After reading about the repair work taking place on behalf of Lindsey Stone’s online profile (Hindsight is a wonderful thing), I was left wondering what it would be like if it all just, went away. I wonder about the fragility of our online profile and the roles they have within our lives.
There is another Tom Barrett. He is an American politician in fact and is the current Mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Who knows how are Google search results compare anymore, but if you run a search on “Tom Barrett” thankfully all the images are mayoral in nature and all the links are mine.
In the past I have been tweeted at, accused of terrible social policies or something along those lines. Which is rather unfortunate around election time. I wonder if the Democrat has ever had a conversation about his online profile and how he has to manage his. Presumably I am kind of getting in the way a little.
Learning About Developing an Online Profile
We have to help our students navigate these tricky waters. And they are quite tricky as the charts that are often set soon become obsolete and out of date. The speed with which social and online web development moves, paired with the shifting sands of trends means as a teacher or leader within a school it is indeed tricky remaining up to date.
But perhaps that is often the perceived mindset. We don’t know something so it is foreign and strange and out of our reach. The latest photo sharing app is alien to us, or the way youngsters interact within games feels unusual. However much the technology changes three elements should remain enduring.
- A common sense approach to the way we talk to our students about their online profile and a channel to discuss it (this goes for the teachers too).
- A willingness to model an open, positive experience of the use of social media in support of learning.
- The ability to access and use social media in the school environment so it doesn’t become sidelined or a behind the bike sheds occurrence.
- Active development of a public profile in the company of mentors, not something behind a walled garden.
- Building personal portfolios is seen as an open endeavour across the organisation, a personal profile in school is no different than an online identity.
- A clear, consistent understanding of online ethics is shared across all staff and the importance of an online profile is widely appreciated and wholly embraced.
It is hard to sail into uncharted waters but we can help our students understand the hidden currents and tricky tides whilst with us in a place of learning. If we don’t do this, if we step further and further back from this responsibility, either through a lack of knowledge or willingness, we aren’t helping the students in our care.
If we as educators choose not to care about developing an online profile, if we ourselves are not actively positive about the huge potential it has, running aground might be more common than we would like.
What other key elements of our work with students comes to mind? What other enduring areas of development do you see central to supporting this for our students?