Personal Learning Networks and Digital Identities

Earlier this week I read Sarah Kessler’s “5 Best Practices for Educators on Facebook“. Kessler’s practices made a lot of sense to me as a teacher wanting to use Facebook as part of my library program. In face, I would say that these practices could easily be adapted for any type of social media, Web 2.0, or personal learning networks in K-12 education:

  • Stay true to your focus when using it
  • Always ‘friend’ with caution
  • Learn about the different ways to use it to best meet your communication needs
  • Consider alternatives that might better meet your communication needs

Then the other day I received the current issue of NEA Today and I found an interesting article by Tim Walker and Rebeca Logan about managing one’s digital identity (“Is It Time to Scrub Your Digital Identity?” dated 9/7/2012). I found this article interesting for several reasons. The authors remind teachers using social media, either as a teaching professional in the classroom with students or as a private individual, that they may have posted things that may come back to haunt them. They also discus the idea of digital footprints and professional digital identities.

So, why do these articles resonate for me? I see two different elements of information, regardless if it is in print or online. First, there is the context is it what the readers were expecting, will it help the readers meet their needs. Second, there is the author providing the information what makes this person an authoritative source of information. These practices will help provide a focus for what  we (as teachers) are doing and, if we monitor our digital footprints and manage our professional digital identities, we will be seen more easily as teaching professionals.