Monday, February 25, 2013

Is that me?

I stumbled upon something today that made me stop & do a double take. I did a quick Google Image search for Voicethread. As I scrolled through the results, I spied my Twitter avatar. Wait! What is my avatar doing in that image? October 12, 2011, Voicethread announced their Mobile Apps
Voicethread used recent tweets as testimonials to encourage others to download their app.  

Why did this surprise me?
We think of the internet as being HUGE. We feel inundated by information. And while many educators have strong Professional Learning Communities on Twitter, Google +, edmodo, I follow many, but I tweet sporadically and have rarely had the pleasure of being retweeted. I never thought about my little tweets being captured by a third party. (Duh, marketing.)  

Why does this matter? 
I recently attended Special Agent Arnold Laanui's session "Digital Tattoos: Ethical Behavior in a Virtual World." I nodded in agreement when he said, "Students post images and create pages in the privacy of their own room, never thinking they are really doing so in a public, permanent arena." He emphasized the need for educators and parents to teach children how to create digital tattoos in a safe, responsible manner. "Students should be creating digital portfolios" Laanui said. A good digital portfolio might mean getting into a college or being hired for a job.

What our students are doing...
At Hale Kula Elementary School, we have adopted a Acceptable Use Policy that acknowledges students will be creating, communicating and collaborating online. As the Library Media Specialist, I work closely with the Technology Integration Specialist and classroom teachers to integrate technology in teaching and learning. We monitor our students closely and teach them how to create a digital footprint that represents them, and our school, appropriately. 5th graders created +Weebly websites to capture their research and projects. Students across grade levels collaborate on +Voicethread, compose stories in @Storybird, discuss in @edmodo and synthesize learning in @Glogster. Students in our Blended Learning Classes use Google Apps for Education to record data, collaborate on presentations, edit documents, share files and have easy access to other learning tools like +EasyBib. So I should not have been surprised to discover myself virtually, and yet I was. This is a simple reminder that our online behavior does not go unnoticed. What we might post quickly on a Saturday morning, in the privacy of our own home, might be discovered months, years, later. Rethinking my recent pins.... =)