Tag Archives: Crafting Character

Thinking about my digital footprints after reading a post from @MitchChampagne

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I repeat myself all day long at work. This is partly due to genetics (I am becoming my mother) and partly because I work with middle schoolers.  I hear myself stating the following over and over and over:

“Everything you do online is public, permanent, and traceable.”

“There is no such thing as privacy online.”

“It’s not public versus private anymore. It’s public versus less public.”

“Make wise choices.”

“The only thing worse than kids behaving badly online is adults behaving badly online.”

I’m clearly imperfect, but I think I do a pretty good job of curating my online identity. For years, I’ve been choosing what to share and where to share it. I mainly use Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, and WordPress to post/tag projects I do with my students, sights I see on my travels, food I eat, photos I take, articles that interest me, NYC happenings, and other information I find worthwhile.

I try to model for my students and faculty what it means to craft and monitor your digital character, profile, and footprints. I remind them to Google themselves and set up Google alerts to keep track of their web presence. I tell them that since they cannot control others’ actions that may inadvertently or intentionally affect them, they should instead focus on what they can control. To this end, I show them how I purposefully claim digital real estate and populate it with things I choose to share and declare THIS IS ME!

Stuff I try to avoid online: I don’t really share anything personal — clearly, my definition of personal may differ from someone else’s. I don’t use curse words. I don’t use my Facebook account to register for other sites. I don’t use a lot of websites that require me to login. I don’t fill in anything marked optional. I don’t send long emails or argue with people using digital communications; I save that for face-to-face interactions (and phone calls with customer service representatives).

Yesterday, I saw a post on @MitchChampagne‘s blog about digital footprints. He shares resources for educating students and parents about how “a digital footprint is the word used to describe the trail, traces or ‘footprints’ that people leave online. This is information transmitted online, such as forum registration, e-mails and attachments, uploading videos or digital images and any other form of transmission of information — all of which leaves traces of personal information about yourself available to others online.”

The full post is here and included this video which I liked:

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6th graders making PSAs about Digital Character in Life Skills

I worked with Dr. Sam Tuttle, the Middle Division’s Social and Emotional Learning Liaison, to design a lesson that corresponds with their Digital Character unit in 6th Grade Life Skills. The Life Skills curriculum encompasses Street Smarts, Hygiene Basics, Nutrition, Digital Character, and Gender-Sex Education. While the teachers and I reinforce responsible use of technology all the time, this Digital Character Unit specifically offers an overview of internet safety and cyber-bullying and what to do to prevent (and respond to) a situation.

During the lessons, students watched and discussed a series of videos from Common Sense Media, NetSmartz, and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Additionally, they examined the OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program:

Think Before You Post 1 reinforces that everything you post online is public and permanent.

Think Before You Post 2 reinforces that everything you post is public and traceable.

Tracking Teresa reinforces that everything you post is traceable.

Stacy’s Story highlights one girl’s experience being cyber-bullied.

After, we asked students to make their own PSAs (Public Service Announcements). These were the parameters for the project:

  • Create your video PSA using Photo Booth.
  • Drag your movie to your desktop and rename it KarenPSA (use your own name and no spaces).
  • Upload your video to our in-house video server using these tags: PSA, 2012-2013, class_2019, Life Skills, Digital Character
  • Include your name and a link to your PSA on the shared Google Doc embedded on the Life Skills site.

We offered students possible PSA Topics:
1. What are the three most important things a 5th Grader should know about Digital Character Development?
2. What do parents need to know about Digital Character Development?
3. What was something that surprised you about this topic?
4. What steps should you take to better craft your digital character?
5. What advice would you give to a friend if you knew they were taking unsafe risks online?
6. What could you do if you find yourself witnessing a cyberbullying incident as a bystander?

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My slides from “Collaborating with New Media and New Literacies”

From 1:00 – 2:15pm, I’m presenting Collaborating with New Media and New Literacies at the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent School (PNAIS) Fall Educators Conference.

Here are my slides as I’ll show them:

Here are my slides with notes:

 

 

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Social networking etiquette and other 6th grade life lessons

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Last week, I introducted the 6th grade to our internal social network creatively entitled, The Social Network. This is the fifth year we’ve used an in-house solution powered by Elgg. We archive the previous year’s work, upgrade to the latest version of Elgg, and start with a new blank space every year. Not only does this free the server manager from the drudgery of importing the old stuff onto a new system, it reinforces that a social network is only as valuable as the information its users freely include and share. As Don Buckley, the Director of Innovation at The School at Columbia University, will tell you, a social network is populated with the following information: Who are you? Who are your friends? What do you do?

The 6th graders were really excited to join in, and we had a pretty great 30-minute discussion about appropriate information to include in a digital profile and how to behave online, especially in light of the fact that The Social Network is part of our academic suite of tools. I reminded them that they were too young to legally have a profile on Facebook, but I discussed in detail things I found inappropriate. I don’t just judge; I tell them that I judge. I reminded them that they should carefully consider their actions in the virtual and the physical worlds, as it all goes towards building their character and their perceived character. I also gave them examples of kids and adults behaving badly online. [Usually I mention this sexting story when I talk about how everything online is public, permanent, and traceable: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/us/27sexting.html?_r=2]

Today, I was pretty annoyed and surprised when I found out from two different teachers that kids were creating private groups on The Social Network and personally inviting certain kids while gleefully excluding others. Or, maybe I’m just offended that they didn’t include me in a group formed “for pretty and popular kids ONLY!!!” So, this afternoon, I gathered the 6th grade together and told them I was disappointed and surprised that within a week of joining this shared digital space, they were already making unfortunate choices.

I reminded them that in the real world I would never have middle school “friends” on Facebook and that shouldn’t even think about trying to connect with me online until they can legally vote. But, here at The School, they should freely connect with their classmates and teachers. Outside of school, they are plenty of ways to ostracize based on gender, religion, race, ethnicity, sexuality, socio-economic status. Inside these walls, we should embrace our community and seek ways to learn, collaborate, and use the technology academically, creatively, responsibly. I also reinforced that it is ok to have private groups, but there should be a purpose besides being solely exclusive.

The kids came up with pretty great examples of acceptable private groups – grade level groups, class groups, homeroom groups, and maybe creative writing groups where you would want to share your work with a select group of peer editors. I asked them to consult a teacher before creating a private group. I reminded them that they should actively consult a teacher for most things, just like I do with Don.

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