Sunday, 2 December 2012

Outside the... Balks? Huh?

So everyone is curious about my title.

Well as a lifelong learner (and product of the TDSB's gifted program) I've always been challenged to think creatively and try to do just what the title says.

I've been pondering this whole blogging idea since Royan Lee's "Spicy Learning" blog was introduced to me over a year ago before going to ECOO11. Up to that point I had assumed a personal brand was all about you know, buying or whatever. Surprisingly this isn't actually taken, even though I'm a Minnesota politician (born April 16, 1952) and a member of the Minnesota Senate representing District 42, who actually ran for governor too. [#WrongDigitalFootprint?]

Anyways, at ECOO11 we talked a lot about a lot of things, including digital footprint (thanks MzMollyTL!) and being a role model for students online and so on. After drinking from that fire hose I've begun to implement a lot of the things I learned or was exposed to there - but it's taken me a while. The one thing I really didn't want to rush into was my brand. So I waited on it until the inspiration hit, and two weeks ago it did.

For the last few years, when I'm assigning a particular project, I like to challenge my gifted students (because life has come full circle that way). I like to say to them "THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX... B - A - L - K - S". They kind of stare at me and go "HUH?" But it makes them think!

Going back even further in time, I can't claim the credit for the saying. It comes from one of my favourite "Silly" Albums - The BnL "Snack Time" album and the song "Crazy ABC's written by Steven Page and Ed Robertson. Here's the first few lines from the lyrics (if you are an english teacher - you could probably work this concept into a really neat assignment):

A is for aisle
B is for bdellium
C is for czar
And if you see him, would you mind telling him-

The whole song goes on like this and is uproariously funny. If you haven't heard it, and you're a teacher, and you like funny things, give it a listen!

So they go back and forth, and at the end they have this little jokesy conversation that goes something like this...

Okay, when you say zed,
For the benefit of our American friends
You really mean Zee, right?
No I mean Zed, like, like Zed Zed Top.
Zed Zed Top?
Yeah, you know the guys with the big long beards,
well, except the guy whose name is Beard,
he has a moustache
I always thought that was interesting
You done with the alphabet?
No extra letters I haven't heard of?
I think so.
Well this was a great help, I think, you know,
the contribution you made to world literacy
Well, I'm just saying, kids
I'm just saying
Think outside the box a little bit
Box with an "r"
Yeah, well, no, box with a b-a-l-k-s, like a pitcher.
Ahh, as opposed to b-a-c-h-s,
Right, think outside the "balks"

And hopefully THAT will help you understand my blog title! :) Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Creating and Maintaining a Digital Footprint

As part of my goal to develop my digital footprint, I am beginning the process of blogging. To that end, I am experimenting with several different blog platforms. In the process I am establishing my “brand” to ensure that it is there when I need it. (And I don't have to pay big bucks to someone else to try and get it back in the future).

This was an issue that happened to my school, when I went to establish a digital footprint for the school on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube. I got “” for all of them except Facebook. Someone had beaten me to it. When it comes to Search and Hits, the Brand Name matters! My schools FaceBook page (for some time) came up second in the search behind some former students page about the school! So even if I don’t use a particular site that much, I've claimed the name at least for future use, since I’ve realized the importance of establishing and protecting the “brand”.

So this is it… here we go. My first Blog!