We’re all in this Digital World together!

This week’s topic is very interesting to me. I’m on the fence about digital privacy. First of all, I believe that I have to be professional and ethical when I am using public online networks and if I am not, then there should be some accountability there. Also, just like in a physical community, there needs to be a sense of values that are established, upheld and modeled within online communities in order to make these communities strong and safe. In this case online activities should be monitored to an extent. At the same time, just like in a physical community, people need to have their privacy too. So how do we accomplish this?

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The example of the Michael Phelps scenario in the “Beware: the internet could own your future” article demonstrated an example of what can happen, but in my opinion, this has little to do with digital privacy. The real cause of what happened to Michael Phelps was someone from the physical community who set out to hurt someone. Why? Who knows exactly, but this wasn’t Phelps using the internet in an unethical way. It was someone else. As a teacher, this does need to be considered, since really, our actions could be recorded at any time. In my opinion, our digital footprint is a reflection of who we are, so let’s all be a good community members and then we’ll have nothing to worry about. Those who are wanting to use technology to set out to hurt people, well that is a discussion for another post.

Since becoming an international teacher, the internet has become a necessity to stay in contact with home and be a 21st century teacher. I use Facebook to communicate and as a teacher I think it’s always on the front of your mind to stay very professional. The Job Hunting? article by Suzanne Lucas discusses how potential employers can find out a lot about you even if your privacy settings are very high.  Whether we like it or not, we are expected to model a high standard of values in and outside the school. So this needs to be considered on a daily basis as we frequently add to our digital footprint.  

Just Stay Positive

I’ve been an international teacher for over six years now and since then I have needed to increase my use of digital technology for a few reasons. To stay in touch at home, to stay in touch with people I meet in different places and it was a very necessary part of the process for transferring jobs to a new school in a new country. With these things being said, I feel it is entirely necessary to become digital, which I guess can only leave a digital footprint. How can it not?

After looking at the main idea of course 2, I Googled myself and saw a few things come up about me. Two images related to my teacher profile, mine and my wife’s teaching website, my COETAIL blog posts and my Facebook profile. All looked pretty positive to me, but still, it’s a little weird to think about how much information is out there about me for anyone to access.

After having a look at How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates, it’s pretty clear that your digital footprint can help or hinder you during a job search. Especially, considering 70% of potential employers are using this system and almost 50% of them are making decisions without even meeting people. Welcome to the digital world.

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Thinking about this a little more now, I personally need to put more time and thought into positively shaping my digital footprint and to help students understand this as well. We have done a couple of sessions with the middle school students as a whole group, but I think that loses it’s effect when not discussed again for a year. Although, I don’t think my 12 year old students need to worry about being recruited for a career at this point, it would still be to their advantage and benefit to start getting used to this idea, since it will no doubt be a big part of their future. Some ideas I like from the article, The power of a positive digital footprint for students, that I am currently using with the students that I could give focus to this idea are the blogs, web 2.0 applications and online competitions. Helping the students document these skills and achievements responsibly and helping them understand why would be a great start.