Digital Identity and Digital Presence Plan

Educators consider the end in mind, or backward design, when planning. It is a useful strategy that encompasses setting goals, to scaffold learning, and to reach specific outcomes. The following is the result of a backward-design plan. During the process of achieving this specific set of learning outcomes, I will conscientiously construct and reconstruct my digital identity and my digital presence. I create this plan mindful of the spaces I hold as an educator. As I create, I think of an excerpt from Marie Battiste’s Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit:


Every school is either a site of reproduction or a site of change. In other words, education can be liberating, or it can domesticate and maintain domination. It can sustain colonization in neo-colonial ways or it can decolonize. (p. 168)

I plan to set myself up for success through active and authentic participation in a variety of learning opportunities and through ongoing self-reflection. I think of myself as an educator who navigates digital literacies while exercising mindful deployment of my attention (Rheingold, 2010). In doing so, I will be able to set and achieve short term goals while remaining focused on my long term goals throughout this course. 

I set out to achieve the following goals, affording myself opportunity to reposition the order as I grow through my MALAT and educator experiences:

  • That my interactions in digital spaces are intentional and meaningful for the creation of my digital identity. 
  • That I carry these understandings with me as I move through the MALAT program. 
  • That I incorporate these understandings to the development of my digital identity as a researcher, where I am able to focus my energies to affect change both personally and professionally.  
  • To develop and incorporate a holistic approach to education that has intentional focus on well-being.
  • To actively and authentically engage in digital content and digital spaces in order to facilitate meaning for myself, my students and my communities. 
  • To actively and authentically engage in learning and teaching pedagogy by developing fluency in the various intersections of ICTs in order to expand my understanding of digital literacies and affect change for students. 
  • To affect change in educational policy, with a focus on equitable access to education for all, specifically with access to technology in municipal and/or provincial education systems. 

The process will be critical. I will endeavour to maintain a balanced approach to the MALAT program that will include self-care, organization, and reflection. I will have to create boundaries for my interactions in digital spaces, and limit my engagement. I will include design thinking and holistic practice into my pedagogy. I will lead by example by modelling my own cyberinfrastructure (Campbell, 2009), helping students create online portfolios or digital domains (Watters, 2015). My interaction with digital tools will have to increase, as I increase my networking with various stakeholders. For example, my engagement on Twitter and LinkedIn will have to increase from visitor to resident (White & Le Cornu, 2011); I am only now beginning to network through LinkedIn and learning about the usefulness of this platform. I will keep an open-mind and apply a growth mindset (Dweck, 2019).

Knowledge-acquisition, knowledge-facilitation, and knowledge-consolidation are a large part of teaching practice and pedagogy, yet they depend on the construct of knowledge and this construct can alter with context. I aspire to maintain a growth mindset for the following:

  • MALAT and discussions
  • Symposiums and Webinars
  • Shared stories: lived experiences of students, community members, and colleagues
  • Research 

Organization, time-management and reflection will provide the structure for these outcomes. I will continue to modify sub-goals to interact with specific outcomes pertaining to my overall goal. In order to accomplish this, I have and will continue to set specific dates to check-in on goal-setting and well-being. These check-ins will align with course schedules and work schedules, as well as personal commitments. They will be weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. I will use various tools to log outcomes, such as Google Keep and Google Calendar. Reflection will be ongoing, evaluative, and meaningful, so that I may adapt and evolve along with new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), in order to apply my understanding (Beetham, 2015). 

As a virtual school teacher, I have endeavoured to understand the scope of instruction in a digital space through a variety of digital tools and media, while centring the student in my pedagogy and in my practice. My skill set is wide-ranging and includes: reflective practice, fluency in a variety of ICTs, and comfort in a variety of digital media. I endeavour to expand my understanding of the digital literacies within the education sector, to include student engagement through digital portfolios or, when possible, personal digital domains (Waters, 2015). 

I have learned that at the top of a very long list of values that make up a happy, productive classroom environment are respect, care, and trust. I have learned that these values transfer to digital spaces. Mutual respect, care for others and trust manifest through authentic shared experiences, and are crucial to meaningful collaboration and to the establishment and sustainability of psychologically safe spaces. In a safe space, students flourish, and the opportunities for growth are endless. It is through the utilization of these skills and the varied contexts the teaching profession provides, that I am able to set my goals and to seek solutions. 

Part of growth is recognizing one’s strengths and one’s weaknesses. Among many of my knowledge gaps are: research on equitable access to technology and to the internet, Open Source Education and Open Education Resources (OERs), and Creative Commons Licensing. I have only skimmed the surface of the potential of these areas of interest, and I look forward to unpacking what they have to offer with respect to my learning outcomes. I have considered the following strategies and approaches to address these gaps: research scholarly articles and consult with stakeholders invested in these areas of interest. 

My measures of success will reflect on my engagement in digital spaces. As I embark on new approaches to my engagement, my digital identity and my digital presence will evolve. My engagement will afford interactions and new connections to various stakeholders in education. Through these interactions, I will expand upon my research and understand where to best commit my energies. As I monitor specific outcomes over the next two years, my engagement with stakeholders in various digital spaces will grow, and by association my understanding of my research.

I look forward to what comes next. 


References:

Battiste, M., & Bouvier, R. (2017).
Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit. Canada: UBC Press.

Beetham, H. (2015, Nov 10). Building capability for new digital leadership, pedagogy and efficiency. https://digitalcapability.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2015/11/10/framing-digital-capabilities-for-staff-deliverables/

Campbell, G. (2009). A personal cyberinfrastructure. Educause Review, 44(5), 58-59.

https://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure

Dweck, C. (2019). What having a “growth mindset” actually means. Harvard Business Review, 2019 Special Issue, P26.

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and other 21st-century social media literacies. Educause Review, 45(5), 14-24. http://er.educause.edu/articles/2010/10/attention-and-other-21stcentury-social-media-literacies

Watters, A. (2015, July 15). The Web we need to give students. Bright.
https://brightthemag.com/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713#.a2rmav7fp

Visitor-Resident Mapping

As I stare at my blank, hand-drawn tension-pair map (White & Le Cornu, 2011), I find myself reflecting on my digital identity. After some time, I am able to finish the activity, but not before reflecting on the act itself: it is complicated. I know it shouldn’t be, but it is painstaking.

I manage to transfer my perceptions onto my drawing using pencil and paper, nothing fancy. It’s greyscale. I choose grey because the complexity of colour is too intricate a detail to deconstruct. I move things around just enough to make it capture me. There are no compartments, I can’t be compartmentalized. I want it to look like water, because I want to believe I am fluid, not fixed.

Here’s where I get stuck: When do we consider the factors that contribute to the typologies presented? Before, after, during? What about time: do we reconstruct a new map every so many years? How about context: do we reconstruct a new map for every career change?

In 2021, is my digital identity separate from my personal identity? When I participate in this act, and log my engagement in digital spaces, am I not fully participating? I wonder if our modes of behaviour are extrinsic to our identity politics. I wonder how much we are performing (Cover, 2012), and how much we are authentic in these spaces, and to what degree this affects our placement.

Whether I like it or not, I am pegged down onto this spectrum in one way or another.

And I suppose that’s the point.

“There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet”  -T. S. Eliot

 

References:

White, D., & Le Cornu, A. (2011, September 5). View of Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement: First Monday. View of Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement | First Monday. https://firstmonday.org/article/view/3171/3049

Cover, R. (2012). Performing and undoing identity online: social networking, identity theories and the incompatibility of online profiles and friendship regimes. Convergence18(2), 177–193. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856511433684

Eliot, T. S. (n.d.). The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot. Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/44212/the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock

The Process (A Reflection)

A curation of vivid, impassioned presentations, the Master of Arts in Learning and Technology (MALAT) Virtual Symposium 2021 set a tone for the MALAT program by kick starting our collective adventure with grace, curiosity and excitement. As an educator, I found myself relating to numerous arguments made by the presenters. On many occasions throughout the week-long symposium, I took notes, copied and pasted links, and made connections whenever possible. It was only mid-way through the symposium when I realized the work I was doing – the attempts at absorbing a seemingly endless amount of knowledge – was an act of preparation. My compressed and scattered work was a microcosm, and a symbol, for the kind of work done by those who were presenting before me. With each presentation, it was evident that much of the meaning-making was happening during the process of knowledge acquisition. 

On Monday, April 12 2021, Amanda Coolidge spoke of Open Education, and the many ongoing initiatives associated with open educational resources. In her presentation, Coolidge acknowledged limited access to the internet and to technology for students in rural and Indigenous communities. As a teacher in the centre of Canada’s largest metropolis, I know firsthand of the inequities of the digital divide, and began my note-taking. 

Extending her argument, Coolidge offered a policy report entitled Bridging Digital Equity and Culturally Responsive Education in PreK–12, Leveraging Pandemic Pedagogy to Rethink the Status Quo, where the shift to remote learning in the United States exposed digital inequities for students exacerbating the longstanding digital divide. The report also highlighted the toll on teachers and the many hats educators have had to wear in order to maintain some semblance of a status quo (Prescott, 2021). Resources like these, and there are many, reveal how the transition to online learning could have been more efficient, and maybe more importantly how inequitable the current infrastructure is when considering access to education for all.

On Thursday, April 15 2021, Dr. Susan Crichton shared 8 Design Principles for Online Learning, a study done through the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn), in British Columbia. Using a Design Thinking approach, the authors co-constructed 8 Design Principles based on conversations and lived experiences of online educators in BC (Crichton & Kinsel, 2021). In this presentation, Dr. Crichton explained the work being done to include educators’ voices to inform practice, and of the successful output of design conversations. After reading the eight principles, I felt a little less alone and a little more equipped.

The concept of education is complex and multifaceted. How a person understands, considers and interacts with education depends on one’s positionality, and in Canada, that positionality contends with a long history of colonialism and capitalism. In his presentation, How can we incorporate Indigenous Worldviews in the creation of online culturally safe learning environments?, Earl Einarson argues for a move away from the concept of Indigenous Ways of Knowing toward Indigenous Worldviews, and advocates for one’s awareness of their positionality. It was through the process of his applied research project, that Einarson concluded that the concept of Indigenous Ways of Knowing was too broad a term. Specifically, that it narrows the scope of Indigeneity; that Indigenous communities see pan-Indigenous labels as a one-size-fits-all approach (Einarson, 2021). As Einarson shared these aspects of his research, I knew that I would hold onto his advice, to continue my own self-reflection and to be aware of my own positionality. 

Over the course of the week, many meaningful connections were made. From Earl Einarson’s critique of the concept Indigenous Ways of Knowing, to Amanda Coolidge’s bridging the access gap through Open Source Education, presenters challenged the audience to consider education through different lenses. It is examples like these that have helped me to establish a foundation, a starting point, from which to begin to build my own path and I am grateful for the opportunity.

 

 

References

Coolidge, A. (2021, April 12-16). Open education: what it is; what it does and its amazing impact! [Symposium Presentation]. Master of Arts in Learning and Technology Virtual Symposium, Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC, Canada. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mQS_o-C_jO2taghriJfXKDsgfa1fUL0mTDMo2JTGSJc/edit#

Crichton, S., & Kinsel, E. (2021, April 12-16). Design conversations with bc educator: Lessons learned during covid-19 and more – canelearn [Symposium Presentation]. Master of Arts in Learning and Technology Virtual Symposium, Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC, Canada. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mQS_o-C_jO2taghriJfXKDsgfa1fUL0mTDMo2JTGSJc/edit#

Crichton, S., & Kinsel, E. (2021, March 23). Design principles for online learning: british columbia study. https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.153/sgf.292.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/CANeLearn-BC-Study-Design-Principles-for-Online-Learning-March-23-2021.pdf

Einarson, E. (2021). How can we incorporate Indigenous Worldviews in the creation of online culturally safe learning environments? [Unpublished applied research project]. Royal Roads University.

Prescott, S. (2021, January 19). From: Bridging digital equity and culturally responsive education in prek–12: Leveraging pandemic pedagogy to rethink the status quo. https://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/reports/bridging-digital-equity-and-culturally-responsive-education-in-prek12/framing-the-problem

 

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