Reflection 1: Digital identities and digital security

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.

Edutech Conference (Educational Technology Debate, 2014)
Edutech Conference (Educational Technology Debate, 2014)

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.

View my story “Digital identities and digital security” on Storify.

Visit “Pinterest: Creating positive digital citizens” for education resources to promote digital citizenship.

Pinterest  

(324 words)

References

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

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Reflection 2: Participation and the digital divide

“The internet and unrestricted access thereto are essential for freedom of expression…” – Maritje Schaake, member of the European Parliament (as cited in Ermert, 2012, para. 6).

 

Access to the internet and digital technology are rapidly becoming essential for social participation; however, I was unaware of how digitally divided Australia is. Those impacted by this digital divide could be broadly categorized into two groups: individuals who are unable to access an internet connection, and those who fall at the laggard end of the diffusion of innovation continuum (Howell, 2012, pp. 171-172). Economic disadvantage is a key contributor to the disparity between the technological proficiency of those who do and those do not have access to the internet, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Australian household internet access Adapted from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2014).
Figure 1: Australian household internet access
Adapted from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2014).

Globally, 70% of the population is digitally excluded (Molinari, 2011). The One Laptop Per Child (http://one.laptop.org/) project encountered similar internet access issues to those occurring in remote indigenous communities of Australia, such as insufficient engagement with and familiarity with technology (Rennie, Crouch, Wright, & Thomas, 2011, p. 60; Shah, 2011, para. 6).

Molinari (2011) articulates these issues and outlines the objectives for increasing digital accessibility into the future in this TED video.

The combination of limited access to the internet and teachers who do not embrace digital technology is particularly detrimental to students. For teachers to make a meaningful difference to digital fluency and increase students’ engagement with the digital world, they would need to be early adopters of new technology or technological innovators (Howell, 2012, pp. 171-172). I would consider that I have mostly been a laggard in regards to using smartphones and social media. However, influenced by a digitally astute former colleague, I have been an early adopter of new software in the past and found this to be very rewarding. Because teachers need to innovatively utilise whatever technology is available to reduce the impact of the digital divide, it is imperative that I harness the benefits of new technology. As a result of studying this unit, my willingness to try new platforms and apps has increased considerably.

View my story “Participation and the digital divide” on Storify.

(318 words)

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2014). 8.1460 – Household use of information technology, Australia, 2012-13. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/D0DD505F12749281CA257C89000E3F5E?opendocument

Ermert, M. (2012, December 20). Brief: European Human Rights Court: Internet restriction violates freedom of expression. Retrieved from http://www.ip-watch.org/2012/12/20/european-human-rights-court-internet-restriction-violates-freedom-of-expression/

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Molinari, A. (2011, Aleph Molinari: Bridiging the digital divide. TEDx San Miguel Allende [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaxCRnZ_CLg

Rennie, E., Crouch, A., Wright, A., & Thomas, J. (2011). Home internet for remote indigenous communities. Retrieved from https://accan.org.au/files/SWIN-CLC-CATHomeInternet.pdf

Shah, N. (2011). A blurry vision: Reconsidering the failure of the One Laptop Per Child initiative. Retrieved from http://www.bu.edu/writingprogram/journal/past-issues/issue-3/shah/