Here in education, we all know how important an individuals identity is. But here in #edtc300 we have taken it to a whole new level and been talking about another type of identity - DIGITAL IDENTITY! A persons digital identity is the information (pictures, posts, usernames, etc) about an individual on the internet.
This digital identity is now a very important aspect of ones identity. Have you googled yourself lately? I have. Anything on the internet about you contributes to your digital identity. Digital identity is different than one's 'real life' identity in many ways. There is room to create a professional or personal digital identity that will perceive you in the way you want. However, your digital identity can be taken out of your hands faster than a funny dog video goes viral. There are many different stories, including the video, How one tweet can ruin your life by Jon Ronson, shows how one negative thing, either in or out of context, on the internet can drastically impact one's life. This is a reminder that the internet can be a wonderful, but scary place and more importantly... everything posted is permanent!! In one of my classes, a colleague said something that really stuck out to me. They said "think twice, post once". This is such a great lesson to bring into the classroom. Now with social media becoming second nature to so many people, we may forget that what we tweet, share, and post go directly to one's digital identity. Now people can share anything in seconds. We sometimes post before we think, which can be a bad idea. Even things we do as children, will stick with us within our digital identity through life. This is why teaching about digital identity and citizenship and how to use the internet safely is so valuable.
As I am an elementary education, I want to focus not only how to bring these topics into schools in general, but specifically for young elementary students. I have found that most my experiences with technology in schools was more focused on scaring students away from using it, which obviously did not happen. It was always seen as a dangerous place and was only used for research and some videos. I was never taught about how to safely use the internet, which I believe is something that everyone should know how to do. I look at my digital identity now and see that all my privacy settings are really high so hardly anything can be found about me. This is what I knew and thought was a great thing because this is what I learned through school and older adults. Privacy was key. This year my viewpoint totally shifted. I now agree that the internet is a wonderful place that is full of tools, personal and professional connections, and even entertainment. The catch is, if one knows how to properly use it or not. There is so much that can go wrong, so fast, on the internet that is it crucial to teach our students the safe way to be using it because, lets face it, everyone uses it. Even in an elementary setting, almost all students know how to use or something about the internet. For example, my seven year old brother has been showing my grandparents new things on their iPad for years now. This is great as children and students are interested in whats online, but without knowing the possible dangers can be a problem. From beginning in the early years, there is many different activities and lessons that can be done to teach students about the permanence of the internet and having a positive footprint. As long as teachers aren't afraid of technology, there is room in the classroom to explore and learn more together in a safe way.
I have attached multiple images and resources below. As a new teacher, I find it so helpful to include as many resources that could enhance lessons, especially about teaching about digital identity and digital citizenship.
*hint* every image is a link to more information
This next poster below would be a great resource to teach and display in an elementary classroom. It is child friendly language that connects to school very well. This could be a S.M.A.R.T lesson for students just beginning to learn how to use the internet for more than YouTube and social media.
After looking at one's digital identity, it's now time to touch on digital citizenship. I thought these two terms were the same thing for very long, but they are not. As said above, digital identity is the information about the individual on the internet. While digital citizenship is much more than that. The citizenship aspect focuses more on the students digital identity to bring forward different type of social issues.
One blog I found with lots of information about both digital identity and digital citizenship that is really helpful is theory.cribchronicles.com/2017/04/21/digital-identities-digital-citizenship-houston-we-have-a-problem/ if you want to learn more.
As mentioned once or twice in my #edtc300 class, there are 9 elements of digital citizenship. Here are some images and resources that go in more depth.
After looking at more teacher based resources, here is a more child based resource that connects specifically to students in schools.
I found this image on Pinterest and thought it would be good for older elementary to high school students. This goes through a checklist on what to do when sharing a picture of a friend. My favourite part of this checklist is at the bottom where it talks about self-reflecting before self-revealing online. Another great thing to think about before not only posting about yourself, but your friends or family as well.
This image was also found on Pinterest. I thought this could be a fun bulletin board activity to have either in the classroom or the hall way to talk and get students thinking about digital footprints
Now to end off on a humorous, but serious note...
Passwords are a huge aspect of ones digital presence. I thought this picture was funny and would appeal to students, while still sharing an important message. Passwords need to be private and protected. Even though we just talked about how what stays on the internet anyways, creating a password and keeping personal things such as social media and email accounts is a vital aspect. Now with passwords having requirements (although sometimes ridiculous) it is much easier to create more complex passwords.
Either way, it is important to teach our students about protecting their accounts and identity in the digital world.