Capture Twitter chats & #edchats with Storify

January 10, 2017

Quick tips to capture an #edchat or Twitter chat with Storify

  • Create a Storify account @
  • Participate in your edchat and note its hashtag (but this will work for any topic with a hashtag in Twitter).
  • When the edchat is over, login to Storify
  • Select “Create New Story”


  • In right column click on Twitter icon, enter the hashtag in the search field (you can specify some other items using the search field like Type, Location, Language if you need), & click on search icon


  • Storify collects all relevant tweets w/ hashtags in right hand columnedchat_storify3-fw
  • In the Story panel on the left, create a headline like “[Name of edchat] [Date of edchat] [hashtag]” like “EdchatDE November 5/2016” & add description if you wantedchat_storify4-fw
  • Pick the tweets on the right that you want to add to your “Story”
    • I usually pick “add them all” at the top of the column


  • You can also scroll through the list on to drag/drop specific ones into your Storify story.
  • It’s now up to you if you want to “edit” the Tweets in the Storify window:
    • Delete extraneous comments (e.g. do you want to keep the “introduce yourself” responses in your content here?);
    • Organize content users strung across multiple tweets that got interspersed with other’s tweets (e.g. ones that have “1/2” and 2/2” indicate it’s a 2 part tweet);
    • Organize the question tweets by an edchat leader with all the answers (i.e. put Q1 first and all the A1 responses under it; move on to Q2 and then organize all the Q2 ).
  • Once you have edited the number and order of the tweets to your likking, publish your Storify and share the link using the “Share” button (you can pick the social media where you want to share the link via icons).
  • Of course you don’t have to share, and could keep the edited copy for yourself…but others might be interested.

If you have any other tips or tricks for capturing #edchats or Twitter chats with Storify, please feel free to add them in the comments.


Sexting & A Safety Agreement for Families

February 15, 2016

After running a recent workshop on privacy legislation and educators, I was approached by an attendee. The person was currently going through a divorce, was just starting her teaching career and concerned about some racy photos she made and shared with her husband. They were now divorcing. She was wondering if she should be concerned about those photos. My response started with, “It would have been simpler if you hadn’t shared those photos…” (My advice continued, but that’s for another post.)


Sexting is risky business, there’s no denying it. We need to discuss the risks with our children as soon as they are ready, and have a plan in place to help and support them if they get in trouble. This post is provided as a tool to help families understand the issues and perhaps enter into an agreement (document template provided at end) with their children to lend support should it ever be necessary.

Sexting & The Issues

Sexting is the practice (even if it’s just one time) of sharing intimate, explicit images, videos or messages with one or more others. The practice of sexting between romantic partners or as a means to flirt and attract romantic partners has been on the rise—especially among older teens.

Often people share sexts under the assumption that the person(s) receiving the sexts will keep them private. When relationships breakdown, one of the parties may break that assumption of trust and share that ‘private’ sext with others. In fact, the top 3 justifications 18-54 year olds gave for non-consensual sharing of personal data were:

  • a partner lied (45%)
  • a partner cheated (41%)
  • a partner broke up with them (27%).1

The same data showed that 10% of ex-partners threatened to release intimate photos of their partner online and of those, 60% followed through and shared them. 1

But it’s not always relationship breakdowns that cause sexts to be made more public: loss of personal devices holding sensitive information like sexts (e.g. cellphones, tablets, computers) can leave parties vulnerable—especially when said devices have little to no password protection. (TIP: Use strong passwords- See ). Some people share their passwords—to their phones, or online accounts—and later find out someone breached that trust and shared content (like sexts) they wanted kept private. (TIP: Don’t share passwords guarding personal information—your devices or accounts. My one exception: my kids share their passwords with me.) Then there’s always the risk of a hacker revealing content—especially if any of the parties involved store their sexts online or in the cloud (E.g. In 2014, a hacker breached Apple’s iCloud and publicly posted private nude photos of female celebrities).

The risk of sexts:

  • They are permanent digital records of intimate/explicit things;
  • They are easily copied & distributed;
  • They could be shared without your consent;
  • They could be shared with unforeseen people: friends, family, future/ current employers, the world;
  • They could be shared in ways you never intended (like posted publicly online).

While sexting may be done consensually, age differences between the participants may make the practice a legal concern–this varies by country & legal jurisdiction (e.g. child pornography). Another concern is that social and peer pressure can be used to extort sexts from otherwise uncomfortable or unwilling participants. Englander (2012) writes that among 18 year olds, “Indisputably, the most important motivation for sexting…was pressure and coercion”. 2 The two main reasons for sexting were:

  • “because a date or boyfriend/girlfriend wanted the picture (66%)”
  • to attract someone you’re interested in (65%). 2

Youth are still discovering what constitutes a respectful romantic relationship. Sometimes the partners requesting the sext through pressuring and coercion may be unaware that they are crossing a line toward sexual harassment. In the case of youth and young adults who choose to sext, they may not be fully aware of the permanence of the content in the sext, how readily it can be distributed, and the potential impacts if shared.

Youth and young adults aren’t necessarily thinking about their future careers when they sext. Sexts made public can affect your employment—future or continuing—in trust professions like teaching. In British Columbia, you need look no farther than the Shewan Decision (1987)3 to understand the ramifications of how sexts in the wrong hands, or made public could affect your job. Other examples of trust professions where sexts-made-more-public could be an issue: counseling, law, law enforcement, medicine, politics, etc. Members of these professions are held to higher standards than the general public—particularly teachers who are seen to influence the development of children and youth.

Youth Reluctance Reporting Problems

Unfortunately, youth are reluctant to report problems that arise from sexting—especially to parents/caregivers. They are concerned that:

  • Someone will “judge” them for sexting.
  • Someone (parents/caregivers) will take away their devices or technology.

A Sexting Safety Agreement (V 1.0)

To support families in navigating risks associated with sexting and to encourage youth to report problems to caregivers, I’ve drafted a Sexting Safety Agreement (V 1.0)  along the lines of the M.A.D.D.’s Contract for Life (an agreement between caregivers and youth to manage the risks of impaired driving). This is one of the first documents I’ve released under Creative Commons licensing: BY-NC-SA (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike).



  1. McAfee, 2013, Lovers beware: Scorned exes may share intimate data and images,
  2. Englander, E.K. (2012) Low risk associated with most Teenage Sexting: A Study of 617 18-Year-Olds, Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Centre, Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, MA. Available at:
  3. In the late 1980’s, a nude photo of a teacher in the Abbotsford School district was submitted by her husband (also a teacher) and published in a magazine as part of an erotic photography competition. The teachers were disciplined by the Board and it lead to a series of court cases. Ultimately in the BC Court of Appeals, Shewan v. Board of School Trustees of School District #34 (Abbotsford), 1987 159, the court stated: “The behaviour of the teacher must satisfy the expectations which the British Columbia community holds for the educational system. Teachers must maintain the confidence and respect of their superiors, their peers, and in particular, the students, and those who send their children to our public schools. Teachers must not only be competent, but they are expected to lead by example. Any loss of confidence or respect will impair the system, and have an adverse effect upon those who participate in or rely upon it. That is why a teacher must maintain a standard of behaviour which most other citizens need not observe because they do not have such public responsibilities to fulfil.”(page 6;

A K-12 Primer for British Columbia Teachers Posting Students’ Work Online

May 17, 2013

cover_capture_sm.fw  There is little doubt in my mind that web 2.0, social media, and cloud computing offer powerful vehicles for teaching and learning—but only if educators use them responsibly, abide by the rules and regulations, and teach their students to do the same. According to lawyer, Pam Portal, “BC’s privacy laws are arguably the strongest in Canada” (Cooper, et al., 2011, “Privacy Guide for Faculty Using 3rd Party Web Technology (Social Media) in Public Post-Secondary Courses”,2). These laws and regulations protect the privacy rights of the individual in British Columbia, Canada. Our unique legal context sets the boundaries for what the K-12 should be doing online with student information, work, and data. If you’re not from British Columbia, or aren’t in touch with what’s happening here, consider us the “Europe” of privacy protection in North America. If you are an American teacher or a Canadian teacher anywhere but in British Columbia–you likely have more permissive regulations in the use of Web 2.0 tools–especially those that are housed in the cloud.

The institution where I work, Vancouver Island University (Nanaimo, BC, Canada), is in the vanguard of addressing privacy issues associated with use of cloud based tools at the post-secondary level in BC education. In 2011, VIU  published “Privacy Guide for Faculty Using 3rd Party Web Technology (Social Media) in Public Post-Secondary Courses” with BC Campus,  and our Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (under Director, Liesel Knaack) has been running numerous training sessions to raise faculty awareness of their obligations in use of cloud, Web 2.0, and social media technologies—especially with regard to students. As part of that effort, and in discussions with Liesel, I began to develop some resources to streamline how faculty in our Faculty of Education and other post-secondary instructors could meet the new requirements–items like forms to guide instructors, and an information backgrounder to share with students.  As BC K-12 educators got wind of what I was doing, I had individuals from BC K-12 schools–public and private, traditional and face-to-face–contacting me to see what knowledge, resources and guidance I could share. At that point I was solidly focused on developing resources I could use with my faculty, and I kept hoping that ‘someone else’ would take on that mantle and deal with providing specific K-12 resources. I happily provided what I had–but it was from the post-secondary perspective. When I shared content, I’d repeatedly ask the recipients to share back what they developed. Many of these individuals were dealing with these issues off the side of their K-12 desks—among many other responsibilities. I checked back with a few of them and their content development had gotten sidelined in one way or another.

Working in a Faculty of Education as I do, I am reminded that I am only a step away from the K-12 context. Our Education students are doing practica in BC K-12 schools–some of them with institutionally loaned equipment—and I need to support their responsible use of technology under current legislation. In September 2013, I will be teaching a course in social media in our new Online Learning and Teaching Diploma (OLTD) Program, and I will need resources to guide my students as educators in responsible use of social media in BC’s K-12 context. Knowing my interests, parents have approached me to describe incidents where students are using social media and cloud based resources in their local schools without any permission forms or information being sent home. One parent described Googling her child’s name only to find a Prezi with scanned family photos and information—yet the parent had never been approached for permission–much less had discussions or handouts on the activity and its potential privacy risks. I have heard numerous accounts of teachers doing great things with Google docs and their classes–using Facebook or Twitter, but when I pause to ask them whether they sent out and obtained written permission slips, I either meet a dead silence or am told, “Oh, our school media waiver covers that.” The likelihood that a school media waiver meets the key criteria set down in our BC law and regulations for ‘knowledge’, ‘notice’, and ‘informed consent’ with regard to these types of activities in these technological environments is slim.

So, last month, I decided that “someone” was going to be “me”. I’ve spent about a month drafting this document I call “A K-12 Primer for British Columbia Teachers Posting Students’ Work Online“.

This document was possible only with the support of these key individuals:

  • Liesel Knaack, Director, Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia
  • Rebecca Avery, e-Safety Officer, Kent County Council, United Kingdom
  • Mark Hawkes, e-Learning Coordinator, Learning Division, Ministry of Education, British Columbia
  • Dave Gregg, e-Learning Officer, Learning Division, Ministry of Education, British Columbia
  • Larry Kuehn, Director of Research and Technology, British Columbia Teachers’ Federation
  • John Phipps, Field Experience Supervisor, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia

Consider this document Version 1.0. I hope you find it useful and that you feel moved to comment and share your insights for a future version. You are free to duplicate and share it according to the Creative Commons: Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike licensing.


Why is the YouTube Video a Black Box That Won’t Play in My PPT 2010 Slide? Fixed

November 21, 2012

Ok, I guess this is a bit of false advertising, because I don’t really know why it’s a black void. What I do know,  is that with the help of some information from choochlevis at Computer Tips and Tricks, Office Softwares blog (See PowerPoint Tips: Free Way to Play YouTube Video in Powerpoint, March 3, 2009) , and a couple steps of my own, I was able to fix it. Might help some others.

1)      Go to your YouTube video.

2)      Click on share button below it.

3)      Make sure you check “Use old embed code”.

4)      Copy  & paste the content from the embed code content

into a Word document. You’ll just want 1 piece of it & the embed code area in YouTube may not let you select just the part you need. You should get something like this:

5)      Find the string of text that looks like what’s in red below starting  after “movie” value=” until just before the closing quotation marks:

6)      Copy just that string of code—but NOT the quotation marks.

7)      Open your PowerPoint.

8)      Go to where you want to embed the YouTube that will play from the internet (It’s a different scenario if you are downloading a copy of the Youtube video and running from that!)

9)      Click the Developer tab in Ribbon at top of PPT 2010

10)   In the Developer tab, look for Controls group & the icon with the wrench & hammer—click on it.

11)   You’ll see “More Controls”. Scroll down in the list and find Shockwave flash object & click OK.

12)   When the hash mark appears

, click & drag it to draw box as big as you want video to play in the slide.

13)   Right click on that box and select Properties & paste the URL in your clipboard to the box across from “Movie”.

14)   Close the Property box by clicking on the X at the upper right.

15)   Preview your slide—click on the Slide Show tab in the ribbon & select From Current Slide.

Why I Wanted a Do-It-Yourself Anti-Spy Shade for My Built-In WebCam

May 12, 2010

If you haven’t heard of the case of Blake J. Robbins v. Lower Merion School District, read up on it @ Wikipedia. Basically, a school district issued Macbooks to students. The computers had security software that allowed remote activation. The security software allowed technicians to capture snapshots of IM, web browsing, music playlists, and written work. The computers had built-in video cameras. The security software could

be programmed to automatically capture webcam pictures and screen captures and store them on the hard disk for later retrieval in areas of the computer’s memory that are not accessible by the student and can be deleted remotely. (Wikipedia, 2010)

Apparently, two student council members voiced concern re. the possibility of the web cams being used without their knowledge. According to the Wikipedia article, neither the laptop program PR materials nor the individual contracts signed by participating students mentioned the remote activation feature. Surprise: The school district remotely activated the webcams. The school stated that it only activated the software when computers were lost or stolen. It is alleged that the school district remotely activated the web cams numerous times over the last two years.

So why Blake Robbins? Well, the lawsuit states that the school disciplined him for inappropriate behavior at his home via a photo taken with the remotely activated webcam. (For more details, see Wikipedia).The claim is that the schools use of the webcams violates Constitutional rights of privacy, Pennsylvania common law & US Civil Rights.

After reading this, I looked up at that built-in web cam in my Macbook Pro issued by my employer. My employer has the right to review how I use this laptop—even when I’m at home with it. Looking at the web cam also made me recall a Criminal Minds episode, “The Big Game” (Season 2, episode 14) where a killer who is a tech support worker, remotely activates computer web cams of his victims. Hmmm….why take chances? So I thought I would create a temporary cover for my webcam.

This is what I did:

  1. Got scissors, black electrical tape, & a piece of paper.
  2. Measured & cut a piece of black electrical tape wide enough to extend about .5cm or so either side of the built in webcam. Made sure it doesn’t interfere with any latches or other vital spots.
  3. Laid the tape on the table & flipped it so the stick side is up.
  4. Cut a piece of paper about the size of the web cam window.
  5. Put the paper in the middle of the black electrical tape on the sticky side. It looked like a bandaid.
  6. Held it up to my computer with the paper piece centred over my web cam window to see if I needed to trim the width.
  7. Trimmed the bottom so that it would not touch any screen—only the metal casing.
  8. Folded a small corner of the tape against itself so I could easily remove the shade when it was in place & stuck it over the webcam.
  9. I remove it when I close the laptop and just stick it to a clean section of the outside casing.

Now I peacefully enjoy my Macbook and my privacy-at least via my webcam & at home. Folks can still see me through my office windows—I leave the blinds up.

Google City Tours Educational Applications?

July 8, 2009

googlecitytoursJust got a look at the new project from GoogleLabs–Google City Tours.  This could provide a tool for some very cool projects in social studies, history, culture, etc. For example, students could create a “Great City” tour in a country being studied and share it with the class–why certain locations were chosen & significance.  Also, could provide an interesting collaboration opportunity with students in a different country. Students in location A create a city tour for location B. Students in location B create a city tour for location A. Then students go on the respective tours returning blogs, podcasts, videos and pictures about the places. Talk about a virtual field trip. Maybe GoogleLabs–or someone else could create a clearinghouse to create networks–or maybe this could piggy back on the ePals site? Going to contact ePals now about the possibility.

What about a creating a specific tour of Google’s Ancient 3D Model of Rome?

What other potential educational uses can you contribute?

Adults & Student Presentations

June 24, 2009

I just finished reading Jim Moulton’s blog post, “Learners Thrive with a Public Audience” ( In it he recounts being invited to attend some middle school student science presentations @ Bates College in Maine–part of a project where college & middle school students conducted scientific research. Moulton’s observation was that the students were intent on rising to occasion because the audience  included 5 adults–2 known to them and 3 total strangers. At the end of the post, Moulton poses the questions, “How do we get other adults into your classroom to be part of our kids’ audiences? Or do you take the kids’ work on the road?”

I started twittering about this because it got me interested. Here are some of my ideas:

  1. When planning presentations–from the outset–include an expectation of adult invitees so that students know that their work will be viewed by more than their peers. This means that the presentations should have value beyond the classroom. The key here is planning the activity and trying to contact the right audience.
  2. Many adults might attend just because the presenters are related or friends, but who else would be interested in these types of projects? Well, determine what type of project it is–if it’s history and local, do you have local historians, curators, archivists who might be interested? What about members of the local Legion or other veteran’s association? Is it a political issue? How about the local political parties or politicos? Is it science? Are their local research laboratories, salmon enhancement groups, water-quality community organizations, branches of local government who might be interested? Is it literary? Maybe some local experts at a college, some writers or author aficionados? Is it a school issue like bullying? Invite the administrators & school board–other parents, etc. At my previous teaching position, there was a list in the copy room of parents & community members willing to come in and support classroom activities–e.g. tutorials–in specific areas of their expertise. Why not create a similar list for potential audience members?
  3. Many local newspapers, magazines, community TV channels have websites today. Could the student presentations be incorporated–especially if related to recent or upcoming items? Could the teacher contact the local newspapers, magazines or channels to see if there are any relevant feature items in which the class might participate–or augment?
  4. Go global? Take the information or the show online–if appropriate–but the teacher must ensure that there are appropriate media releases and also where appropriate the students identities are kept secure. This means that someone viewing the project on the internet cannot identify or locate the students.

Some considerations:

  1. Does your school or district have a policy around adult visitors to a classroom? For example, do they need a police records check to make sure they are safe to be around children? You’ll need to ensure that this aspect is reasonably covered.
  2. If going online, have you sufficiently protected student identities? Do you have media releases? Could a person “find” the participants if they were to be kept anonymous?   One of my EDTE611 students recently found an animated video that some Irish students made for a class.  It was well done and provided something in the “zone of proximal development” for elementary students to see as an example. Through the available information either in the posting of the data in YouTube or via the title frames/credits in the video, I pointed out that someone could  pinpoint the school on Google Maps, could have some first names–some with last initials–the students’ grade level at the time of the project and could determine the current grade level. This person could also collect names of some trusted adults from the credits and would be able to discuss the project with them. (I had more specific information here on the video, the school and the teacher—but prefer to refer to them in more general terms for their safety.) My point is that in posting the material online, there is enough data for someone to possibly track down & identify these students—without visuals of the students themselves by chatting up some students coming/going to the specific school.

Whenever student work is shared, you as the teacher, have the ethical and moral responsibility to maintain their health & safety as it relates to their work in school. Be sure that anything you share not only has media releases, but also is shared in a way to protect students in developmentally appropriate ways–e.g. K versus grade 5, and grade 5 versus grade 12 or post-secondary.