Digital identity means so much more to me than it was before. Prior to this course my understanding about digital identity was just posting a decent photo over internet and being present in online spaces, only after my previous course with Dr Alec Couros I understood that digital identity it more than just posting a photo and being present online, instead it defines who and what we are in this digital era. I think that our digital identity is the digital footprints that we are leaving behind in online spaces and as educators we should be very cautious about our digital identities so that we can be the best example for our students.
Digital identity is how we showcase ourselves in the digital world. It is very important to have a good status online because we will be judged and take into account more seriously and our digital identity shows how organised and structured we are in our real life. Back in days a good physical/personal identity was everything that an individual would have focused on and they worked hard to maintain a reputed identity, which was the ultimate thing that elevated their reputation in the society and social life, but today things have changed, we are living in a digital era and there is a need for us to maintain a reputed digital identity too.
My Past –My digital presence was not always perfect and professional. I was introduced to internet at the very young age in a country where technology was booming. I first entered into online spaces through Orkut and later Facebook. I used to post lame pictures and annoying posts never understanding the consequences and my vocabulary was all over the place. I never thought that there was something called as digital identity and I have to be more keen towards my online interactions, anyhow, what can one expect from a person who discovered internet at a very young and versatile age. I was irresponsible and dumb, my idea about digital identity was limited and my online interactions was just to fancy myself in front of my peers in school.
My Present – Now, the digital me is much better than what it used to be, I have a professional twitter account and course blogs to showcase my learning and share my ideas with the world, as for my Facebook account, I am more cautious on what I post and comment on. I have come a long way from an irresponsible and dumb technology user to a more polished professional individual. I have realized that an online presence can be a vital tool for more than just employment purpose, it defines who I am, how I treat people and handle situations.
My Future – For the future, I plan to be more professional online. I have to construct a strong digital presence so that it will nurture my growth in the academic world. I believe that internet is a very powerful tool and as educators we have to be watchful of our digital identities. It is very important how we present ourselves on various social media platforms as it can have a negative effect on our professional life, so I want to be more vigilant on these platforms and make sure I leave behind a positive digital footprint. I plan to be a creative person online and become more productive and least vulnerable.
As an educator I see a strong need to educate our students the importance of digital identity, they are born in the digital world and sometimes are so naive that they do not understand consequences of having a negative digital reputation. As the article Teacher’s Guide to Digital Citizenship states “either educators nor parents have the means to completely control how students use technology. That only makes it more important for educators to address digital citizenship in the classroom, so students will have a better idea of what they’re getting into once outside of it”. Our students are in a digital age where everything can be googled and online privacy and security has become a laughing stock, they have a long way to go and have no idea about
their digital identity and reputation, they may not comprehend the consequences of having a negative digital identity and as educators we must tailor them to perfection so that they leave behind an appropriate digital footprint, which in-return nurture their growth. Social media bullying has become a serious problem today, the article at No bullying.com states that children were often bullied at school or in their neighborhood. But today, with the increased use of the Internet, children are now being bullied in all locations and at all times, the article sheds light on different area where children are bullied because of have a bad digital reputation or lack of knowledge about digital identity. So it is high time that we do something about it. As in my fellow classmate Amy B, states in her recent blog post, we have to also prepare students for a digital world that doesn’t fully exist yet, we have to ensure that they are equipped with the right knowledge so that they can have a productive future.
Finally, it leaves me with a question that, what challenges lies ahead for us as educators in teaching the digital natives the importance of digital identity when they assume that they are more tech savvy than us? and misunderstand that we are controlling their digital life?