their digital footprint. In addition, the article Footprints in the Digital Age points out that “Publishing content online not only begins the process of becoming “Googleable,” it also makes us findable by others who share our passions or interests.” It all goes back to connectivism. We should teach students how to do what we are doing as well, figuring out as Jeff said in the intro to Course 2 video  “a system to make sense of the chaos.”

Social Network Screening
https://mashable.com/2011/10/23/how-recruiters-use-social-networks-to-screen-candidates-infographic/#59u9Hg0VyPqb

This week I also learned about my digital shadow. Of course I always noticed that the outfit I looked at online seemed to follow me around or when Netflix suggests things I would like based on my last binge watching session, but I didn’t know there was an actual term for it.  I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this.  The parts of my shadow I see (Amazon suggestions, etc) make my life more convenient, but have the parts I don’t see (bank records, purchase history, etc) exposed is a little frightening. In terms of schools, it is imperative that they mirror business IT departments.  “As people’s digital footprints continue growing, so too will the responsibility of organizations for the privacy, protection, availability and reliability of that information. The burden is on IT departments within organizations to address the risks and compliance rules around information misuse, data leakage and safeguarding against security breaches.”(https://readwrite.com/2008/03/24/new_tool_calculates_your_digital_footprint ) Student medical records, parents’ tuition payments, and so on need to be protected to make schools safe havens. The digital shadows fly over my head, and I may seem naive in saying this, but I am sticking with the theory ignorance is bliss.

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Can you tell I’ve been looking for finger paint and my son’s next year’s Halloween costumes lately?

Another thing I found interesting and kept asking myself was, as an educator should we have digital footprints? After reading a fellow COETAILER’s Top 5 reasons educators must have a digital footprint I went to Twitter to ask some of my PLN the reasons they have a digital footprint and the resounding reason why was to model for their students. For me this is one of the top reasons I have a presence online, like Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Who you are speaks too loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying”.  I have to walk the talk and by doing so it also led to another reason for creating a digital footprint. We need to model what to do, not scare students with what not to do.

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While modeling responsible digital citizenship is great I didn’t start because of that, my primary reason I started was to learn from other educators. A few years ago I felt like I was in a teaching slump and didn’t feel like I was growing in my profession. I read books and implemented new strategies, but I felt like I was on an island. So  I began lurking on Twitter and learning from the safety of behind my screen.  Then I became a little braver and began to post.  I was nervous and didn’t want to put myself out there, but then I realized that in order to get something I have to give something.

I think having an online presence helps in the job search.  Innovative schools want educators that are running to push the boundaries in education, not educators that are tiptoeing around in fear of making a footprint. If a school doesn’t want to hire me because I tweet about my students’ learning or pose questions for other educators I’m okay with that.  I want to be at a school that values intrinsic learning and connectivism.  

Another question I kept pondering all week was what is the distribution of my digital footprint.  Last month I wrote about my voice in social media, and this is along the same lines. I primarily only tweet about education, and use Instagram and Facebook for personal tweets.  Does that enhance or degrade my digital footprint for recruiters?  I mainly do this because of function–almost all of the people I follow on Twitter are educators and this is where I go to learn. However, would I learn more and expand my educational footprint if I posted on all social media fronts?