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.
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