Creating, Cultivating, Reflecting on my Digital Presence

 

Image Source

When I started my thoughts on what is a digital presence, I asked friends, collogues, and even several inherent strangers what they thought of their own digital presence. Most of the responses centered around social media, and the degree to which they participated in these platforms.

This got me thinking, is this the only way we can create a digital identity? Is a digital identity the same as knowing someone in real life, but simply replaced with pictures instead of memories? Written words and comments instead of spoken conversations? I think not. I challenged myself to think about the word identity first, and digital second. Let me present a concept to you: my nephew is 16 months old, and if you go to take a picture of him with your phone (sigh..digital), he immediately strikes a pose, then wants to see the image. Now I am by no means an expert on child developmental psychology, but is this him forming an identity of himself? When do we start being aware of our own identity? And if I post this picture online, does this start to create his digital identity? Are we even responsible for creating our own digital identity or can other people form part of it too?

Alas, I had to rein it in and focus on who I wanted to be in this digital existence, and the purpose of creating my own digital identity.

My approach to creating a digital presence focusses on growing my knowledge of the tools available to me. I hope to use these tools to expand my presence online in the areas I want to be a part of. My goals include contributing to the conversations, not just observing them. First, I need to know where these conversations are happening.  Second, I need to establish myself as someone who is worthy of being in the conversation. By creating an identity of an educator, a student, and a contributor I can form an identity as an active participant, not just an observer. Third, I hope to measure these successes through you all, all who read this, who also learn and contribute. My goal of creating a digital identity is to allow me to be a member of digital communities. Rheingold (2010, p.20) spoke of the use of technology, its influences, and moving from participation to collaborating “in general doing things together gives us more power than doing things alone.”

 

Rheingold, H. (2010, p.20). Attention, and other 21st century social media literacies. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2010/10/attention-and-other-21stcentury-social-media-literacies.

My use of digital technology

RRU digital map

Creating a map of my own use of digital technology was, dare I say, eye opening. I found I was forced to examine the apps, tools, and sites I use both frequently and infrequently.

This proved to be a very reflective experience as the only person I was accountable to was myself. I asked the question “why do I use these, and are they helping me?” I think of my map as a layered outline of how I approach these tools. The largest influence being Google. Google tends to be at the center of my technological use, for everything from “who is that guy in that movie?” to “how to site a blog using APA format.” I placed Google at the center of my map to show its foundation use throughout my personal and professional typology.

My other tools are layered on top of the foundation of google, Gmail for personal use, Outlook for professional email, and the more interesting one being YouTube. I have found an increasing use for YouTube relating to the “How To” videos. I feel that for myself, this has been a very effective and increasingly used tool for my own learning. YouTube has proved to be my most reliable source of open education, something I had not realized until it was right there staring at me.

I enjoyed Dave Cormier’s take on the analogue/digital and collaborative/individual map from his March 2018 blog post (http://davecormier.com/edblog/2018/03/). This seems to capture the use of resources much better than the individual use map we did in our mapping exercise.

Both would have their place, as I learned a lot about my own reasons for using digital tools in the mapping exercise. I can see a huge benefit for teams to do this exercise together. For example, imaging a group of instructors sitting down and analyzing how they share resources or interact with each other. Where can they improve? And what tools or information are they sharing well? Starting with an individual exercise to improve an understanding about oneself, and then using that to engage in a team exercise would be an interesting look at each team members role within that group. Maybe an exercise for the future MALAT?

LRNT 521- Virtual Symposium Critical Reflective Post

After attending many Virtual Symposium sessions, I am excited. The discussion around open education, particularly Dave Cormier’s 2017 talk on the messiness of online communication was intriguing to me. Cormier (2017) spoke of many types of openness, open institution, open content, and open learning. It was the open learning concept that spoke to me the most. Open education to me has always meant that anyone can use it, but his in depth discussion on the use of common social resources for education was intriguing. Increasing the participation of students in platforms they are already using such as Facebook or YouTube can be difficult to control, however, the stage is set to use these for student learning.

In 2020 when Covid-19 shut down our current education delivery system, our country along with the world, was forced to respond. In his 2020 symposium lecture, Randy Labonte quoted Dr. Tony Bates’ comment about the response during Covid-19, stating “triage is not the same as best practice.” I agree whole heartedly with this statement. Responding to a need for elearning is not the same as building one for the future. Many classroom style learning shifted to mainly online with little plan for how long it would last, and limited or no support for educators. I found myself one of these educators, quickly developing online resources, lesson plans, and trying to imagine how a largely hands on program could be effective without the hands on.

Specifically within the healthcare sector itself, Sharon Ambata-Villanvera spoke of the importance health care professionals place on face to face learning (2021). She identified face to face learning as one of the important factors for healthcare professionals to adopt and sustain an online learning community. I found this to align with my own experience, as many health care professionals such as myself are used to face to face learning, and developing relationships in a more personal way. This might present a social challenge to transitioning to an elearning environment within certain areas such as healthcare.

Amanda Coolidge (2021) spoke of the increasing global attention on an open system within the K-12 education system, and the increased need for sharing knowledge. This inspires me to be a part of the growing community supporting the need for educational change. Although there are many pros and cons when we open the delivery of education and students to constant connectivity, the move towards openness can improve access to education for more people than ever before.

 

References:

Ambata-Villanvera, S. (2021). The development of an online learning community to support the continuous learning and development of healthcare professionals; digital skills and practices. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/SharonVS2021.

Coolidge, A. (2021). Open education: What it is, what it does and its amazing impact. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/CoolidgeVS2021.

Cormier, D. (2017). Intentional messiness of online communication. Retrieved from https://malat-coursesite.royalroads.ca/lrnt521/dave-cormier-virtual-symposium-presentation/.

Labonte, R. (2020). Remote teaching or online learning? K-12 Schooling in a pandemic world. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2xy9o8XMALATVS.

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Emma Keating, welcome, and join me as I start out on an adventure of my own education and what it means to be part of the conversation.