Put Your Best Foot Forward

The how and why of managing your online footprint.

So, why is it important to manage your own digital footprint?

Digital footprint management means that what students, employers , other teachers and employers see is managed by you and not other people's opinion of you. By doing this you can future proof your online presence.

It will help you to model desirable behaviour for your students.
Your students are using social media. By surveying 150 NSW, Stage 3 students it was found that 48 % are using KIK and 46 % are using Instagram (Ramrakha et.al. 2014 abc). They know how to use these tools do you? They are often using them on their phones (particularly Year 6) and who is watching them if as many as 85% have wireless internet at home.If this is the case, then teachers need to understand and use the tools that the children are using if they are to teach them how to be safe and effective.
By using social media, collaborating on line, curating and publishing responsibly, with and without your students you are modelling the behaviour you would like them to emulate (Mancebelli 2012b).

Teachers are learners. By developing your online presence you will learn how to use a variety of tools and make contact with a wide range of educators. Your digital footprint is also an avenue to share the students' work with their parents and include them in the process of learning how to be collaborative ,responsible and safe digital citizens.

You and your students can participate in "glocalization" in which the world will come into your classroom. There are a number of different programs to facilitate this process. They include the Global Youth Debates program. This program gives a team of debaters the opportunity to debate globally with other teams across the world by using Web 2.0 tools.

If you manage your digital footprint by enlarging your Personal Learning Network (PLN) then you will be able to learn from the experts what it is to be a 21st century teacher. Also it will make available to you free resources and education news. By expanding your PLN you will stretch your horizon beyond your school and your region to the outside world.
Furthermore, it will help you to increase your knowledge of privacy settings, how to download legally and how to be a respectful online citizen (Greenhow, 2014, para 9).
You will have the opportunity to be a digital citizenship leader in your school by following your passions and interests in this area. Your growing and up to date knowledge base will be a natural progression from your interaction with your PLN. This will mean that you will be able to support the digital citizenship aims of your school as an informed educator.

This could lead into you becoming a teacherpreneur. What is that I hear you say. How will that help my school achieve it's digital citizenship objectives? Watch this prezi and find out.

How can I manage my PLN?

After watching the video above you might feel a little overcome. It is okay to manage these changes in small steps Smith (2013, para ). Follow your passions to find teachers who share your common interests. Use Web 2.0 tools like Twitter, social bookmarking sites like Diigo, blogs and wikis to build your learning community.

When you feel ready, you can use the information you learn to assist your school community to become proficient digital citizens. You too can be a digital citizenship leader in your school!

Personal Learning Networks for Educators

How can I see my online self?

This can be done by searching for different usernames to see yourself as others do. Sites to do this include:
Google, Google Alert (this will tell you whenever your name or one of your usernames is mentioned online) and use websites like Pipli .
On your Facebook account, look at Privacy Settings to see how others see your posts.

Isn't it risky having an digital presence?

You already have a digital presence. Every time you use your phone, bank, your credit card data is being collected about you. Whatever happens online stays online! So it's best to take precautions.

Keep your professional self separate from your personal self. (Lynch, 2012)
Microsoft ® recommend that you use different e-mail addresses, screen names and blogs for your two selves ( professional and personal). Do not cross-reference them.
Do not over share.


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Susan Ramrakha

After working as a K-6 teacher for 18 years I had the opportunity to work as a teacher librarian in 2010 for the Department of Education and Communities. I am currently completing my Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) and continuing and loving my work as a teacher librarian at a public school in the Inner West of Sydney.