The news has always been perceived as a valid and reliable way to obtain what is going on all around the world. If you were to ask one of your grandparents, they would probably say that Fox News or CNN were the best places to get the news. They probably even turn the news on to the same channel every night before they fall asleep. But, if you were to ask someone younger-a millennial-you would probably get a vastly different answer.

Recently, with the up rise of news channels and papers expanding to social media platforms, news is becoming much harder to distinguish from “fake” news. With a click of a share button, people are spreading misinformation and making the information go viral. People are just assuming these articles that are published have to be true do to the fake news being broadcast on such a broad platform. You would think that people would be able to distinguish fake news from real news, but, it is not that easy as you may think. Once a story on your timeline has over a million shares, you start to believe that an article or news story has to be real.

Particularly, Facebook has been one of the prime platforms for the spread of misinformation and propaganda. The site has had a lot of criticism aimed at it for its inability (or carelessness) of weeding out the fake news stories. Facebook has over 100 million people actively using its site, so when fake news blows up, it can push a false narrative that people end up believing. For example, during this year’s Presidential Election, headlines like Pope Francis Has Endorsed Trump to An FBI Agent Involved in the Hillary Clinton Email Investigation Was Dead in a Murder-Suicide, were floating around everywhere on many Facebook timelines. This misinformation spread through Facebook’s lack of controlling fake news could have majorly affected the outcome of the election.

Is this all Facebook’s fault? No. I don’t think so. As much as I feel it is an irresponsibility to promote misinformation on such a popular platform, I think it comes down to the person reading these articles/fake stories. There’s not much you can do to prevent these fake stories from going viral. What you can do though, is look up the information for yourself. The best thing to do to find out whether a story is fake or not is to always cross-reference. Unfortunately, we can not rely on the news put out there simply because it is there like we once did in the 1960s. Fact-checking is crucial, and the only way to prevent the spread of misinformation and the fake stories. It’s up to you, the reader, to put in your own research and strive to be informed correctly on what exactly is going on in the world.

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As we all know, the internet has a wealth of knowledge, and more so, information. You can google anything and odds are you will get tens of thousands of hits regarding whatever it is you’re googling. This plethora of information that the internet holds can be a great thing or it can be extremely detrimental. Around the world, hackers are becoming much more advanced and capable than in the past. As we know, hackers can shift through your private profiles, send your viruses, and can even track down where you live by tracking your IP address. Hackers have now been able to attack people on a much broader scale through a process most commonly known as DDoSing.

DDoSing stands for the distributed denial-of-service, and is used as a way to paralyze even the biggest of networks, costing millions of dollars in lost sales, freezing online servers and crippling a company’s online reputation. DDoSing is actually more common than you think, and can happen to anyone on any kind of platform. DDoS attacks often take advantage of the openness that the internet allows and benefits from the easy ways of transferring packets of data from one source to another. What makes DDoSing so frightening is that illegitimate packets of data can be almost indistinguishable from real ones, making it harder to tell if it is untrustworthy or not.

Don’t lose all hope that you can’t be hit with a DDoS attack. There are ways to help prevent a DDoS attack from happening to you. One of the first things you can do is to try black-holing/sink-holing. This is a process in which all traffic coming to a site can be discarded and diverted into a “black hole”. The downside to this is that it does get rid of ALL traffic, even the good. If that method isn’t the one you’re looking for you can always try installer routers and firewalls. Routers can be configured to stop simple ping attacks by filtering out nonessential packets. Firewalls are much more invasive, and can shut down a specific flow of traffic associated with an attack, but, like routers, they cannot stop anti-spoofing. There are actually a lot more ways to stop a DDoS attack, to see more ways, click here.

Twitter has become a fun and popular platform for all types of people to share their interests and ideas. To me, I had always viewed Twitter as a social media website solely used for the consumption of teens and young adults; posting pictures of their food, quoting a popular song, or giving bit-sized updates on mundane activities no one really cares about. Recently, I’ve found out that Twitter is much more than a site to post pointless information, but rather, a source of building strong connections and opening up discussions on relevant topics. People can come together and explore ideas with the simple insert of a hashtag. There are many different communities on Twitter, all of which allow an open and positive place to let discussions thrive.

On October 13th, I had the opportunity to join a monthly Twitter chat under the hashtag #techteamMA. By following the hashtag, it would bring you to a live feed of people discussing prompts related to the hashtag. The #techteamMA community is made up of students, teachers, and other members of school administration coming together to discuss relevant topics that relate to being a strong digital citizen. The chat is oftentimes lead by a fellow Help Desk or a member of the community. The leader of the chat has the role in providing discussion questions that prompt answers from other members of the community. Through those answers, members of the community can, interact, and reply to and put forth points that have arose from the different questions.

During this particular chat,the Feehan Help Desk took charge of providing questions. The discussion started at 8 when everyone began to introduce themselves. Every twenty or so minutes, the Feehan Help Desk leaders would prompt a new question regarding digital literacy, the internet, and integrating technology with school. I found that the community was very friendly and was able to form great conversations regarding the questions. In a matter of seconds I was receiving multiple replies and notifications from many different people interested in what I had to say regarding the questions. It was actually a really productive discussion and I gained a lot of insight from different people all across the school system. After the twitter chat ended I had started to make new connections and I even gained some followers!

Overall, I was happy to find out that these twitter chats even exist! I learned a lot and I hope to participate in the upcoming twitter chats for #techteamMA.

If you’d like to see all of the tweets from that night, click here!

As the autumn season comes in full swing, I am more and more excited to branch out as a member of the Burlington Help Desk. Everything has slowed down quite a bit, as opposed to the beginning of the school year where there seemed to be a constant flow of students coming in and out of the Help Desk. With this nice, steady break from the huge influx of students, Mr. Wong and I have been able to discuss new projects and activities that will be taking place during the course of the school year.

The first project I finished was a tutorial on how to set up a Gmail account. I already had some prior experience making tutorials from being in a Digital Literacy class my freshman year, in which I made a tutorial on how to block someone on Instagram. Making this tutorial, I noticed some differences when comparing it to the first tutorial I made. Other than the obvious difference in my voice, the most significant difference between the two tutorials was execution. With my newer tutorial, I was able to use a more complex, but higher quality, system. As opposed to my older tutorial where I had used a presentation app with my voice recorded from my iPad. In my Gmail tutorial, I utilized a more advanced recording system that allowed me to make better edits and make the overall quality of the tutorial much higher.

During the making of the tutorial, I found that it was much easier to make a script or some kind of outline to be used as a tool to make sure you discuss everything you need to talk about in the tutorial. Also, being able to tinker with the app beforehand, I realized, is crucial. To be able to go through all the steps and map out what you need to go to, in my case, set up a Gmail was important so that when I elaborated on my script I was able to provide a consistent visual.

Other than this project, Mr. Wong and I have just been discussing future opportunities and projects that will occur throughout the upcoming months.

Linked below is my tutorial on how to set up a Gmail account:

For the past (almost) five months my elective in school was Web 2.0, aka Digital Literacy. Through this coarse I have learned new things in which will benefit me in the future. My teacher, Mrs. Jenn Scheffer, has done very well in showing us  new side of the internet that I have never explored before. With the different lessons taught and programs introduced I can actually take some knowledge out of this class. I believe that this class can be enjoyable and interesting for teens at Burlington High School.

Like I had mentioned, throughout the semester  me and my peers covered many topics that have to do with the internet. One of the first topics we learned was online communication and relationships. What I took from that unit was that the internet can widen your horizon to create new friendships all around the world. You can share, converse, and collaborate with whoever whenever you want. But, you must always be careful when you are talking to someone one through the internet. You never know who can be on the other side of that screen so it is always a good idea to keep your information safe.

Another unit we focused on was digital footprints and e-reputations. What this unit is was to show that everything you do online can be permanent. We were taught that if were going to have public information or things we have done permantaly online we should at least make them appropriate and to our benefit. We learned that being a good person online and taking control of our own privacy settings is useful. Which leads into another unit we learned which is internet safety and privacy. We learned that keeping your social networking accounts private is a huge deal. It can stop random strangers from getting information you may not want them to know. Most teenagers my age don’t look at the consequences if someone were to find information, pots, pictures, etc. that you don’t want others to see. Taking advantage of those privacy and safety settings is crucial in order to stay afe.

One of the units we really focused on was cyberbullying. I todays culture us teenagers tend to deal with this a lot more than any other generation has. Cyberbullying is basically bullying but through the internet, as in social networks, phones, and other devices. Our teacher had us do an iMovie (which you can watch here) about cyberbullying and how it effects people. That project helped me realize that it goes on a lot more then we think it does. It taught me that it is okay to stand up in whats right and to not be a bystander.

One of the later units we focused on was self-image vs. self-identity. What this means is the balance between your reputation and who you really are. This can be a big role online. People often use the internet to be whoever they want to be; which can be a good thing. But, sometimes people abuse that right and end up running their reputations. I learned that how people percieve you through the internet is just as important as in the real world. I learned that if I want people to think of me as I think of myself I should reflect that in my pots, pictures, tweets, etc.

Overall, my experience in this Web 2.0 class was in interesting and insightful. I have learned a lot in this class and it will effect how I do things on the internet. I have even made all my accounts private, have started a blog, and a professional twitter account. I also know a lot of apps and sites that I can use in the future. On the way I have learned what its like to be a good digital citizen and I am proud to call myself one.

Hello everyone, I recently finished a easy tutorial on my Explain Everything app. It discuss how to block someone on Instagram and how it can benefit you. The app I used was one of the best I have used in a long time. I really enjoyed using it because it was fun. I have dude it in the past before because it is very helpful. With its easy, wide range of tools there was always new ideas popping into my mind when I used it. I have no negatives to this app other than the fact that it does cost money. I would recommend this app for everyone. Making projects/presentations with this will be sure to impress.

To view my video just click here! Enjoy~

Enjoy the Animoto I created about my Christmas with my family. I hope everyone had a nice holiday! Click here to view my video.

During the school year our Web 2.0 teacher introduced us to the website re.vu. It is used to create a much more fun way of presenting information. It uses creative scenes and characters that you can customize yourself. I really enjoyed this experience and I would recommend it to others. It was fun to make your own creations and let your imagination flow. It consisted of a wide variety of tools in which you can experiment with. The only problem I had with this site was the fact that sometimes it didn’t save my work! I had to redo it from the start because it did not save correctly. Other than that I had a lot of fun with this website. I ended up making  a re.vu about your digital identity. To go check that out, just click here! I would encourage you to use this if you ever need a creative way of explaining something. It is sure to impress your peers and teachers.

On December 12th, I got to participate in the the Hour of Code with my peers. I spent two days working on coding. I used a website called Scratch. This is a website dedicated to making your own little moving images. Overall, the program was not as great as I expected it to be. I had a fairly hard time using this. With the limited things you can do on the program, it really is pretty complicated. The directions were very clear and used in a video format. But, it was still unclear on what to do. Also, the little “sprites” we use were very low quality. They had very few as well. I found it to be very boring. I was very disappointed with the hype this program had gotten. It wasnt fun and I wish we didnt waste time doing this. 

 

To view my Scratch click here!

On Friday, November 16th, me and my classmates got the chance to talk to one of my teacher’s former students. The person we got to talk to was Mark Piechowiak. Mark is the Sports Marketing Director at the University of New Hampshire. He strives to show others the true importance of maintaining a good e-reputation. When we got the opportunity to talk to him I learned many new things. One thing I learned was the things you put online can really affect your future. If you put negative things (such as pictures, updates, etc.) it can make people make bad assumptions about you. But, if you show positive things it can make you seem like a good person; maybe it could even benefit you. Another thing I learned was that people can and will find you on the internet. The internet can seem like a ver safe place, but only if you use it right. Mark encouraged us to take advantage of the safety settings that are commonly taken for granted. Lastly, I learned that starting to build a positive network early can make me better than my peers. The more time and effort you put into a good e-reputation the better. You come off as more mature and “tech-savy” than others. In life, you’re always competing. Having a strong e-reputation could be that little push you need to be better than the people around you. 

 

I encourage you all to watch the Google Hangout so you can learn how to have a good reputation.

Click here to watch the video!