Wednesday 18 January 2012

Actions before you sell, freecycle or recycle your old iPhone.

Written for any new Apple iPhone owner who is keen to sell, freecycle or recycle one old iPhone... or more.

Before handing your old iPhone on, it is important to protect yourself from any privacy or related security threats that may result from the misuse of your phone's information. In the rush to freecycle my iPhone 1, I have seen first-hand how easy it is to overlook the removal of some important sensitive details (ranging from email and wireless account information to my routine calendar events and research voice recordings). Fortunately, I slowed myself down long enough to spot what I hope are almost all risks. So, the first action you should take is to accede to the old maxim "act in haste, repent at leisure" and set aside time in your schedule to prepare your iPhone for handover.

N.B. Before you begin the preparation, you should consider syncing your new iPhone via iTunes to ensure your SMS, network settings, et al. are transferred to the new phone, before deleting them off the old!

Your handover preparation should initially involve a full exploration of your phone's settings, its applications and their content and settings to identify information that could be sensitive. This will enable you to have a better understanding of the amount of work you may be required to do and whether you even have time to do it! In my case, I did a not-so-leisurely review in which I spotted over ten types of sensitive information that should be erased:
  1. Financial and banking transactions listed under SMS notifications;
  2. Private SMS correspondence;
  3. Account and other information saved under personal and professional contacts;
  4. Confidential professional and personal emails;
  5. Private photo albums and un-downloaded pictures;
  6. Webpage viewing history, web cookies and bookmarks;
  7. iTunes store login details and user history;
  8. Information stored by applications; 
  9. Private notes under Notes;
  10. Calendar events (particularly those show one's personal routine); 
  11. Personal map locations (PINs that might show confidential locations);
  12. Email account settings;
  13. and wireless account settings.
My next actions were to go through each application at a time and delete their information. Since my jailbroken iPhone runs an old version of Cydia and OS 1, I was limited in the options I could follow to erase data: for example, I could not use iTunes' backup functionality to delete SMSs en-masse, nor Cydia's apps (like "Delete All SMS"). This means that the steps I took below are likely to be more lengthly than someone using OS 2, or greater, or Cydia's current version.

This was probably the most frustrating aspect, as Apple does not allow bulk deletion of SMSs. As Charlie Brown would say when faced with deleting four years worth of SMSs,  "AAUUUGGGGHHHH!" The best I could do was to (1) delete conversations, (2) delete individual messages and (3) ignore non-sensitive SMSs.

Even after deselecting the photo syncing option and running a sync, my photos were still on the iPhone. As a work-around, I selected the option "sync select albums", but did not choose any photo album. After running the sync, iPhone's iPhoto app then opened up with a pleasing "no photos" message.

Similar to erasing my photos, I had to do a special type of sync to erase almost all contact details. After creating a group, I selected the "syncing to a group" option. After syncing, this cleared the many contacts that were not in that group.

Calendar events
Under calendar events, I selected a calendar with no important information (i.e. sleep) and specified that my iPhone should only sync with that calendar. After syncing, this cleared all calendar items not of that calendar type.

This was simple; once I deleted my email accounts, the emails linked to them were cleared.

After checking that I had indeed emailed all notes to myself, I deleted all notes.

Browser cookies, bookmarks and browsing history
I used preferences to clear my iPhone Safari browser's cookies and cache history. I then used the bookmarks organiser to delete all my potentially sensitive ones (for example, banking and investment sites and those used for social networking and self-publication).

Under Maps, I checked that I had deleted any important place information (ie. removing a "pin" for my home address).

I deleted all my downloaded apps in iTunes. These were removed after syncing.

One's wireless account settings, bluetooth connected devices, et al. all lurk under iPhone's preferences button. This area merits close attention; all personal preferences should be removed.

After following these actions, I synced the old iPhone to iTunes, ejected it and double-checked that the information had been erased. Having done my best to ensure that any information left on the iPhone posed negligible risk, my next actions were to find a trustworthy person to freecycle the iPhone to. Then to provide her with a few tips on its safe use. In my case, these were instructions for the new owner on what not to do (select those big "update" or "restore" buttons in iTunes) and what to do (set auto-lock and a password under preferences and overwrite my old info with her laptop's by running an iTunes sync as soon as she could).

I hope this post proves helpful; please let me know if there are any other actions one should consider taking in the comments box, below. Much appreciated!

Saturday 7 January 2012

Developing a qualitative research coding index for first-year, university students' ICT practices

This post was written for researchers interested in the background to the fourth phase of the ICT Access and Use qualitative research project's coding process.

The fourth phase of the IDRC-funded Centre for Educational Technology's ICT Access and Use project uses digital ethnographies to understand how twenty six, first-year students at four South African Universities used Information Communication Technology (ICT) for study and leisure purposes last year.

This research phase saw four researchers at the universities of Cape Town, Rhodes, Orange Free State and Fort Hare prepare eight sets data:
  1. A series of interview videos between the university's researcher and his or her subjects;
  2. Videos of focus groups;
  3. Videos of ICT use at home;
  4. Videos of formal and informal mobile phone video use; 
  5. Videos of social media and internet use;
  6. Videos University software use (such as learning management systems)
  7. Screengrabs of Facebook use;
  8. and documents of the researchers' reflections.
NVivo 9 software has been used to import these media files for coding and qualitative analysis. However, before either of these could start, Cheryl BrownLaura CzerniewiczKelsey Wiens and I worked at preparing  classifications and a coding index that could be queried for most of the project's research questions, whilst being robust enough to answer any new questions that might arise.

Preparing this coding followed these eight steps:

1 Kelsey and I reviewed the project's documents and transcribed key points from student interviews;

2 I illustrated these points on two large cyan posters with yellow stickies (these were very useful for re-grouping concepts on the board);

ICT Access and Use phase four coding poster (9 January, 2012).
3 These points were reviewed internally and presented externally to the universities' researchers and their most engaged students;

4 Kelsey and I separated the points that were to be used for classification or coding;

5 Kelsey developed a numeric index in creating the Google document: "Past ICT Use 1". I followed this index in developing "Current ICT Use 2" and "Future ICT Use 3";

6 We reviewed these documents internally and revised them;

7 I then added these codes to the NVivo research project file and am now using them to code student interviews;

8 As I apply these codes using node shortcuts, I am also updating the "ICT Use" documents with new codes to describe ideas that may prove useful for querying later.

Below is an example of how these codings have been added to a video in the research project file:
Screengrab of coding for Ace's first interview in NVivo 9. (9 January, 2012).
I trust this post enables you understand the coding process we followed?

If you have a question, suggestion or other feedback, please type it as a comment below.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

The optimal adoption of Web 2.0 services in seven stages for Visual Arts and Design educators

Written for secondary and tertiary Visual Arts and Visual Design educators and decision makers.

The optimal process for a Visual Arts or Design educator to adopt Web 2.0 services (like social bookmarking and electronic learning portfolios) could involve these seven stages:
  1. Personal experimentation with social network services;
  2. Exploration of online services for curricular adoption;
  3. Personal use of these services;
  4. Achieving school management buy-in;
  5. Introduction of online services in a curriculum;
  6. Sustained adoption of these services in the syllabus;
  7. Self-publication with other web2.0-based services.
1. Personal experimentation with social network services.
Post the online self-publishing revolution, educators with an insider mindset will appreciate that the affordances offered by new technologies makes the world different for them and their students. As an example, Dr Paul Redmond highlighted in his talk; "GENerally speaking: Generation Y, Digital Natives and the challenges facing higher education" how the Millenial generation comes to university with different pedagogical expectations to previous generations based on their experience of growing up with technology. In particular, Dr Redmond argues that students now want interaction, peer-learning, contact and control. As a result, he encourages university educators to reconsider their curricular designs in light of addressing millenials' expectations.

Based on initial experiences with a few Visual Arts educators, I would argue that they are better able to appreciate the potential benefits of including Web2.0 services (such as social bookmarking and electronic learning portfolios) into their syllabi, after having personal experience of online social networking services' {such as Facebook or Google+} benefits. Through first-hand experience of finding old friends and colleagues, posting status updates, sharing pictures and other content, then rating it, educators can begin to appreciate how online media use might benefit them and why social network services are proving popular, particularly with their students.

2. Exploration of online services for curricular adoption.
It is important that Visual Arts and Design educators understand that there are many Web2.0 services outside the most popular social networking ones. Some of these are particularly useful to contemporary visual creative professionals. My research focuses on two types: 

Firstly, the varied online portfolio services that are used by creatives. These can be re-purposed to create free electronic learning portfolios (e-portfolios) in new syllabi at schools {ideally meeting these criteria}.

Secondly, social bookmarking services (such as Delicious and Diigo) make it easy for educators to create an archive of digital learning materials and to share relevant ones with different grades. This is particularly useful for sharing online museums', art magazines' and local galleries' content.

While my research originally promoted the use of online portfolios before social bookmarking's use, I now encourage the latter's use first; it faces fewer technical barriers and can be integrated more easily into educators' existing pedagogical practices. For example, students can be given exercises to search online galleries, track down artists' paintings and bookmark those not accessible in their textbooks or other curricular materials.

3. Personal use of these services.
In using online services for the first time, educators are likely to be exposed to digital literacies and new literacies they are inexperienced with: an example in using social bookmarking is bookmarking a website with appropriate tags, then sharing it with a list of users. Another is researching a service's preferred syntax for tags, exploring users who have contributed the most in a tag of interest, then searching their contributions to bookmark the most relevant sites.

Through personal use of online services, educators can develop their digital/new literacies, whilst being better able to motivate for, and adopt, online services into new curricula and syllabi.

4. Achieving school management buy-in.
Ideally, the educator should prepare a pedagogical rationale for management and his or her department's staff which provides credible justification for the curricular adoption of new media. Providing sound grounds for securing management support is vital: the initial resourcing required to support these services is likely to be underestimated and management support for additional funding could be essential for sustained adoption. An educator may also need school management to provide additional teaching resources, IT and policy support, plus online publication integration to fully realize any new curriculum's potential.

5. Introduction of online services in a curriculum.
In the complex schooling environment, the successful adoption of online services into a new curriculum depends largely on; school management support, the educator's pedagogical choices and students co-adoption of the service.

My research focuses on the latter's choices with portfolio and social bookmarking services, as their use of these services is likely to have the greatest influence on whether their educator chooses to sustain the curricular adoption, or not. So far, my research has revealed  
the importance of educators choosing a grade that is keen to achieve success in the Visual Arts or Design subject in launching the new curriculum. Alternatively, the curriculum can be adopted as an after hours activity with keen volunteers.

Research also highlights the importance of integrating the e-portfolio and social bookmarking curriculums with activities throughout the syllabus (rather than seeing the curriculum as a once-off, add-on). Only through sustained use of online services can students learn how to best use new media and produce showcase work.

6. Sustained adoption of these services in the syllabus.
After the initial adoption has proven successful, the educator should take steps to ensure that the use of online services in the Visual Arts or Design syllabi are sustainable. Three examples of these by a private school's Visual Arts department head were: improving his class' resourcing and ensuring his students were given access to digitization equipment in the school's library and computer lab, thereby addressing time constraints with scanning; getting school management approval for his department's new policy that all students from grade 10 to 12 should develop e-portfolios, and documenting how the best examples of previous student work could be linked on the school's Visual Arts website section. The educator has also been active in promoting the use of e-portfolios and social bookmarking to other educators at his school and in Cape Town.

7. Self-publication with other web2.0-based services.
The Department of Education encourages Visual Arts and Design educators to develop their own curricular learning materials. For educators who have visited interesting sites (such as those highlighted in one of my favorite documentaries; "A Country Imagined") and used their own curricular materials {such as descriptions, photographs and drawings} in developing classroom presentations, a site like Slideshare offers a platform to share one's presentations with a global audience. Another option is to share one's teaching via a blog (see the Monni Abbott's Art Class blog for a good example by a local art teacher).

By self-publishing one's educational content, educators not only have the opportunity to meet like-minded people online, they can also can raise the profile of South Africa and its artists online. A real win-win situation :) !

So, do you think these stages are optimal? Please let this blog's readership know by submitting your comment below. We appreciate your feedback.

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