Tag Archives: privacy

Notes/slides from a conversation about digital citizenship and social media


Last night, I facilitated a conversation on teaching digital citizenship and social media use to middle schoolers. Around the table were teachers, librarians, media specialists, technologists, curriculum coordinators, and administrators from Friends Seminary.

Their specific questions were:
1. How can we help middle schoolers be safe, responsible netizens?
2. How would you define digital citizenship and how does that play a role in your school?
3. How does social media play a role in your school and what do you do to prepare kids to use it responsibly?
4. What are some activities that you have done with middle schoolers on digital citizenship?
5. What is your scope and sequence in your school on digital citizenship (and others that you may know)?
6. What tools do you use, such as ELGG, to help kids understand digital citizenship and social media?

Besides showing projects I’ve developed/supported using Google Sites, our internal media repositories (powered by Drupal), or our internal social network (powered by Elgg), I shared how I weave in reminders, anecdotes, news stories, and life lessons at every opportunity.

I shared these three recent relevant articles which I’d seen on Twitter:

And this post recommended by Don Buckley to be a good conversation starter:

I also shared my collection of mantras that I repeat endlessly in class:

  1. Everything you put online is public, permanent, traceable.
  2. Use our technology academically, respectfully, responsibly.
  3. Make wise choices.
  4. We are a community.
  5. There’s no such thing as privacy online. It’s public versus less public.
  6. The only thing worse than kids behaving badly are adults behaving badly.

Rather than proceed through the slide deck I’d prepared, I ended up ignoring most of it and just sharing examples from specific projects (most of which are documented on this site). I embedded the slides below if anyone is super curious…

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

beach patrol
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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A teachable moment after The @VillageVoice used my @Flickr photo despite my chosen @CreativeCommons license

Nopantsvillagevoice

Last week, a Flickr contact of mine congratulated me on having one of my photos printed in The Village Voice. I had no idea what he was talking about. He said it was one from my No Pants Subway Ride series. [More information about the No Pants Subway Ride, dreamed up by Charlie Todd and Improv Everywhere, is on their official blog post describing their event.]

My friend was sorting his recycling, and in the process of gathering his newspapers, he happened to skim the January 4-10, 2012 issue of The Village Voice and recognize my photo and my name. It’s all so incredibly serendipitous. When I got my hands on his issue and saw my photo in print, I was delighted with the half-page size, their treatment of it, and my (albeit teensy) byline, but I was sincerely shocked and confused.

Clearly, anything I post online is public. I’ve been telling my students to forget “public versus private” and instead consider “public versus less public.” It is comically easy to go online and copy/download/steal an image, a song, a movie, a book, etc. The hard part is to make wise choices and consistently cite sources or seek permission.

Here’s the thing: I license most of my photos on Flickr with Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial. So, that means I expect credit for my work and for others not to benefit financially for something I am offering freely. As The Village Voice charges for subscriptions and advertising, they are a commercial enterprise and use of my photo is clearly for commercial purposes.

I left a message John Dixon, Art Director of The Village Voice, saying that I appreciated the photo credit in the paper, but I was surprised no one contacted me or asked permission to use it. He wrote me the next day with a really nice apology, explaining that my chosen Creative Commons license “fell thru our quality-control cracks.” John offered standard compensation for a half-page re-use photo ($100) and to send extra hard-copies of the issue as it was no longer available at newsstands. I was amazed and gratified by John’s response, and my respect for Creative Commons grew. As per their About Page:

Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to keep their copyright while allowing certain uses of their work — a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright — which makes their creative, educational, and scientific content instantly more compatible with the full potential of the internet. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law. We’ve worked with copyright experts around the world to make sure our licenses are legally solid, globally applicable, and responsive to our users’ needs.

Original photo here: 

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