After dropping out of the Coetail world for a couple of weeks, (and the online world in general–”vacationing” with twin toddlers in Israel with limited wifi…my activity reduced
to lying in bed late at night with my phone, eyes blinded by tears, sand and exhaustion, but still determined to post those darn vacation pics!)
I returned home with my first assignment a week late and began to read the plethora of fellow Coetailers’ posts on the digital footprint.
I first read Amber’s post as she recently emailed me about a possible collaboration for course 2’s final project. Amber reflects on her “personal vs professional” digital spaces and references articles warning us to avoid posting incriminating things in case your future boss sees. (How you are embarrassing yourself online without knowing .) Why are these catchy and ominous titles so addictive?
The quote about the innocuous statements you make on facebook really struck me…as I think about “liking” references to 4.20, for example. (Or highlighting that fact here!) But in all seriousness, I would hope employers (and anyone judging someone entirely on what is posted on social media) take what they see with a grain of salt, and understand that people change and their understanding of what is appropriate and what is not changes…unfortunately for a lot of young kids, that learning curve is very public. You are right –it is part of our job to get kids thinking about their digital selves and digital etiquette. Already I have had discussions with my 4 and 5 year olds about posting questionable pictures of others–me included (!) to our class blog and we have had to come to certain agreements about this.
The opening lines of Layla’s post grabbed me. She wrote a beautifully worded, researched and analyzed article discussing our quest for identity…and how the internet is changing how that quest is undertaken, and how it can be manipulated to work for or against us. She references an article by Meredith Scroeder to highlight the idea that
“removing chunks of information that violate one person’s right to forget may in fact violate another individual’s freedom of speech and right to know.”
This highlighted quote made me immediately think of this picture:
I respond to Layla:
Thank you for your thought provoking post and helpful links. Like Brendon, I also wonder similar things…what happens when the views or ideas we may have expressed in the past have changed, and yet the digital ties to us are there forever…or when our well meaning friends and relatives tag us in silly or even offensive posts…
I myself am currently debating whether to post certain hilarious to me pictures during a recent vacation, but potentially embarrassing to my children in the future. Should I be posting pictures of them at all? They are toddlers and can’t give their consent…
Okay–so I went ahead and posted it…this is an exercise for educational purposes, surely a higher calling than mere entertainment.Does my action violate my child’s right to forget? Or Dad’s right?
Next I read Jon’s post about moving from a neutral footprint (previously a focus in many inquiries into digital citizenship) to a deliberately positive footprint. I was left worrying and wondering at my relative lack of footprint, thanks to this article and after taking Lisa Nielson’s Digital Footprint quiz and realised I need to work harder to put myself out there in a positive and proactive way.
I wrote to Jon,
I liked your comment about moving your “neutral digital footprint to a positive one.” I feel I had been mostly working hard (okay, not that hard) to maintain relatively neutral online, lest I offend someone. This approach only works to a point, as you mentioned in your “scare tactics” with your first graders–“Posting mean things online will get you into a lot of trouble” or “How would you feel if someone said something rude to you online?” But I see this neutrality has left me without much of a digital footprint at all. (Darn, I’ll blame it on living in Switzerland!)
It’s actually harder work to continuously seek ways to showcase our positive contributions–we have to go out of our way to write nicely worded comments on someone else’s blog or Facebook posts…the ‘like” button is way too easy. But this this effort is worthwhile in the end, and is a good way to move that neutral footprint (both ours and our students) to a positive one.
Finally, it seems to me there is still a war of ideologies going on when it comes to Social Media & Technology in the classroom. On the one hand there are articles like this, basically telling us to use common sense when using Facebook as teachers, but at the same time informing us of different school districts who have taken matters into their own hands and outright banning communication via all social media between teachers and students. And then there are more progressive approaches to Social Media, and selling the importance of “having the opportunity to publish online with your name attached.”
While one approach takes away freedom of expression, the other encourages it. If there is one thing I learned while traveling with toddlers in Israel-it’s that everyone wants to be free and be heard.