This tag is associated with 6 posts

Just how shady can this Pearson story get? Very, apparently.

What we know so far:

Pearson monitors students’ and others’ social media for mention of Pearson, its tests, etc.

It then finds a student has Tweeted about a PARCC test they had just completed.

The Tweet didn’t have a photo of the test.

The student had not signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

Pearson work out what school the student goes to.

In a twist of irony, '1984' is published by a subsidiary of Pearson.

In a twist of irony, ‘1984’ is published by a subsidiary of Pearson.

Pearson alert the education department about the ‘priority 1 item breach’, asking it to be dealt with.

The education department contact the testing coordinator at the student’s school.

The information passed on says the Tweet was done during the test and had a photo attached: It did not.

The student was contacted and deleted the Tweet.

The student’s parent was talked to.

The parent was very concerned to find their child’s social media had been monitored this way.

Bob Braun wrote a piece about the affair.

Bob’s blog suffers a Denial of Service (DoS) attack by unknown hacktivist/s.

People discuss Pearson’s use of Tracx to “monitor and listen” to what people are saying about them on social media.

Tracx gets their Pearson page taken down.

Pearson put out a press release saying they behaved perfectly responsibly….


~ Dianne

Sources and further reading:

Pearson Snooping on school students’ social media? 

Bob Braun’s Ledger – Breaking: Pearson NJ spying on social media of students taking PARCC tests

Tracx and Pearson (This is a cached copy, in case it’s still down)

Pearson’s statement

Bob Braun on Twitter

Bob Braun on Facebook

Washington Post: Pearson monitoring social media for security breaches during PARCC testing



Pearson snooping on school students’ social media?

There’s a growing outrage after reports today that Pearson Publishing have been spying on students.  It is also reported that Pearson is working with some US education departments to censure students who have discussed tests on social media after taking them. Pearson apparently likes to call this ‘listening and monitoring‘.


Image sourced from Bob Braun’s Ledger:

I have some questions:

  • do the students sign a non disclosure agreement (NDA) prior to the test?
  • would an NDA be valid if signed by a minor?
  • can Pearson or the education department truly order a school to discipline a student who mentions a test on social media after taking it?
  • do Pearson understand we are in a digital age and discussing matters on social media is akin to talking face to face for many kids?
  • has Pearson read 1984, and if so, were they taking tips from Winston?
  • how is this a sane education system?

No doubt more will unfold on this.

US parents, if your child is harassed regarding test-taking, opting out, or anything relating to tests, you may wish to file a civil rights complaint.

Kiwi parents and teachers, if you are are thinking this doesn’t affect you, remember two things:

* all Kiwi kids have a National Student Number from the day they enter the education system, and

* the TPPA will allow companies to sue countries that they feel infringe on their trade…

Welcome to the loony world of Education Reform.

~ Dianne



Fighting for Education – How Social Media Can Help

likeIt’s all well and good having a fabulous point of view or a mind-blowing notion to share, but if no-one sees it, then it’s pretty pointless.  This is where social media can help.

Why bother with all of that, I hear you cry?

If you don’t need to get your message out or aren’t that fussed, then you needn’t bother at all.

But if you DO want others to see/read/share/interact, then it’s pretty crucial you get to grips with at least the two main media out there – facebook and Twitter.

Why? Can’t folk find stuff themselves?

Well, first of all you have to remember people are busy.  People often haven’t the time  to go searching to the ins and outs of something, even when they are interested.  And even if they do want to, they might not find it if the search engines don’t index it (more on that later).

Second of all, bear in mind that some people are lazy.  If information is not handed to them on a plate in a nice easy format, then they won’t bother reading on.  So getting it in front of their eyes really helps 🙂

social media

To be successful, you must


your message out there


make sure it is easy to follow


easy to share.

This is where Facebook and Twitter come into their own.

The merits of facebook

  • It is very easy to share stuff with your friends and other groups
  • Your message, if pitched well, can easily go viral and reach well beyond your own or your page’s audience.
  • News flashes are usually shared fairly quickly after they break.
  • Stuff is there for people to find long after you post it – although they do have to look for it.
  • It’s a good place to gather (or join) a like-minded group and share information.
  • Groups and pages are a good way to discuss ideas with others.
  • Groups allow you to filter out people who are acting poorly or just there to cause a fuss.  (Don’t confuse that with filtering out dissenters, though – argument and discussion are good, so long as it is well mannered)
  • Facebook is a good place to join other groups of interest and then re-share their content when it is of interest to your group.
  • You can use the photo albums to collect not just photos but also interesting memes.

Why you might consider Twitter

  • Twitter allows you to follow people and groups of interest easily.
  • The people you follow will retweet things of interest from their own Tweeps*, allowing you to find new people of interest to follow.
  • Breaking news is immediate on Twitter – often well before television and radio news catches up – – you can always do a search for the topic you are interested in to see what the latest news is.
  • You can search for topics that interest you
  • You can use hashtags to highlight the topic of your post/s  (This is a hashtag —>  #)
  • You can share your own messages as well as others’ messages
  • You can re-tweet messages at different points in the day, to reach different audiences
  • You can link to articles on the internet
  • You can share photos and uploads
  • Twitter has great groups that meet live to discuss things – in education, for example #edchat and #edchatNZ have fabulous virtual meet ups and discussion.
  • You can unfollow Tweeps with the click of a button
  • No inbox or news stream clogging up – just go and see what’s happening at any given time.

Building an Audience

If you have a blog or an internet page, both facebook and Twitter can help you disseminate your posts to a wider audience and bring traffic to and from your page.  This tells the search engines that your page may be of interest.  The exact machination of how search engines rate pages is a well-kept secret, but it reliably assumed that if people click into and out of your page from and to pages with similar themes and interests, then your page is worthwhile in that field.  So pertinent links are valuable on your web pages and blogs not just for getting people there initially but also for bringing more viewers in the long term.

Getting People to  your Petitions, Surveys, Submissions and so on

If you want people to fill in a survey, send in a submission or sign a petition, writing about it on a blog or web page is a good start, but if you want to increase traffic and get more people interested, you must promote that web page on both facebook and Twitter.  Other interested parties will see it and share it, and a wider audience is found that way.

Managing Your Posts

If you want to plan your posts in advance rather than sitting at your computer all day and night, use a free service such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or similar (there’s a list of 10 of the good ones here).  They allow you to set up posts in advance, which is great for announcements, hitting different audiences, and for people too busy to do it any other way.

There you go – that gives you the bones of what to do, why and how.  If you have any questions, just ask – I am not an expert, just a sad old geek who likes to faff, but I will do my utmost to answer your questions and help where I can.

Good luck – now go get Tweeting and posting!  


*Tweeps – the people you follow or who follow you on Twitter.

Go take a peek at Twitter

Look at SOSNZ on facebook

One Person Can’t Change Much, Can They?

SOSNZ logoNever underestimate what you can do – especially if you are a teacher.

I’m not changing the world on a grand scale – but I know I’m making a difference and that every little helps.

You don’t have to be Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi or Malcolm X to do something.

Why Did You Start The Blog?

My little something is to use my love of social media to share the many things I read about education.  I thought a few others might like to read them too.  Turns out I was wrong… it wasn’t just a few that wanted to read them, but thousands.  Huh!  Go figure.

The first ever post was this one … “Nice Easy Solutions“.  Not a bad start, if I say so myself 😉

Ten Thousand Hits and Counting

Here are some whimsical facts about the blog, to celebrate our ten thousandth hit – yahoo!

  • Started in May 2012
  • Got a thrilling 35 hits in its first month!
  • By mid October, it had got 10,000 hits!!
  • Readers are mostly from NZ, but also from UK, USA, Australia, Japan, Canada, Singapore, India and about 50 other countries, including 8 hits from Finland, and one hit each from as far afield as Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Mexico and Bangladesh.
  • Most hits in one day was 574 on the day the Christchurch closures/mergers/relocations were announced.
  • Traffic comes mostly from Facebook, Search engines and Twitter but from about 60 sources in total.
  • Most intriguing search term that lead to us ‘How to write apology letter to teacher’
  • Most comments have been by Barbara – thanks 🙂

Top Five Posts So Far ( Oct 22, 2012)

So, what will you do to make even more of a difference?   Click on the ‘Act Now’ tab at the top, and make a start.

Because, if I can do it, anyone can!


PS thank you to all the readers so far – you make it all so much more fun than just rambling on to myself… 😉

Reflections on the SOSNZ Blog

As a committed blogger and social media junkie, it’s fascinating for me to see how many people visit the page each day, where they come from, and where they click out to from here.  It’s quite telling to look at the search terms that got them to the page, too.

It’ll come as no surprise that this week the main search terms have been ‘save our schools’, ‘Christchurch school protest”, ‘untrained teachers’, ‘save Freeville School’, ‘Save Christchurch schools’,  and a host of others along the same lines.   The announcement last week that the Ministry had plans to close, relocate and merge a number of Canterbury schools after what amounted to a minimum of consultation has sent shockwaves through the area and indeed through the country.

People come to the blog from all over the world, not just New Zealand.  Some no doubt arrive due to search terms that are not quite specific enough (I loved the four Romanians that found me this week by searching ‘apology letter for fighting at school), but as a huge number click out to related pages, it does look like most find themselves on a useful page and want to read more.  That’s always good to know, as a blogger.  There’s no point doing this if I’m talking to myself, and little point if it’s just me and the four Romanian prize fighters…

Since the Christchurch schools announcement, about a tenth of all people coming to the blog have clicked out to the Ministry of Education documents Directions for Educational Renewal in greater Christchurch and Future Directions.  People want to – maybe need to – know the finer detail of what is going on, what is already decided, what might be changed, who was consulted, and any clue as to why those particular decisions were made.  It all comes down to one word: Why?

As always, many have gone out to Facebook, to look at either the SOSNZ page there or other linked pages, such as Save Chisnallwood Intermediate – DO NOT CLOSE – Save Avondale primary and Save Freeville School.  I hope it’s helped people find a place to share their thoughts and support each other.

A sizeable number have gone off to the petition, Vote Canterbury Kids, no doubt to add their names to the hundreds that have signed already.  That gave me a little grin, I have to say.

Writing a blog isn’t much.  I’m not out there on the front line, I’m not marching down a street (although it has been known).  But it’s better than sitting at home muttering and doing nothing.

So if you feel concerned, angry, bewildered or just want to know more, do something.  Blog, Tweet, talk to your friends, go to meetings, read the news, talk to your MPs, anything.  Just do something.

SOSNZ on Twitter



Why not follow SOSNZ on Twitter too?

There will be unique stuff there that won’t be on the blog or Facebook, simple because it lends itself to sharing lots of links without being spammy, such is the intrinsic nature of Twitter.

And if you know of anyone you think I should be following on there or the blogosphere, do let me know…

Thank you guys 🙂

Follow Save Our Schools NZ on

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