Create, Cultivate, and Reflect on your Digital Presence

by Michael MacKay

April 30th, 2020

For the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to explore my digital identity and presence. After much contemplation and internal struggles, I believe I have concluded that I have two online personas, a personal and professional persona. Each version has a specific purpose and mandate that I leverage to meet the needs of the current activity. When looking at the needs and goals that I must meet to be a successful graduate student, I do not believe that either of my current personas is adequate.

Developing a new persona that more closely aligns with not only my goals and views of a successful graduate student but how I want to be viewed post-graduation is needed. Using some of the questions imposed by Kelly Schryver’s blog post entitled Who Are You Online? Considering Issues of Web Identity, I started to explore my new budding digital persona.

What kinds of things do you tend to post online, and how much thought do you give to choosing or creating them? What would you not post? What mental processes do you go through in deciding what to post, when and how? Do you have a different personality, presentation or persona on different sites or services? If so, why, and how do they differ? How do you think you are perceived online? Why? (Schryver, 2013)

Using Schryver’s questions, I started to sculpt this new identity. I want to be viewed as a knowledgeable expert in the field of educational technology, focusing on the current integration of emerging technologies such as virtual or augmented reality. It seems like a daunting task, as an intimate knowledge of educational practice and research paired with the technical expertise of each tool would be required. This process would equate to hundreds to thousands of hours of readings and experimental practice.

The first step would be to engross into the field, learning as much information about integrating technology into the educational domain. To become an authority in the area, I would have to have a superior understanding of the current literature that pertains to it. I believe that if I read, analyze, and summarize a single related article each week, I would build, over time, a robust repository and intimate knowledge.

Next, a methodology would need to be developed to evaluate the effectiveness of the tools I plan to use. Athanasou (1998) proposed six questions when assessing educational technology; is it ethical, does it cover a need, what are the costs and benefits, did it achieve its goals, what are the effects, and does it meet the needs of its stakeholders. Using Athanasou’s framework as a starting point, I could refine his approach to something more suited for my goals.

Finally, I would need to set some concrete measure of success. Jenkin (2013) discusses the participatory culture and how students are using technology to explore their learning. A long term goal would be for students and teachers to use this idea of the participatory culture to create, share, and explore their ideas using tools like virtual reality. In the short-term, I would like to see the acceptance, adoption, and possible use of these tools in my professional communities.

References

Athanasou, J.A. (1998), “A framework for evaluating the effectiveness of technology‚Äźassisted learning”, Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 96-103. https://doi-org.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/10.1108/00197859810211242

Kelly Schryver. (February 5, 2013 Tuesday). Guest Post | Who Are You Online? Considering Issues of Web Identity. The New York Times Blogs (The Learning Network). Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:57NS-B791-DY2M-W4PJ-00000-00&context=1516831

Jenkins, H. (2013, May 7). Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture (Big Thinkers Series) [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gPm-c1wRsQ&

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