Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.

Archive for April, 2009

Down by the river…
April 12th, 2009

Went for a walk down by the Singapore River today. It was a overcast yet humid.
I eventually walked down to Pagoda Street to have some lunch. The gopuram on the Sri Mariamman temple is being renovated.
The Singapore River appeared quite brown today. Made for some contrast in the photographs. More to come.


Sent via iPhone with a little help from Posterous.

Posted via email from Watershed Lite

Pacific Ocean by Windang Beach
April 10th, 2009

Shao-Ping, Mary and I have been beachcombing down at Windang Beach. It is a great afternoon. A change is on the way.


Sent via iPhone from the sea-shore.

Posted via email from Watershed Lite

Down in the urban jungle
April 9th, 2009

Sootie has settled for camouflage beneath the yam plant and the agapantha. He is on his morning exploration around that part of the garden that is his “run”. We keep him clear of the parrots and other birds in the main part of the garden.


Sent via iPhone and Posterous.

Posted via email from Watershed Lite

Mass communication
April 6th, 2009

Just reconfigured Posterous. With this single email from my phone I am updating my blog Watershed, my Flickr account, Facebook, Posterous and Twitter.
Sunset at Tioman Island.


Sent via iPhone.

Posted via email from Watershed Lite

Avatars and educators
April 6th, 2009

Yesterday I raised the issue of avatars and educators on Twitter. I follow a number of teachers, social commentators, relatives and organisations on Twitter and vice versa. There is a wide variety of avatars among those that I follow.

A number of teachers and educators that I follow do not utilise a personal photograph for their avatar. Their avatars range from comic book characters through to line drawings, second-life portraits, logos and animals. Some educators utilise images of themselves taken as children or even images of their own children.

Personally I have utilised all of the images below. My current Twitter avatar is the final photograph on the right.

I utilise a portrait photograph as it represents me. What you see is what you get. As an educator, as a teacher I feel that is the correct approach for myself to take if I am to blog and tweet professionally.

I raised this point on Twitter and it generated a conversation between Lyndon Sharp and myself. I reproduce the conversation below in chronological order top to bottom.

John Larkin: My avatar was once a favourite photo of me as a young kid but then I felt it was a little weird. Some might feel it is misleading. Thoughts?

Lyndon Sharp@john_larkin Twitter avatar choice: room here for PhD research project. Quirky? Cartoon? Provocative? School Yrbk approach? Best portrait?

John Larkin: @lyndons Initially I had no concern regarding the avatar of me as a youth but then felt it would possibly mislead.

John Larkin: @lyndons We teach our students to be wary of those they communicate with as they may not be what they seem. So, what about teacher avatars?

Lyndon Sharp@john_larkin Avatar choice *is* as yet unstudied. Competing interests: need fr privacy, desire fr openness & projection of self-image…

John Larkin: @lyndons this idea re avatar is interesting. What are we trying to project? One’s employment can have an impact.

Lyndon Sharp: @john_larkin I get th feeling people more experienced in Social Media tend to choose something other thn a photo-portrait: a small privacy?

John Larkin: @lyndons yes, self-employed, consultants, etc have more latitude on their choice.

Perhaps, at Lyndon suggests, this question or issue could be the focus of a research project. If a teacher chooses to blog or publish online professionally in an open manner should their profile avatar be a reasonably recent portrait photograph or not? 

Some may even feel that a portrait photograph is simply more professional. At least a recent photograph. What do you think? Is this too retrograde? Too conservative?

Should educators consider the views of other potential stakeholders: employers, students, parents?

Perhaps an educator is blogging incognito. Their choice of avatar may not be an issue in this case.

It is an interesting question. A possible conundrum. As Lyndon indicates there are competing interests.

What is your position on this? Not an issue? Free country?