jeudi 1 mars 2012

2012 Byte Conference

This year, at the Byte Conference in Portage, I attended 4 very different sessions to broaden my horizons in the field of technology. Over the past few years, I have allowed myself time to explore software and various tools that can be of use or at least of interest in a school setting. I can finally say that I am no longer intimidated by technology although I am aware that I will be a perpetual learner in the field. How could I not be in a world that changes faster than we can keep up?

Recently, some of my students learned the hard way that the internet is fast and forever. We have had to troubleshoot a potentially disastrous situation and have brought the protection of our youth to the foreground. When I signed up for the "Managing your Online Identity" session, I believed I would be reminded of the dangers our students face in a technological world and given tips about keeping them safe from predators as well as from themselves. Well, needless to say, this was not at all what the session entailed.

Philippe Girouard, the young presenter, started by painting a clear picture about the all too familiar published photos of the night we did not remember to draw the line. Posting photos and blurbs about loss of control and consequences for bad choices do not allow a flattering light to shine down upon us and advertise to the world how we handle ourselves personally. Why would they believe our professional life would be managed any differently?

He continued by stating that our students should all be on the five essential social networks in order to create and manage our online identity. As much as I love my new comfort with technology, I was not sold about putting them on display all that much. Nevertheless, I continued to listen. Soon, I began to see endless possibilities open up and I was seeing my own future in a whole new way.

Since the conference, I have signed on to the last of the social networks required for his view of our online presence, LinkedIn. Basically, it is facebook with a professional flair. I have entered my profile, which is a well organized resumé, as well as organizations to which I belong, courses and conferences I have attended, and achievements which complement my work as an educator. I have connected with people who are leaders in some of the fields of education I am passionate about and I can share and get feedback from the professional articles and posts I publish online.

Managing your online identity reminds you to be the only person in your life who has any say about what is publicized about you. Show the world what you are up to. Do things that you would be proud to be a part of. And most importantly, live your life in a way that does not open doors for others to paint you in a less than favourable light. The bottom line is that if you do not want to be seen worshipping the porcelain goddess at a party gone wrong, then don't allow yourself to get to that point.

Your online identity is a reflection of your live identity. You decide what you want others to see and then, make it so.

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