While interviewing a teaching candidate a few weeks ago, I asked her about her own digital citizenship and the ways she uses Web 2.0 tools to create, collaborate, and communicate online. Her answer was swift and firm:
Oh no, I would never do that; I know that it is dangerous and deeply problematic to ever put information about yourself on line because it will come back to haunt you. In our family we know we must guard our privacy and protect ourselves from anything that could hurt our reputation.
We didn’t hire this candidate.
Let’s view digital footprints not as frightening dangers to avoid, but as fruitful opportunities to cultivate for ourselves and especially for our students; let’s seek to support them in creating digital portfolios and wonderfully positive images of themselves online.
TEDxYouth programs are a magnificent vehicle for this endeavor, and are readily available for schools and associations to participate in. Begin considering now whether your school or school association might participate this coming November in the next round of TEDxYouth programs.
My own regional association (Independent school Association of the Southwest) has done very fine work, mostly by its excellent technology directors, in launching last November a TEDxYouth day for our member-schools, a day in which dozens of our students prepared and presented their own TED style talks.
The program is terrific and exciting: can you think of a better way to support students in the development of their oral and digital video communication skills, to provide them opportunities to share and advocate their visions and passions, participate in a globally networked event, and enhance their digital footprints? In this event, teachers take a back-seat, facilitating and coaching as students collaboratively prepare their talks, organize the event, and manage the event’s digital production.
Last week I enjoyed seeing Jason Kern, Technology Director at Oakridge School (TX), do an excellent presentation on the ISAS TEDx program, and Jason welcomed me to share his helpful slides, available here.
ISAS tech directors have also built out a fine blog-site resource collecting many of last year’s TEDx student talks and student reflections about their TEDx experience, and have a wiki-site with details about how they have organized the event, which takes place across the breadth of our regional association with host sites in four or five states. (Note: the ISAS TEDxYouth event is for ISAS schools only, but I am happily sharing these resources as templates and inspiration for others to draw upon to launch or advance their own TEDx events).
I am sure other schools and associations are also doing excellent TEDxYouth student events; I don’t mean to suggest ISAS is alone, just that it is has done a fine job implementing the TEDxYouth concept for schools and students. Please use the comment box if you wish to share other resources and examples of great TEDxYouth initiatives.
In closing, let me share one fine example of a TEDxYouth talk by an ISAS member school student last November. Let’s spread the word and share the resources so that before too long, every one of our students has the opportunity to deliver his or her own TED style talk and, in doing so, construct a brilliant and shining digital footprint.