Great presentation at #ISTE13 on Digital Tattoos… Design your Digital Tattoo: Helping Students Build their Digital Image. I’ve always called this your digital footprint, but I agree with Adina Sullivan (presenter of this session). Footprints can be wiped out… tattoos are more like your digital dossier because it is important for students, and adults to realize they are not easy to ‘wipe out’, as a matter of fact virtually impossible to wipe out… literally.
My big take aways from this great workshop:
- Historical view of tattoos: I enjoyed this perspective of tattoos through the ages… Adina went through the different purposes of tattoos: medicinal, love, religion, decoration, and status. Tattoos throughout history have been very purposeful. The issue with our digital tattoos is that I don’t believe students see them as permanent and they certainly don’t see the big ‘purpose’ of having a positive digital tattoo. They are living in the moment, posting, texting, uploading… all in an instant and split second a comment, or not so flattering image can be made public to millions. (and as we know once it is on the world wide web it becomes next to impossible to delete permanently)
- Many times students, and their parents, are ill equipped to monitor and properly build their positive digital image. This is compounded by the fact that parents are starting their child’s digital presence when they post that first baby picture on the Internet, create a family blog, or post all their children’s accomplishments (good and bad) to facebook. Back in the day (I can’t believe I just said that…) baby pictures and embarrassing young adult images were sequestered to physical photo albums put on the shelf in the living room only to be taken out when Aunt Bernice came for a visit. Not anymore. Now parents are posting them for the world to see, and in many cases for the world to know where the pictures were taken (through ‘check-ins’ and devices marking pictures with geo locations). For this reason it is equally important that schools provide education in digital citizenship to all stakeholders: students, parents, teachers, administrators, and staff.
- Adina also went through some of the important things schools need to do, they include:
- Creating opportunities for students to build positive digital tattoos through digital stories, wikis, blogs and portfolios
- Educating students on digital literacy and citizenship
- Explaining and importance of creating strong and secure passwords
- Teaching students to use digital tools/websites to monitor their digital tattoo (see resources below, or watch the full video of the presentation)
The digital world is not going away. It is here to stay. We, as educators, need to equip our students, and their parents, with the tools to be good digital citizens. This starts with their ‘digital good step forwards’. They need to see that the digital tattoo, or image that they project, is how others will see them. I spoke to a 9th grade class and simply asked them, ‘What do you want the world to see about you?’ I believe we need to start asking this question starting in fourth grade, and then ask them every year as they go through high school. I also think we need to ask parents, ‘What do you want the world to see about your family?’ or more importantly: ‘What do you not want the world to see and know?’
The answer is not to avoid the digital world, which I believe is impossible and not very smart. The answer is to embrace it and use it to your advantage. We should be celebrating our successes and building a positive tattoo that you can live with, and be proud of your whole life.
Watch the complete session:
Other resources for immersing students in digital citizenship:
Common Sense Media- Digital Passport
Google for Education: 10 interactive lessons on digital citizenship
Digital Citizenship lessons and resources compiled (Darci Lindgren- poster presenter at ISTE 13)
Post about above presentation (with more resources)