Digital Identity: The Big Bad Web & Why It Needs You Part 1

Before you read through this post try one thing:  Google yourself. What do you see? Do you like what you see? For some of you that will have been an eye-opening experience for others you already knew what to expect. Perhaps it revealed things that you thought were long-lost in your history or maybe the person that popped up simply isn’t  you.


“241/356” photo credit: kennymatic via photopin cc

Having an online presence helps empower you to have a voice to an audience bigger than you could ever imagine. If you don’t embrace your voice and identity others will shape it for you or things you never thought others see will be what will start to represent you online. The more educational voices there are online the more we can do to counteract the negative stereotypes people may have of educational systems and teachers.

Slide from: Digital Identities: Who are we in a networked public?

C.C @bonstewart 

 As a professional it is important to have an online presence because at one point or another “You will be Googled”.  Before I go to a conference I usually Google the speakers and topics they will be speaking on. I like to know who I am going to see and to figure out if the topic they are presenting on is of interest to me. Before I apply for a job I look through the prospective employers digital footprint to see if they are a good fit for me. I hope the same is true of employers and that they check digital footprints.

Your digital identity is yours to shape.

Your presence should fit your purpose.  Context matters. Some like to keep it strictly professional while others like to mix in bits of their personal narratives with what they share with the world.

Slide from: Digital Identities: Who are we in a networked public?

C.C @bonstewart  


Reasons to join the online education community:

There is a growing community of educators embracing their digital identities and joining various services like: Twitter, Google+ etc. The online education community has worked hard to build a culture of improving practice by being exposed to a wide variety of ideas and resources. The sharing of ideas ranges from sharing links, blogging or engaging in online chats about educational topics.

These online communities have also allowed people to form Positive support networks something that may be lacking in some workplaces. As a rookie teachers it is nice to know that some of the things you go through are completely normal and not to give up. Some days you really do need some kind words to lift you up and help re-inspire you. These networks can also help you collect resources that would have taken hours to collect on your own. Try sending out a request for resources on an educational Twitter hashtag and you will more often than not will be pleasantly surprised.

These communities also allow for respectful professional dialogue to occur on a daily basis. The beauty of the online community is that it breaks down barriers and allows our different educational worlds collide.  Principals, teachers, counsellors, school board members and educational theorists  are all able to discuss and share ideas. These connections help change paradigms and change thinking around different topics. It can also reinforce things that we are unsure of  and help us grow in confidence professionally. These conversations are important to have as a whole profession because classroom demographics and society are changing. These changes are happening fast and we need to come up with creative solutions for many of the challenges we face as a global society. It’s not all kumbaya in these debates there is real open dialogue happening – no need to tear anyone down for the thoughts and ideals they hold.

Having a positive online presence allows you to be a model for digital citizenship in your own classroom. How do you teach digital citizenship without actually practicing it? If you can walk the walk then you are able to talk the talk. Which is more powerful: showing your students a short video clip about commenting etiquette or to show them examples of how you comment online?

With your voice and presence you can help us refine ideas, change paradigms and hopefully make our educational community stronger.

To see part 2 of this blog post with tips and tools to get connected head on over to: Miss L Whole Brain Teaching

Oh yes… and I would be remiss to mention that @MissLwbt is someone I have connected with through the wonderful world of Twitter and Blogging. We have met once but routinely bounce ideas off of each other and push each others thinking. Twitter Changes Lives.

Related links and articles:

Knowmad Society – Book that tackles the changing landscape of learning and work in our ever globalizing world.

Presentation By Bonnie Stewart: Digital Identity: Who are we in Networked Publics.

Who Controls Teachers’ Professional Learning by Joe Bower

Education to Advocacy. Reflections on #etmooc by Jeff Merrell

How Social Media Sharing Makes The World a Better Place. By Kay Bisaillon


The Superhero Within Each Of Us: ESD with Grade 1 and 2

After seeing posters for the new The Lorax movie, I was reminded  of the education for sustainable development unit I did last year in my grade 1 -2 practicum classroom. The ESD project came about as I was rounding up a science unit on the ‘characteristics of objects and materials’. Early on in my blogging journey I wrote a post about the incredible Trash-o-saurus we created together as a class. In that post I mentioned how we sat down and discussed how we could all help take care of the earth and be agents of change in our world. I must say one of the most rewarding things about this whole project was help students see themselves as being powerful enough to create change for the better in their world despite only being 6 or 7 years old.

Being in a grade 1-2 classroom the natural way for me to kick off the discussion was to read stories on the theme of environmental stewardship, Dr Seuss’s The Lorax was one of the many books I chose as one I would share with the class. At first I was a bit apprehensive reading it to a group of 30 grade 1 -2 students because at times the book can get a bit complex and tricky to understand. However, the themes in the book are ones that all young students can understand: use your resources wisely and take care of the planet. I could never do a synopsis justice so see the video below for a full dramatic reading of the book!


A  few of the other books I read to the class were:

  •  Michael Recycle written by Ellie Bethel,
  • The Garbage Monster by Joni Sensel,
  • The EARTH Book by Todd Parr, I Can Save the Earth : One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by Alison Inches

Sadly those are the ones that  I can remember reading, just a few of the many we did read!

After reading each story I made a point of asking the students if they could do anything to help take care of the planet; each and every time they said yes. Together we brainstormed and learned about all the ways we could be our very own superhero’s and save the planet one small step at a time. Each child made a leaf with a deed they would do to be environmental stewards and together we created our own Earth Day pledge tree.

C.C. Grade 1/2 M 2011

 During the project  I challenged my students to create informational posters to help teach their schoolmates about the importance of recycling! Below are two examples of what they came up with.

C.C. Grade 1/2 M 2011

C.C. Grade 1/2 M 2011

During all this time we were also creating our very own classroom Trash-o-saurus! (If you would like to learn more about how to make your own dino, head on over to my earlier blog post: Prehistoric Enviro-Art Project)

Some links and resources:

Poetry: Words that Give Food for Thought

On my Monday task list was to finally complete the online  sustainability education concepts and methods course I am registered in, a mammoth task but one well worth the effort! While making my way through one of the units there was a whole section on connecting science with the arts. The unit is quite fascinating as a whole and something that has a natural appeal to myself as an early years educator. I thought I would just share one of the videos from the course as I think it speaks volumes about the potential impact and connection that can exist between the arts and sciences.

Below is a spoken word poem entitled: Hieroglypic Staircase By Drew Dellinger.

Teaching for Sustainability

As I have started my practicum block I have already started to miss teaching science. Science is like a comfy go to subject for me. I am comfortable with the concepts covered and the questions raised in scientific  explorations. I see science and scientific questions everywhere! (Thank goodness for the internet for helping answer all my questions!)

I found that when I started thinking of what I wanted to teach in my social studies unit for practicum block, I instantly thought about teaching around topics of sustainability. It is something that I truly do feel children should be taught about and become involved in at an early age. Kids love nothing more than having an impact that matters and doing their part.  And  really what is better than helping save the world one small step at a a time?

Along with a classmate of mine I recently signed up for a course entitled : Sustainability Education Concepts and Teaching Methods. It is a free (!) 15 hour course offered by the Green Education Foundation Institute. We are taking part in their pilot project run of the course. Each unit requires you to a bit of reading, watch a few videos and then reflect and answer questions. I have been terribly busy, but so far so good! If you are interested in teaching for sustainability you should definitely consider taking the course. According to their FAQ the closing date for registrations is 15 December 2011. If you do not have time check out their resource site for some great resources!


Resource Site:

Green Leaf of a Bio Plant in Nature