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Online Persona

Up until this point I have thought of a digital citizen as one who behaves appropriately online and when relating that to the teaching of primary school-aged children I have basically associated digital citizenship with cyber bullying and prevention of such. I now realise how much broader the concept of digital citizenship is.

This week I have been reading, watching and listening to a lot of information regarding an online presence. It has got me thinking…

What sort of an online presence do I have? Who am I online?

Since beginning my Masters of Education in Teacher Librarianship my online presence has increased dramatically but I realise that as a teacher and a professional it has not increased enough. I have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Diigo, Wikispaces, Pearltrees, some professional networks and this blog site but I would certainly not call myself an active participant. Some of those accounts I set up, “played with” for a while and have barely touched since. Some, like this blog I have utilised as required for my studies and rarely at any other time. When searched for my online presence is basically non-existent. I have made myself a persona non grata.

My digital footprint is very small and I used to think that was a great thing because I had nothing online that could be used against me, no digital “skeletons in my closet”. I now realise that having little to no digital footprint can be a negative thing in itself. As a professional and an example to the children I teach I have some work to do. I need to be an example not just of a digital footprint but of a positive digital footprint. Who am I online? What have I done and am doing with my life? What am I passionate about? What have I contributed to the world?

Alan Levine (2012) makes a valid point when he questions the validity today of “going online” carrying the connotation of going to a different place. In the 21st century is there a clear line between our online and offline personas? When potential employers use our online persona as a source of information about us, when a prospective mate searches our online persona for clues as to our identity, when a competitor in the marketplace uses our online persona to gain an edge over us then I think the answer is clear.

In educating students and professionally developing staff I need to present a digital footprint as a positive thing that can be used to further our development as a person and as a professional. Having said that, as a digital citizen it needs to be addressed that the digital presence we create is with us forever, like a tattoo. As Adina Sullivan (2013), states in her presentation, we can and should take charge of our digital tattoo.

As a teacher librarian, leader and digital citizen I need to develop my online persona in such a way as to be a more active digital participant and to be a positive example of the type of footprint my children, students and fellow staff should be aiming to create.

References

Levine, A. (2012). We, Our Digital Selves, and Us. Retrieved March 13, 2014 from http://flatconnectionsglobalproject.net/video/we-our-digital-selves-and-us

Sullivan , A. (2013). Design your digital tattoo. Helping students design their digital image. Retrieved March 13, 2104 from  http://www.slideshare.net/adinasullivan/iste-2013-d-igital-tattoo-061613-w-o-movie-24148830%20

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Rant about Evaluation and Assessment in my University experiences

Kuhlthau, Caspan & Manitoes (2007, p.111) in Assessment in guided inquiry state that “A grade on a paper is a limited indication of the specific learning that has taken place in inquiry…This type of evaluation provides limited opportunity for students to reflect on the process and develop their own growth potential”. Why then do universities the world over use academic papers as the main form of evaluation for their students? They could learn from this approach and start creating opportunities for evaluations that allow for deeper learning of the course content and also allow (where applicable) for the creation of a piece of work that could be practically applied in the field. For instance I would have gained a much deeper level of understanding of information literacy models if rather than write a paper critically comparing two information literacy models I had been asked to create a guided inquiry unit of work using one information literacy model for a particular grade or class in the school at which I teach. If this was the case I would have researched different models of information literacy, comparing and contrasting them, chosen one, collaborated with the classroom teacher to choose the curriculum area and broad topic and created a unit of work that I could have then actually implemented in the school in which I teach. This to me would have been a much more user-friendly and enjoyable assignment that I would have had a lot more motivation to complete.

Looking back on my early university years when I was first studying to be a teacher the assignments that really captured my attention and motivated me were the ones in which I created something that could be used practically in the classroom. I remember writing lots of essays but I certainly don’t remember what they were about or how they helped me once in the classroom however I do remember a lot of the units of work that I wrote and then utilised. It has certainly made me think more critically about the types of assessment and evaluation that I have given and will give in the future to the students that I teach.

Reference:

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Assessment in guided inquiry. In Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century (pp. 111-131). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.