Students need to develop a positive digital identity, and I believe that we, as teachers, need to help students begin to cultivate that identity and teach what a positive identity looks like.
Why develop a digital identity?
As teachers, we should be focusing on developing skills in our students that benefit them later in life- not just to “ace” the test. Education should ready our students for post-secondary life, whether that be community college, trade school, university, or the workforce.
As our students approach the ever more competitive job market (or college acceptance season), they should be prepared for potential employers (or admissions officers) that search up the potential applicant. A positive digital identity, that aligns with a person’s resume or application is a excellent feather-in-your-cap and a plus when trying to get a leg up in such a competitive world.
Now, rather than later, is a great time to develop a healthy online identity, and establish a positive digital footprint that allows a person to put their best foot forward that displays their professional skills as well as their personal interests. According to “Your Life in 2033,” identity will become a commodity and students should learn how to protect theirs by creating their digital identity rather than someone else stealing it or creating a false identity for them.
“Identity will be the most valuable commodity for citizens in the future, and it will exist primarily online.”
-“Your Life in 2033”
So… How does one manage their digital identity? Here are a few basic steps to help you get started!
- Keep it positive. Don’t post anything negative, don’t share inappropriate things. Basically, if you wouldn’t show it to grandma, don’t post it on social media.
- Do it yourself. Create your own content, have meaningful conversations, and respond creatively to others. You can interact with others through commenting or sharing their content as well.
- If you build it, they will come. Create an online identity such as a blog, Twitter profile, Linkedin account, or wherever people with similar interests or similar professional interests network.
- Showcase your abilities and interests. Your online identity should align with your résumé and should show some of your interests as well. People should be able to know a little about yourself from your blog or professional profile.
- A little goes a long way. Okay, you should share some things, but don’t overshare and DON’T disclose personal information that could be used to steal your identity. This includes social insurance numbers, phone numbers, and you get the idea. Protect your identity!
Anyways, this is just a sampling of why I think we as educators need to help our students create digital identities, cultivate them, and model our own profession digital identity.