Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Networked Identities

This was a strange week for me. Bonnie Stewart gave an excellent presentation on issues related to our digital identities. One of the most interesting aspects for me was she mentioned the dangers of identity theft/ appropriateness as a person's social media presence increases. A real life example of this was what I had to deal with this past week. Without revealing too many details, I ran a "live" discussion in my music class with the site, "Today's Meet". I was able to run a discussion in-class and virtually by having students log in on their devices. I was clear that I wanted appropriate comments and have the students sign in with their first name, but some students decided to log in with names of other students in the class. These same people then made very inappropriate comments by taking on another student's "digital identity" as posting as them. What a hassle! I spent the better part of the past week trying to track down the digital footprints of the people posting to get to the bottom of who was stealing another person's identity and posing as them.  It was discouraging to see my own students being so vulgar, but more importantly it was discouraging. Do I abandon this sort of project because of the negative actions of some?

The answer for me is no, but it illustrates some of the issues Bonnie spoke about. It boggles my mind how careless some people (especially teachers) can be with their digital identities. I have seen many examples of where a teacher posts something either maybe a little too personal or something unprofessional on their personal social media page. When they are called on their actions or some sort of discipline happens, they seem surprised like they have done nothing wrong (i.e. complaining about their principal). I know we are entering new territory, but most of what Bonnie was talking about is just common sense.

Many of the student's in our class posted valuable information on this matter. I really like the chart +Jennifer Huber used in her post (How Much Is A Child's Identity Worth). It puts the value of an identity into perspective. +Lisi Wang 's posts this week were very helpful too. +Jennifer Stewart-Mitchell always posts helpful information. These students, along with others makes me want to share better information. I appreciate that these people have clearly done a "little digging" and have found some useful academic research to support our topics. This is an area where I would like to improve.

I am hyper-aware of anything I post. I feel that anything I post is a direct reflection of me and I want to ensure I am not careless. Just this week, my wife questioned me on a post I made on my music class blog that included some pictures of students in my classes. She said, "If I was there parent, I would not appreciate someone posting pics of my kids." Fair enough comment. It was not my intention to exploit anyone, but I could see what her point was. It does not really matter if we had good intentions if we somehow "harm" someone's identity. This was a valuable lesson for me and I think the take-away for this past week is to be very aware that the internet is watching us as well as us  participating as a digital citizen.
Using Today's Meet to run a virtual conversation

No comments:

Post a Comment