Privacy, Identity, & Protecting Yourself (and Your Students) Online

Privacy, Identity, & Protecting Yourself (and Your Students) Online

As we enter the Post-Snowden era, I’ve been busy reading, listening, watching, and reflecting about the impact this has on literacy and technology. There are plenty of places online that can (and cannot) read more about initial feelings and ramifications of this full-scale surveillance. I would suggest reviewing materials from Slate, danah boyd, and TechCrunch among others as a refresher.

What bothers me the most about all of this is the work that I do in advocating for teachers and their students to create and curate their online brand. In my keynotes and addresses to educators, I urge teachers to get online…get their students online…share their work openly, publicly online.

Part of this message of empowering teachers and their students also is heavily influenced by my own use and advocacy of free, online tools. I’m a believer in Google Apps for Educators, and believe that teachers and schools should be investing in professional development and empowering their users to build, share, and learn. I’m also an Open Ed convert who believes in Creative Commons licensing in the use and sharing of the intellectual property of others.

What has been causing a pit in my stomach is whether or not I can continue to advocate for teachers and students to increasingly build and revise their digital footprint and online identity. This is in the context of identifying and detailing the specific skills and competencies we believe are necessary for an individual to be fully literate in this online, multimodal world.

As I reflect and discuss with colleagues, I believe that my earlier message about the need for individuals to create and curate their digital footprint is now even more important given the current climate. I would however like to push for a more informed, thoughtful, strategic use of digital literacies focusing on three beliefs: educate, empower, advocate.

Educate

Given the current (and potential future) climate and context of online information I believe that our schools should prepare students to be thoughtful, engaged online citizens. In just the same manner we would teach students how to be safe in the offline world, teachers need to build the skills and dispositions necessary for students to be safe when online. This includes information about how to use digital texts and tools to read, write, research, and connect. This also includes a need to discuss ramifications of privacy, security, and how individuals shape their identity. More education and understanding on the growing complexity of our relationship with technology is needed.

Empower

One of the biggest things that has struck me since this news is a mindset that I have had since beginning my career in education. I frame technology as a literacy, and not just the use of digital texts and tools. I believe that technology is a literacy issue…boiled down somewhat simplistically to an individual’s ability to read, write, communicate, socialize, and learn. As a result, in this context, technology and the use of the Internet is a social imperative. I understand that there is a current “split” in the way that Americans view the current news about surveillance. What I believe is not up for debate is whether or not all individuals should be prepared and enabled to effectively utilize the Internet for literacy-based activities. Schools have been challenged by the changes to literacy as a result of technology for a little over a decade. I believe recent events should serve as a bellwether to get our schools, teachers, and students prepared for this online and offline world that we’ve “evolved” into.

Advocate

Finally, I believe that given our need to educate and empower all individuals, we should also act as advocates for informed, effective, ethical use of the Internet. What I mean by this is that we should not only be teaching others about the best ways to use Twitter to follow a TV show, but also the freedoms and responsibilities inherent in these tools. Historically there has always been a great amount of power involved in the ability to read, write, and communicate ideas. With the ability to break down barriers and engage globally in literacy-based activities there is a greater need to understand, value, and protect these freedoms. Individuals should exercise and advocate for these freedoms and their ability to engage as a web literate individual. Finally, as members of an informed online and offline society we should encourage, educate, and provide opportunities for other individuals to be literate online as well.

 

For more ideas as to how you can help educate, empower, and advocate for others please visit Creative Commons, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Mozilla Foundation.

 

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Also published on Medium.

6 Comments Privacy, Identity, & Protecting Yourself (and Your Students) Online

  1. wiobyrne

    It’s that time again!!! We’d like to invite you to join us for the 2015 version of the #WalkMyWorld Project. The project is a social media experiment in which we connect, collaborate, and share online.
    So what does this all mean?
    Over the next ten weeks, we would like you all to share (once a week) with us a “walk” in your “world.” There really are no rules to this challenge. The only real “rule” to this challenge is that we ask that you share this publicly on Twitter, and include the hashtag (#WalkMyWorld) in your post. Each week we’ll share a prompt and some collection of text to help guide us. The prompts will all be shared here on the project website.
    Who is this for?
    You. Are you interested in learning how to use Twitter? Are you interested in connecting and learning with others online? Are you interested in having fun? Thinking about how to build up your digital identity? For all that and more…come join us. Lurkers also welcome.
    Be thoughtful in your posts
    Please keep in mind that in this work you are openly posting information to the Internet. I believe that it is important that we educate, empower, and advocate for the use of digital texts and tools as a literacy. I also believe that teachers and students should think critically about how they create and curate their online brand. That being said…I want you all be thoughtful, and careful as you select what to share online about yourself. Please do not post or share anything that you feel does not represent you in the best light.
    Play…and then share
    In this challenge, you are playing with, creating, and sharing digital content in online spaces. The key element here is to have fun, connect, and experiment with the digital texts and tools. Be sure be thoughtful and protect yourself as you share online. Be sure to include the #WalkMyWorld hashtag in your posts. Include yourself on the #WalkMyWorld Map by pinning yourself to the map.
    Please visit the #WalkMyWorld project site to learn everything and anything you want about the project.
    This first week is our “slow start.” This is meant to get everyone on to Twitter and sharing. Create a Twitter account and come follow me, and others in the project. We’ll get rolling next week!!!
     
     
    Image CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Penn State Special Collection
    Share this:GoogleTwitterFacebookRedditPocket

    Copyright © 2015 – All Rights Reserved

    Reply
  2. wiobyrne

    We’d like to invite you to join us for the 2015 version of the #WalkMyWorld Project. The project is a social media experiment in which we connect, collaborate, and share online.
    So what does this all mean?
    Over the next ten weeks, we would like you all to share (once a week) with us a “walk” in your “world.” There really are no rules to this challenge. The only real “rule” to this challenge is that we ask that you share this publicly on Twitter, and include the hashtag (#WalkMyWorld) in your post. Each week we’ll share a prompt and some collection of text to help guide us. The prompts will all be shared here on the project website.
    Who is this for?
    You. Are you interested in learning how to use Twitter? Are you interested in connecting and learning with others online? Are you interested in having fun? Thinking about how to build up your digital identity? For all that and more…come join us. Lurkers also welcome.
    Be thoughtful in your posts
    Please keep in mind that in this work you are openly posting information to the Internet. I believe that it is important that we educate, empower, and advocate for the use of digital texts and tools as a literacy. I also believe that teachers and students should think critically about how they create and curate their online brand. That being said…I want you all be thoughtful, and careful as you select what to share online about yourself. Please do not post or share anything that you feel does not represent you in the best light.
    Play…and then share
    In this challenge, you are playing with, creating, and sharing digital content in online spaces. The key element here is to have fun, connect, and experiment with the digital texts and tools. Be sure be thoughtful and protect yourself as you share online. Be sure to include the #WalkMyWorld hashtag in your posts. Include yourself on the #WalkMyWorld Map by pinning yourself to the map.
    Please visit the #WalkMyWorld project site to learn everything and anything you want about the project.
    This first week is our “slow start.” This is meant to get everyone on to Twitter and sharing. Create a Twitter account and come follow me, and others in the project. We’ll get rolling next week!!!
     
     
    Image CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Penn State Special Collection
    Share this:GoogleTwitterFacebookRedditPocket

    Copyright © 2015 – All Rights Reserved

    Reply

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