Changing practice some ramblings to get me started

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Online citizenship

I like the description of a good citizen as “ contributing to the common good, considering the needs of other citizens, communicates and works with others, plays an active role in the community and does no harm to those around them’

I consider myself to be a good citizen both online and offline. Initially I felt that online, I was not really an ‘active’ citizen, as I am still very quiet on social media e.g.  Facebook, twitter, blogs and within our online Edmodo community. I carried that thought with me for quite some time, observing my presence online and have decided that I do have an active presence online, but mainly for my work. (Socially and privately not so much, but even emailing, bill paying, online purchasing (eBay, leaving feedback etc.) are still part of that on line presence). Do I have an online personality?  Am I consistent across every site? Yes I am consistent, because I never pretend to be anyone other than myself; it’s what I share of myself that is different, depending on the site and the purpose of the communication. I generally share very little online, very few personal details, opinions – mostly it’s a sharing of information – but always I am aware that a great deal of the essence and nuances of communication are  lost, when there is no face to face contact . This reflective blog is the most I’ve ‘put out there’. So bottom line, I manage my privacy by keeping it private.

I had interesting discussions with three young people 15, 18, 20 – not really sure how typical they were.  The older two felt they were on top of their privacy – using maximum privacy settings on Facebook, limiting what they post on their timeline – preferring to directly message rather than engage in public conversations and sharing of their status. The younger one was not so concerned about privacy, although he too restricted his posts. The 20 year old is a university student, and her lecturers / tutors use Facebook for disseminating information, the students use it for group work and submission of information. They also use twitter to follow, but do not tweet. The 18 year old also has a teacher at school that uses a Facebook group as a communication tool. They seem to be happy to have the same tool in both their learning and private lives, partly because they don’t share too much anyway and also the way their learning groups have been set up.

The aspect that caused the most concern was the tagging in photos – yes, they can get ‘untagged’ but were concerned that it was possible for the photos to be copied etc. They are selective who they are friends with, and indicate they try to avoid being photographed inappropriately, but know that it’s bigger than that.

Hmm. The image of locking students into walled gardens is interesting. Lots of interesting questions, food for thought. Perhaps my view is simplistic, but I think our role as educators is to ‘teach’ / ‘assist’ / ‘facilitate’ students to be responsible and informed citizens. This embraces all dimensions – social, emotional, physical, environmental and the list goes on. Education of our youth is a shared responsibility – family, school, society etc. Not sure I like the phrase   “or is it better to model behaviour in a platform like Edmodo and hope that it rubs off?” Modeling is a very powerful influence – although much depends on who is doing the modeling.   We can teach digital literacy through the platforms that we use and at the same time draw parallels (better to get the students to draw parallels) with the other platforms they use. I cannot begin to imagine that I will have the time, the resources and more importantly the expertise to “teach” the range of social tools.

And just an aside: I enjoyed the resources on the PLN page – I loved the phrase “the teacher is not the only expert in the room” when we are tapping into web resources. I also have common experiences with Kate Mildenhall – I’m excitedly trying to embrace new technology, do a minor flip of my year 12 class (you know what I mean, the YouTube clips, the podcasts etc. out of class so we can discuss, apply, reflect in class – the kids really don’t want a bar of it L

I’m also hoping to use the Jenny Luca: Managing your digital footprint with Year 8  idea too!

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