Weekly digital Newsletter Monday 25 November 2013 – the Selfie edition

All about ‘me’

A ‘Selfie’ is a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone. …

It’s interesting to note that ‘Selfie’ has been voted Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year last week. The arrival of the internet and web 2.0 tools has made self-publishing in every guise very much easier to achieve (ahem – note this blog for example), but the almost universal acceptance that they’re a good thing somewhat beats me. When Pope Francis does a selfie this summer, what chance have the rest of us! Selfie’s aren’t new of course, and predate the Internet. I couldn’t possibly comment, but I think the arrival of the photocopier all those years ago introduced other cheeks people possess to public view. I digress…

Time covered the topic of ‘Selfies’ back in September; state-side you can always find a psychologist it seems who will talk rehashed mumbo-jumbo on demand, and so please welcome Dr. Andrea Letamendi, a clinical psychologist and research fellow at UCLA: “Self captured images allow young adults and teens to express their mood states and share important experiences,” says. As tweens and teens try to form their identity, selfies serve as a way to test how they look, and therefore feel, in certain outfits, make-up, poses and places. And because they live in a digital world, self-portraits provide a way of participating and affiliating with that world.”  ACtually the article does pose some interesting questions about the emergence of Selfies and their pervasive presence on social media. Teenagers are more likely to indulge in risk taking behaviour if they see pictures of their friends and others they admire indulging in smoking, looking drunk, getting close up and personal.

Read more: Why Selfies Matter | TIME.com http://healthland.time.com/2013/09/06/why-selfies-matter/#ixzz2lbaHFg8u

I typed ‘Best selfies of 2013’ into Google image search and found some pretty famous people self-publicising:>

And of course, bearing in mind my employer-responsibilities, we do always go and have a look at the pages of new, incoming staff’s Facebook pages and Tweets, just to check out their ‘public profile’. It’s amazing what a Google search will show up as well. :o) Big brother!

More from the psychologists about growing pains

Another head whose blog I read is Andy Falconer, up at St Olave’s in York. He signposted a really nice article by Clinical psychologist Professor Tanya Byron in The Times on 16 November about how she feels children are increasingly suffering from anxiety and depression due to pressure from parents. Here’s her 14 points to take note of, if you are a parent, or perhaps even a teacher looking to check out your own thoughts in child management:

  1. Trust the school to place your child in the best group for their ability.

  2. Let them do their own homework, unless they ask for help.

  3. If you have to tutor a child for a school, it might be the wrong school.

  4. Not every experience has to be a learning experience.

  5. Embrace failure.

  6. Don’t praise them for results, praise them for effort.

  7. Help your children to value themselves for who they are, not their achievements.

  8. Don’t force them to play violin, if their passion is pottery.

  9. Curb your anxiety if you don’t want anxious children.

  10. Let them take risks

  11. Encourage boredom.

  12. If you play with them, play.

  13. Ensure they get enough good quality sleep.

  14. Don’t schedule their lives.

Sexting – Selfies gone wrong

The excellent Paul Hay (here’s his Selfie – and now an approved ISA consultant) delivered our annual seminar on Internet Safety for Parents this evening (Monday 25 November) to a mixed audience of primary and secondary parents. His children are still of an age to consider him beyond boring, but remain a mine of info for his work. For example, teenagers regard ‘Sexting’ by which friends send sexually explicit images of themselves to their friend/s as a completely ‘normal behaviour if you are close’. Ouch. Makes me think I am my Benedictine headmaster bemoaning the arrival of Flower power in the late sixties. In those days, sex was entirely illegal for teenagers to think about, but smoking tobacco with your housemaster every night after supper in pipes or cigars was normal behaviour. As was being thrashed. This emerging normalisation of the abnormal needs very direct treatment by schools – read more here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25000800

Other sound bytes from the last week

The ISANet Unconference went really well on Saturday in Maidenhead – as one delegate wrote “Having attended two other ISA Meetings in the last five days both of which were exceedingly boring and kafkaesque in their content. The thought of travelling to Maidenhead filled me with dread. How wrong could I be! People spoke about teaching and learning. We examined ideas that we could actually put into use in our classrooms. I listened in awe as teenagers demonstrated programmes that used all of my limited cognitive ability.  Please thank all involved. It was a great day out as it rekindled the passion that I once had for teaching.”

Conference outcomes are assembling on our dedicated website – http://goo.gl/gcKA9

The ISANet had its own web extension App created at the Unconference to work on your laptop with the Chrome browser.  Here’s a movie… http://goo.gl/cMpeVw and overleaf….

Here’s young CC Google mentor, Joe writing up for me what he has created:

“I’m not sure how much information you want… Let me know if you want more detail!

  1. Create Manifest.json file (configuration file)

  2. Create an HTML file with dimensions of 720px by 480px

    1. Just contains an iframe (simple ‘web browser’) which points to http://isanet.ning.com/

  3. Download icon file from the website and add that in the Manifest.json (config) file

  4. Go to chrome://extensions

    1. Enable developer mode

    2. Load unpacked extension

    3. Test!

  5. Once testing is complete, package extension from extension page and put everything into a zip

  6. Go to https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/apps and click gear icon in top right, developer dashboard

    1. Non Google Devs need to pay $5 to become one

    2. Add new item

    3. Select zip file

    4. Upload

    5. Set information

    6. Publish”

Honestly, like our other delegates at the event, I felt very much as Andre Previn heard on the Morecombe and Wise show “All the right words, but not necessarily in the right order”.

Any way, here goes all – using Chrome browser, please follow this link, and it will take you to the Chrome Store and offer you the opportunity to acquire for your browser a pop-up for the ISANet – in other words, you can find us even more easily, and show us off as the first App Extension ever created for the ISANet. I find it takes a couple of moments to pop open. Next week, we’ll have a nice little icon for it. Next month, a californian start-up will offer Joe riches beyond his wildest dreams, and he’ll be lost to British computer gaming and CC.

And finally

I am continually impressed by the quality output from this website, authored by Sam Ross. Here’s her latest post from the troubled teenaged perspective. Takes some reading. http://www.teenagewhisperer.co.uk/pleasegive-us-our-time/

Many thanks for your support for the past 5 years – yes this specific ISANet project has celebrated its 5th Birthday – and I continue to hope that my rantings about the digital and educational into the ether assist in bringing cheer and information in equal measure to a staff room near you.

James Wilding



About jameswilding

Academic Principal Claires Court Schools Long term member & advocate of the Independent Schools Association
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