The Development of my Digital Footprint

In this day and age, it seems everyone has some form of digital footprint. I began with using myspace years ago when I was in my early 20’s long before I even knew what the  term digital footprint was. I used myspace to share music, pictures of social events and vent at times. Of course I had no idea what implications my posts would have and figured only those who I was friends with could see what I shared.  When I read “How Your Unknowingly Embarrassing yourself online (and How to Stop) by Alan Henry, I immediately thought of all the things I may have posted on Myspace many years ago!

You probably know not to post things online that could bite you later, but many of us do it all the time anyway—often without even realizing it. Whether it’s a friend tagging you in a photo or admitting you torrent your movies in a Facebook status, even innocuous posts or photos can damage your relationships, get you in trouble at work, or even land you in legal hot water.

I know I have posted and been tagged in many different pictures and comments in my early social media days. Those postings are still out there in the digital world and I worry about that. Even though nothing is too incriminating it is still there (beach pics, trips through Europe, etc). I enjoyed when I could share pictures and posts years ago, but now I feel I have to be so much more careful even with very high privacy settings.


According to Erica Swallow in her article, How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates 69 percent of recruiters have rejected candidates based on their social network profiles or their digital footprints. Personally, I do not feel the social network determines how well a job can be performed and I have a hard time accepting that this happens, a part of me also understands why this happens. An employer does not want someone who will complain about work online, spend time having fun and not make it into work, or do something illegal. However, my posts in my earlier social media days did not impact my job nor my performance in anyway. I would be disappointed to lose out on an opportunity just because some pictures posted.

I do feel it is important to represent oneself in a positive light on social media and I do have separate accounts for social life and friends as well as social media outlets that I use for work and to develop PLN’s. I have recently started using Twitter this past year and have found it to be an excellent tool to showcase some of what is happening in the classroom.  I am also learning that I can use Twitter to help develop a strong PLN and learn more through the different articles posted.  I feel my digital footprint on Twitter is positive as I learn more about it. I would hope a future employer would look closely at this in order to get a good picture of how I work as a professional.


I am also beginning to experiment with blogging for my classroom. I do not have much up yet as it takes an incredible amount of time for me to add pictures and describe them, but I am having fun and hopefully this will be a tool I can use more in the future to communicate with parents as well as have a more positive digital footprint.

On that note, I do believe it is important to teach children even as young as kindergarten that what is put online is there forever, so they need to be positive and careful. They are just learning to blog as well with our Easy Blogger Jr. and as we look at some of the things blogged, we discuss whether it is appropriate or not (videos of kids making silly noises or in the bathroom verses kids reading a story they wrote).  It is never too early to explain appropriate material and what is positive and negative. Hopefully they will start early to build a positive digital footprint.

What’s The Weather? Final project for Course 1

It took me a long time to figure out what to do for my final project. I have embarked on a lot of new technology features (a lot meaning two, but that is a lot for me to handle) and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do a writing unit or science unit since I have been using some new technology for both. I decided to stick with the science unit since we are still in the process of completing it and I included a little more collaboration with other schools throughout the world and a large portion of what I’ve learned in COETAIL so far has been about the importance of collaboration. I thought about what Andrew Marcinek said in his article, Help Students Use Social Media to Empower, Not Just connect:

As educators, we must model positive use of learning networks and groups, and give students the proper foundations in the effective use of social media. Let’s move students beyond the simple connections that they get, and really empower their voices, abilities, and talents.

I have learned that with my kindergartners, I can build the foundation on teaching the children how to collaborate with others around the globe in a purposeful manner. They can see the value of working collaboratively and having strong connections with others. We had wonderful conversations with other students from around the world and discussed their weather, watched some of them prepare to go outside (snowsuits, etc.) and gained a new perspective of people around the world. The students really enjoyed collaborating with others from around the world and learned a lot from them!snow


My school recently adopted the NGSS Science Standards, so my colleagues and I were already working on the unit for Earth’s Systems mostly about weather. The unit was originally planned out a while ago with very little technology, however with the introduction of the SAMR Model, I realized, I need to look at the limited technology and decide how to add new technology in a more purposeful way to help promote higher order thinking skills. Using both the SAMR model and the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, I  looked at the original technology planned (songs and videos) and realized that did not promote much higher level thinking and it was mostly used as a substitution for older videos and books.

That is when I decided to use Skype and connect with other schools (friends’ classes) to collaborate more and learn even more about the weather patterns around the world. As I said earlier, this was a great introduction to purposeful collaboration and networks. As the unit continued, I began experimenting with the Kid Weather app. The students had a lot of fun with it and we were able to record the weather in other parts of the world and see the clothing that might be worn.

As the final assessment of the unit, the original plan was to have the children forecast the weather with pictures and labels based on the patterns they saw in previous weeks. I decided to take this a step further after I was introduced to the Easy Blogger Jr.  The blogger has a function that allows the students to video their forecast and why they made the predictions they made. This will allow me to see more than just the final product, but also understand the children’s thinking.



I have not completed this unit yet, and and still working on ideas that might not happen this year, but may come together for next year when I complete this unit again.  I was thinking it would be fun to share the bloggs with the other classes we spoke with and see what they come up with as well. I can challenge my own students to make weather predictions for the other locations based on the patterns recorded and send the predictions to them as well.

All of this is still a work in progress and I am still figuring it out as I go. I hope next year when this unit is taught, more will be in place and I will have more experience with different tools.


“Learn, Unlearn, Relearn”

I feel like I am in the process of learning and unlearning at the same time. Cathy Davidson discussed attention blindness in her article,  Collaborative Learning for the Digital Age as being so focused on one thing that we may be missing other things. She states:

It’s not easy to acknowledge that everything we’ve learned about how to pay attention means that we’ve been missing everything else. It’s not easy for us rational, competent, confident types to admit that the very key to our success—our ability to pinpoint a problem and solve it, an achievement honed in all those years in school and beyond—may be exactly what limits us. For more than a hundred years, we’ve been training people to see in a particularly individual, deliberative way. No one ever told us that our way of seeing excluded everything else.

attention blindness

When I read that, it made me think about how I’ve been trained to teach based on standards, focusing on what the children need to know by the end of a unit. I am so focused all the time on meeting the standards that I realise I may be missing many other key opportunities in my class. For example, a child who is not quite at grade level in reading may still harness many skills and prereading abilities that I am not focusing on. Instead, I am looking at the final picture and not giving the child credit for what he is doing. Fellow cohort, Linda Grunwald made an excellent point in her  blog UbD or NOT?

But, my little kiddos might not meet the standards because they aren’t developmentally ready!?!  I really think that standards are what we should be using as guideposts with the understanding that sometimes standards aren’t appropriate.

Maybe reading at a certain level by the end of kindergarten is not developmentally appropriate, but am I still being rigorous if I believe this?  I think I need to unlearn everything I’ve been taught and look at the skills and abilities the child does have. Is he able to listen to a story and retell it? Can he hold a book and read through the pictures or retell what he has read before? There are so many other skills that makes a child a reader versus just being at a certain level by the end of the school year. It is quite possible that these skills will allow the child greater access to stories and they will make tremendous amounts of growth when they are ready.

reading age

I am beginning to read more and more about this with articles that have been passed around my PLN and I am coming to terms with the fact that it is ok to step back and look at things in new way instead of having attention blindness.

Collaborating in the digital world has opened up a so many new ideas and opportunities for me. I really enjoyed the Tedx video by Dan Meyer discussing everything we are doing wrong with math textbooks. I am torn at the moment with our own math textbooks (in kindergarten!!) that have to be completed. I am struggling with how to complete the textbook, but teach the skills a different way. I believe I may be able to build up my PLN to seek more help in this issue. I have not tried it yet, but in the coming months, I intend to begin connecting with other Early Childhood teachers to get ideas for math. I had been stuck for months on what to do, and with a supportive PLN, I can reach out to others for guidance.



I had never put much thought in my PLN (nor did I really understand what it was until this month) but Andrew Marcinek made an excellent point in his article Help Students Use Social Media to Empower, Not just Connect,

I want someone in my PLN who is going to give me constructive criticism and also accept it. I want someone in my PLN who is going to share both professionally and personally (i.e. picture of his or her dog). I want someone who has a sense of humor. I want someone who wants to learn, listen, and consistently share. I want someone who provokes my thinking.

I need to start building my own PLN to help me with learn and unlearn and steer me from attention blindness.