Weekly roundup

Our regular summary of news in education and technology, and you can contribute. Submissions of tips and stories will be gratefully appreciated (Contact Us), and don’t forget to tell us your name and sources.

Technology

The Dutch man only known as Aydin C has been sentenced and is to be extradited to Canada for cyberbullying related crimes that led to the 2012 suicide of fifteen year old Amanda Todd (BBC). The extradition now only needs to be approved by the Dutch justice minister. Amanda Todd’s case was popularised after she posted her story online in 2012, and especially following her suicide only a few weeks later.

Cyberbullying affects about 28% of teenagers (http://cyberbullying.org/statistics) affecting children as young as 10. The most common forms include mean or hurtful comments, rumors, and other forms (http://cyberbullying.org/2010-data). There are a things parents and teachers can do, see here: http://cyberbullying.org/resources/educators, http://stopcyberbullying.org/, and https://www.stopbullying.gov.

Education

The cherry blossoms (aka, sakura) are blooming right now in Japan, and that means the start of a new academic year here. We wish you the best.

Cherry blossoms in Japan.
Cherry blossoms in Japan.

There are some great books about Computer Assisted Language Learning available for pre-order on Amazon, which will essential for our language teaching members. They are:

Conferences

The joint Applied Linguistics Conference for ALANZ, ALAA, and ALTAANZ has a call for submissions for their conference to be held on 27-29th Nov 2017, at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Auckland New Zealand. Close of submissions is 1st May 2017. Details via ALAA.

JALT Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) annual conference will be 16th to 18th June 2017, at Matsuyama University, Ehime Prefecture, Japan. HelloSpace.Me will be there. Details at JALT CALL.

The British Association of Applied Linguists (BAAL) annual conference will be held in the University of Leeds, from 31st Aug to 2nd Sept 2017. Submissions have closed. Details at BAAL.

The Pan Asian Consortium of Language Teaching Societies and KOTESOL will be co-hosting their annual conferences at Sookmyung Women’s University, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea, from 21st to 22nd October 2017. Call for submissions due 31st May 2017. Details at KOTESOL.

The Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT) will hold their annual conference at Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, from 17th to 20th November. Submissions are already closed. Details at JALT.

Weekly roundup

We intend to do a regular summary of news in education and technology, and you can contribute. Submissions of tips and stories will be gratefully appreciated (Contact Us), and don’t forget to tell us your name and key sources.

Education

It was recently announced that the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers of the UK are to merge to form the National Education Union (NEU; BBC).

We just learnt that @ashakayb on Twitter teaches social media to her students (Via @XQAmerica). Being language and online communication specialists ourselves, we find this super cool, and wish we knew what curriculum she uses.

Tech

The US government has recently voted to allow US-based internet service providers spy on your internet activities and sell them (Ars Technica, TNW). Who are the buyers? The main group is likely to be advertisers, but the reality is anyone, including political parties, social agenda groups, religions, literally anyone willing to pay. Ars Technica reports,

The Senate vote was 50-48, with lawmakers voting entirely along party lines. “President Trump may be outraged by fake violations of his own privacy, but every American should be alarmed by the very real violation of privacy that will result [from] the Republican roll-back of broadband privacy protections,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said after the vote.

According to The Next Web, US-based ISPs can now potentially do the following to their customers:

  • Selling your data to marketers

  • Hijacking searches

  • Snooping through your internet traffic and inserting ads

  • Pre-installing software on your phone and recording your activity

  • Injecting undetectable, undeletable tracking cookies in all of your unsecured web traffic

HelloSpace.Me wishes to remind teachers that they have a responsibility not to threaten your students’ future by denying them the privacy of their learning space. The classroom has traditionally been a space where young people can try different ideas, and later learn why some are valid and some are flawed. Students’ digital history should not be used against them down the road. It is still possible that the bill can be vetoed by the US President; however, that seems unlikely. All HelloSpace.Me members should be aware that this is only US law, and it should only affect US-based people, not the rest of the world. HelloSpace.Me will never sell our member’s or their visitor’s data.

 

Be wary and be safe on the internet, especially women. The BBC reported a spear phising incident targeting a lady recently (BBC). In the story, the woman was asked for her email and password access for her FaceBook account by “a friend”. The attacker had taken over her friend’s FaceBook account and was using it to launch such attacks. Within minutes, the lady’s digital life was taken from her, and the attacker won access to her iCloud account and her photos. He then attempted to extort the woman (details on the BBC). Never give your passwords to anyone for any reason. Never use the same password on multiple accounts, and avoid “daisy chaining”. That is, where all of your online accounts are connected, and so it is possible to take over multiple accounts in one attack. Finally, use 2-Factor Authentication especially on important accounts.

Conferences

The joint Applied Linguistics Conference for ALANZ, ALAA, and ALTAANZ has a call for submissions for their conference to be held on 27-29th Nov 2017, at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Auckland New Zealand. Close of submissions is 1st May 2017. Details via ALAA.

JALT Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) annual conference will be 16th to 18th June 2017, at Matsuyama University, Ehime Prefecture, Japan. HelloSpace.Me will be there. Details at JALT CALL.

The British Association of Applied Linguists (BAAL) annual conference will be held in the University of Leeds, from 31st Aug to 2nd Sept 2017. Submissions due 31st March 2017. Details at BAAL.

The Pan Asian Consortium of Language Teaching Societies and KOTESOL will be co-hosting their annual conferences at Sookmyung Women’s University, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea, from 21st to 22nd October 2017. Call for submissions due 31st May 2017. Details at KOTESOL.

The Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT) will hold their annual conference at Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, from 17th to 20th November. Submissions are already closed. Details at JALT.

Weekly roundup

We intend to do a regular summary of news in education and technology, and you can contribute. Submissions of tips and stories will be gratefully appreciated (Contact Us), and don’t forget to tell us your name and key sources.

Education

Congratulations to Maggie MacDonnell of Canada for winning the prestigious Global Teacher Prize, and the $1 million that goes with it (BBC; Global Teacher Prize). Also congratulations to the other finalists who are also listed on the Global Teacher Prize website.

Maggie MacDonnell – Global Teacher Prize 2017 Winner from Varkey Foundation on Vimeo.

Tech

Japan Today reports that major US tech companies are ordered by the EU to abide by consumer protection and privacy laws (Japan Today). Infringements by FaceBook, Google, Twitter, and others included selling of customer data, lack of fraud protection, and requiring EU citizens to lodge claims in Californian courts, among other breaches. US tech companies have less than one month to re-write their terms of service. HelloSpace.Me would like to remind our customers that we do not sell customer data, and we have our servers hosted in Switzerland so that your personal data is protected under robust Swiss laws.

Australian celebrity Tara Moss’s documentary on cyberbullying and children was aired last week (ABC). A must watch for educators and parents a like. The documentary sparked discussions about the appropriate age of introducing children to social media, supervision, and teaching online citizenship.

Conferences

TESOL International Convention is currently underway in Seattle (TESOL). It runs from the 21st to 24th March.

The joint Applied Linguistics Conference for ALANZ, ALAA, and ALTAANZ has a call for submissions for their conference to be held on 27-29th Nov 2017, at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Auckland New Zealand. Close of submissions is 1st May 2017. Details via ALAA.

JALT Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) annual conference will be 16th to 18th June 2017, at Matsuyama University, Ehime Prefecture, Japan. HelloSpace.Me will be there. Details at JALT CALL.

The British Association of Applied Linguists (BAAL) annual conference will be held in the University of Leeds, from 31st Aug to 2nd Sept 2017. Submissions due 31st March 2017. Details at BAAL.

The Pan Asian Consortium of Language Teaching Societies and KOTESOL will be co-hosting their annual conferences at Sookmyung Women’s University, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea, from 21st to 22nd October 2017. Call for submissions due 31st May 2017. Details at KOTESOL.

The Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT) will hold their annual conference at Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, from 17th to 20th November. Submissions are already closed. Details at JALT.

Golden Hour! Here’s to the weekend

We’re busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy. However, the weekend is the chance to forget marking and lesson planning, collapse onto the couch without (too much) guilt, and catch up on some Netflix, and eat food that wasn’t prepared in the microwave. It’s a time to escape a little and fly free. Be it weekend sport, hiking, feeding seagulls, a pub, whatever you do to relax and unwind. Share with us what you do on your weekends. What we really want is your inspirational photos of the weekend, especially sunrise or sunset photos (we have to keep with the theme of “the golden hour”). Each week we will share the best of the golden hour photos to help kick off the weekend. Tell us what you got up to and share your photos here: Contact Us. Most of all, enjoy your weekend.

Tell us:

  • Subject: Golden Hour Submission
  • Your name (internet pseudonym is fine)
  • Event
  • Location
  • Date (day month year)
  • Comment or short story
Seagulls in a frenzy whilst being throw food, by the sea at Batemans Bay, Australia.
Seagulls in a frenzy whilst being throw food, by the sea at Batemans Bay, Australia.

By submitting your photos, you are granting us permission to use the photo specifically for this theme. The photos may be shared and distributed via other social media controlled by HelloSpace.Me including Twitter & Instagram. However, do expect that there may be nasty trolls who may take from us and reuse your wonderful photos without permission; such is the sadness out there on the internet. However, please share photos that you are most proud of, but with the expectation that we may lose control of them. We will not resell your photos, and if we wish to reuse them, we will get in touch with you about that first. Sadly, we can’t share them all, but don’t let unpublished photos discourage you. Please keep sending them in.

How to choose a domain name

HelloSpace.Me is designed especially for busy teachers who have other important things to do. We take the pain, difficulty, and the hard work out of setting up a new website. Whilst we have done this for you, there are some things that you need to do yourself. After all, it’s your website, it’s your unique space for you to be you. The first and most important thing is your stamp of authenticity, uniqueness, you: your domain name.

Using WordPress, CC0 Pixabay, https://www.pexels.com/photo/business-coffee-composition-computer-265667/
Using WordPress, CC0 Pixabay, https://www.pexels.com/photo/business-coffee-composition-computer-265667/

Twenty years ago it was easy to get a domain that is simple and straight forward. For instance, if your name was John Smith, in the 1990’s you could get john.com, because no one else had. Early 2000’s, janesmith.com might have still been available. At time of writing, I didn’t even bother checking to see if johnsmith.com or janesmith.com are available; I am certain they’re already taken. So, where does that leave all the other John and Jane Smiths, and you? Well think about it, “janesmith.com” sounds like the most boring place to be on the web. It sounds like it could be a law firm. However, we’re not lawyers, we’re teachers. We can afford to be a little fun, a little unique, a little creative.

There is a creative trend in naming and, err… domaining websites, if I can make up a word. One trend I’ve noticed on the web is to go for compound binomials, which means two nouns with no space between them. Here are some examples, DropBox, FaceBook, MySpace, Netflix, BufferApp, WalkFree, DailyTekk, PureVPN, and others. Another trend is to misspell words, like Flickr, DailyTekk, Tawk, and others. A trend of a few years ago is to use abbreviations, including TNW (The Next Web), IFTTT (If This Then That), and others.

A current trend that I really like is a little more poetic. My favourite example is “Life After Gravity”, which actually is an Instagram account showing photos taken from a drone looking directly down over interesting landscape (see here). I love that account, the photos, and especially the name. Not to mention, the melding of the words Instant and Telegram, which makes “Instagram”. So, what should you do?

Be fun, be creative, be a little “deep and meaningful”, or be boring. Whatever you like. A science teacher could use “ThroughTheMicroscope”, a play on “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, especially apt if your name is Alice, and you’re biology fanatic; or a derivation of it, “AliceTTM”. An art teacher could use “WetOils”, or “PaintingTheMidnightOil”. A PE teacher could use “SmellySneakers”, “Smeakers”, or “MrSmithsRecordBreakers”. Take some time to think of something a little fun, but don’t go for tacky or kitsch, you may regret it later.

The last thing to consider is the Top Level Domain, known as TLD (Wikipedia). There are three types, standard, country code (ccTLD), and generic (gTLD). The standards are harder to get, because these have been around since the 1990’s. These include .com, .net, and .org. Most teachers probably won’t bother with these, as the real estate is basically all bought up. ccTLD’s are perhaps better to try, like .co.uk, .net.au, .co.jp, .com.tw, and so on. These were for the UK, Australia, Japan, and Taiwan. All countries, including the US (.us) has ccTLDs. Also, teachers should consider the generic TLDs like .me (obviously), .asia, .blog, .bike, .guru, .coffee (for the more whimsical), .info, .online, .science, and more. Small schools and tutors could consider .cafe, .education, .meet, .school, and others. Consider an English language teacher in Japan with, “AndrewsEFL.cafe”, sounds relaxing, pleasant, and descriptive; everything I’d want in a language teacher.

Not all TLDs are the same. There is the assumption by domain registrars that TLDs are as important as actual real estate. They are a kind of real estate address, but when some are priced at over USD$13,000 per year, you probably won’t see those go any time soon, unless it is something memorable like lawyer.com, business.tax, or tax.biz. What about johnsmith.asia? That might be available, and the typical price might be about USD$30 per year. How about smeakers.blog? I did check this out, and it’s available and currently priced at about USD$35 per year. Smeakers.com isn’t available, but might have gone for about USD$15 per year. Unusually, the .com’s are cheaper than the gTLDs, despite the land rush is long over, and the space there is getting pretty cramped.

Why did I say that the price is “about”? Most web hosts sell a domain and TLD together in your hosting package. Other webhosts require you to buy your domain elsewhere first, then transfer to them. HelloSpace.Me/host/ has an easy flow of selecting and buying the domain and TLD, getting the hosting account, webspace, and set up in a very tightly designed smooth sequence. We worked hard on making the process as simple as possible for you. Also, hosting companies like us have certain restrictions on prices, and the prices are based on a number of factors that are out of our control. HelloSpace.Me has been very careful with who we have tied our system to, so we are able to offer great deals to our members.

Want to get your own domain, web space, and website within 5 minutes? We’re always ready to help you at HelloSpace.Me/host/.

Are there any restrictions? Yes. .mil is for the US military, .edu is for American universities and other approved educational institutions, .gov is for the US government, and so too .gov.au is for various Australian government departments. Also, .com.au is only available for Australian registered businesses with an ABN. Almost all countries will have some sort of restrictions, and so look these up before you commit to something that might not be appropriate. The most common restriction is on using trademarks and other people’s names for domain names; so you can’t get tomcruise.com (unless you are a Tom Cruise). Often, the word “bank” is not allowed, unless you of course have a legally registered bank of any type (like a blood bank). For language teachers, can they use “wordbank.com”? Possibly, because it doesn’t imply finance, and it’s binomial made into a single word. However, in this case, you really should check with the domain registrar or a suitably qualified lawyer first. I think most people will be fine to go ahead and register a domain without needing to check on any restrictions, especially if it’s your own name, or nicely poetic. If you’re still uncertain, we might be able to help, contact us. Finally, remember you are ultimately responsible for all your actions on the internet.

 

Hello world!

Yay! Another part of HelloSpace.Me is alive! Our first full announcement was made in the hosting section, where we humorously quoted Dr Frankenstein making the same announcement (here). We’ve been working hard on putting the various components together. This includes researching, planning, trialing, investigating, deleting, coffee, trialing some more, more coffee, you get the idea.

We’re really excited about what there is to come. We’ve a thousand ideas, and it’s just a matter of getting through the to-do list, one item at a time. Lots more to do, and sorry to leave you here, but it’s coffee time again.