Teachers need to understand the pitfalls of ineffectively managing their digital identities. Without consciously administering their online persona, there is a risk that the distinction between a teacher’s personal and professional life could diminish, which may have lasting detrimental effects (Ghoussoub, 2015, para. 6; MMU Library Services, 2013). Despite not behaving in a manner likely to jeopardise my personal life or career, I had not actively managed my digital identity in the past. However, since joining Twitter, about.me, Storify and ScoopIt!, I have reflected upon my digital identity, my inclination towards online privacy, and how ineffectual some social media platforms are without communicating with unknown people. I soon realised that in order to maintain some semblance of privacy on Facebook, and simultaneously engage with a broad range of like-minded others regarding pedagogy, having one digital identity was insufficient. It was difficult to convey my perspective adequately in posts across the range of platforms because my purpose and audience differ for each. Consequently, I now use Facebook exclusively for social interactions, and the other accounts for my professional or student digital identity. I will maintain this strategy, as I intend to keep my professional life as an educator separate from my personal life to safeguard my privacy.
Although my actions to date relate only to personal Web 2.0 use, my knowledge surrounding online safety for students has also significantly increased. In particular, students and teachers need to know how to use technology and make informed decisions regarding their digital security. Uncritically abiding by their school’s internet usage policies is not a satisfactory approach (Ribble, 2011, p. 9). Teachers in the 21st century, therefore, have a moral imperative to model positive “digital citizenship” (Ribble, 2011, p. 10) with responsible and ethical online behaviour, and to provide students with the opportunity to do likewise (Davis, 2014, para. 18). Keeping abreast of digital security with Web 2.0 and beyond will be an ongoing commitment.
Davis, V. (2014, October 24). What your students really need to know about digital citizenship [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/digital-citizenship-need-to-know-vicki-davis
Educational Technology Debate. (2014). Edu-Tech Conference [Image]. Retrieved from http://edutechdebate.org/
Ghoussoub, M. (2015, April 10). Why should I care about privacy if I have nothing to hide? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://digitaltattoo.ubc.ca/2015/04/10/why-should-i-care-about-privacy-if-i-have-nothing-to-hide/
MMU Library Services. (2013, August 28). Managing your digital identity [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mgBzOBpuxE
Ribble, M. (2011). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know (2nd ed.) Retrieved from http://link.library.curtin.edu.au/p?pid=CUR_ALMA51125746820001951