Are You Well-Googled?


Denver, D. (Photographer). (2011) Don Sees the World. [Digital Image]. Retrieved from:

Ever googled yourself?  I did and what an eye-opener!  I know there are a few other Debbie McKibbin’s out there, including my cousin’s wife.  I was expecting (and perhaps secretly hoping) that another Debbie McKibbin would come up and my digital footprint would be buried.   In fact, my Twitter account was the first hit, and my blog was seventh…both of which are evidence of my learning.  Leaving a digital footprint—the digital traces each one of us leaves behind as we conduct our lives (Weaver & Gahegan, 2007, p. 324) — has the potential to be an online collection of learning.

Richardson (2008) is a proponent of students learning to collaborate, communicate, and work collectively online, identifying their passions and being findable by those who share their passion for learning.  He writes that many young students are creating, publishing and learning online outside of school, without adult guidance.   “In our technologically driven world, teachers and parents are generally behind youth in their knowledge of technology.” (Popovic-Citic,, 2011, cited in Cassidy, 2012).

Teachers and students need to be co-learners because we are not staying one step ahead.  “Teaching kids to manage their Digital Footprint really starts with the adults. Teachers can’t teach this effectively if they, themselves have not managed their own digital footprint.”  (Neilson, 2010) Deepening our own understanding is essential in providing the guidance for students to use online spaces in an informed, educated manner and taking ownership of their personal digital footprint.


Cassidy, W., Brown, K. N., & Jackson, M. (2012). ‘Under the radar’: Educators and cyberbullying in schools. School Psychology International, 33(5), 520–532.  

Nielsen, Lisa. (2010, February 18).  Teaching Kids to Manage their Digital Footprint.  The Innovative Educator.  Retrieved from:

Richardson, W. (2008). Footprints in the digital age. Educational Leadership66(3), 16-19.  Retrieved from:

Weaver, S. D., & Gahegan, M. (2007). Constructing, visualizing and analyzing a digital footprint. Geographical Review97(3), 324-350.  Retrieved from:


The Internet Fish Bowl


Gupta, P. (Photographer). (2009) Little Fish Big Pond. [Digital Image] Retrieved from:

In reading about Privacy and Professionalism this week, I couldn’t help but think of the internet as a fish bowl.  Virtually (no pun intended) every action taken using social media is potentially public.  “Teachers of young children work hard to be professional and to be viewed by others as professionals.  These efforts to maintain professionalism must include e-professionalism.” (Harte, 2011, p. 3)  Photos and text can be potentially viewed, accessed and judged by others.   We give up the locus of control when posting online, sending emails or tweets.  It is a fallacy to believe we have absolute control of our digital footprint.  The internet is anything but private.

The benefits of social networking must be balanced with its disadvantages (Harte, 2011).  Rather than avoiding social media, or restricting ourselves to being passive observers, following basic guidelines will enable teachers to exploit the advantages of social media.  My favourite question I like to ask is, “Would I want to read this on the front page of my local newspaper?”  Make use of privacy settings, pause and reflect prior to clicking send, and maintain a professional relationship with students (i.e.:  K-12 students should never be “Friends”).  When it comes to emails, Harte (2011) recommends double checking before sending every email message to ensure it is professional, free of errors, and is going only to the intended recipient(s).

Thomas (2009) uses the word judicious when posting text or photos on Facebook.  This includes critical comments about colleagues, your employer or your employer’s policies.  Inherent to the position, teachers are role models.  Online or offline, professionalism must prevail.


Harte, H. (2011). E-professionalism for early care and education providers. Dimensions of Early Childhood, 39(3), 3-10.

Thomas, Gordon. (2009, May 5). Teachers and Facebook, ATA News, 43(17). Retrieved from:

Digital Writing – a new skill?

This week I have been thinking about student writing and its application to the internet.  Students will be expected to be contributing citizens to our digital world.  As educators, we need to make visible the somewhat nebulous skills required for writing online.  Students are in need of a new set of writing skills for use in digital writing mediums.  Writing tasks differ with online writing in comparison to traditional writing. (McEachern, 2011)

Looking at Facebook through my teenage daughter’s page the “me, me, me” aspect of social media is evident.  “The research comes amid increasing evidence that young people are becoming increasingly narcissistic, and obsessed with self-image and shallow friendships.”  (Pearse, 2012)  Students require a shift from writing about themselves to writing with a clear purpose.  “Professional writers must rethink their writing strategies when they represent their organizations on Facebook.”  (p. 287, McEachern, 2011)

Therefore, what strategies do students need?  According to McEachern (2011), lessons in time management, publicity and controlling ones’ online image are key to successfully transferring previously developed skills to a professional setting.  Opportunities to practice writing in an authentic digital environment are also essential experience for learning.  “Well written” is being taken to a new realm.  Exploring how educators can foster writing skills for the internet will contribute to the media literacy skills students need for success.


McEachern, R. W. (2011). Experiencing a social network in an organizational context: the facebook internship. Business Communication Quarterly74(4), 486-493.  Retrieved from:

Pearse, D. (2012).  Facebook’s ‘dark side’:  study finds link to socially aggressive narcissism.  The Guardian.  Retrieved from: