Part 2: Identity
Who am I? I am me. I am every tweet, every like, every follow. I am a retweet, I am a hashtag, I am a username. My digital footprint tells my story, and my story is what people know. How I present myself online is just as, and maybe more, important as how I present myself in person. Whether it is a parent, friend, college admissions board, or future employer, people are going to want to know my story.
As we talk about identity, image, and personal brands with students, we must ask them to think about who they are and who they want to be online. Nearly half of the employers and managers surveyed nationwide by CareerBuilder.com in 2013 said they look at social media during the highering process. A number that continues to grow each year. In conversations with students, it’s important to include discussions about the positive impact their image brings to the world, as well as the value they add to the community they are part of. Digital and analog identities are no longer separate entities. The choices our students make online as teens have an impact on the opportunities they are given as adults. Encourage them to be leaders. Encourage them to define themselves and to grow into strong, positive role models and adults. I am me. Model it. Encourage it. Live it.
Sam Fathallah made this video entitled You while in high school. It asks students the question - “Who are you?” - their answers are truly inspiring and refreshingly honest.
- Self-Image & Identity
- Being a Leader
- Digital Footprint & Reputation
In the News:
- Newton editor fired
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- Nude Snapchat images leaked online
For older kids, try working through this personal branding workbook to help students discover their strengths, passions, and values. Use it to help them define their brand and how they might make an impact. Have students participate in a mock job interview where they use their personal brand to answer questions about who they are in a real-life scenario.
For younger children, try this lesson from Common Sense Media to start talking about leaving a digital trail. Also check out this interview with Kathy Cassidy for the “how” and the “why” of digital footprints in the primary grades.
BrainPop is a great resource for educators, though a lot of their content is paid. Fortunately, they have a free video and lesson around blogging! This challenge asks you to teach your students (geared toward a younger audience) about blogging, and then implement one of their lessons implementing blogs! Consider having students blog about their passion, doing some creative writing, or starting a blog to raise awareness of a special cause!