(re)Designing Digital Identities: Help Me Define Me

In the third learning event we were asked to reflect and represent our digital identities. I enjoy this focus on doing the identify work of teachers. It fits the metaphor we seek.

CC-BY-SA. Oakley Foxtrot. (2014). Identity. Flickr

Digital Citizenship

I can’t stand the term digital citizenship. It rings with a vapidness only surpassed by digital native. Baked into digital citizenship is the idea that children are inherently bad, the Web is dangerous and us righteous adults must protect children and point out the error in their ways.

Not true. The most dangerous place for students is not the Internet it is the home.Yet people always ask what is your alternative? I usually responded with either being a connected learner or being a good person.

The third walk we took, however, taught me the answer is identity work (Gee, 2003). We can not establish separate identities in our offline worlds and our online worlds. We have multiple MEs and identities that cut across the Internet connection.

Modes and Identity

We are asking exploring our identity work through a multimodal lens as we seek to see represent ourselves in less verbocentric ways (Eco, 1976) In fact Kress notes:

the broad move from the now centuries long dominance of writing to the new dominance of the image and … the move from the dominance of the medium of the book to the dominance of the medium of the screen … are producing a revolution in the uses and effects of literacy and of associated means for representing and communication at every level and every domain … This in turn will have profound effects on human, cognitive/affective, cultural and bodily engagement with the world, and on the forms and shapes of knowledge (p. 1).

This in turn includes the identity work we must do.

My Digital Representation

For this walk I chose to share the draft of my 4th Annual Review Folder. As a professional goal I am tryiong to research and conduct my scholarship in the open. I also want to root my research goals not in significant outcomes but in making significant contributions to my learning networks in both digital and meat spaces.

This does not always fit with the promotion and tenure process for my university. For example I attended a conference on Community Engaged Scholarship and Promotion and Tenure last year. Community was and is defined as a physical place.  I live online.

This causes issue during the promotion and tenure process. I need to represent my digital identities in  my binder (yes you still have to submit a binder…and I am slightly jaded by this as well. In my mind if you can’t sell your awesomeness in a two page letter you don’t deserve to be rehired. If your Provost after five years needs a binder to know your work you also don’t deserve tenure).

I thought I would plaster my binder with shortlinks and QR codes. I was tempted to cut out a section and stick in a tablet. Yet I learned that the P&T committees can not use any connected device when reviewing your folder. The thinking goes that this protects faculty who can not effectively use technology. My thinking is these faculty do not need protection they need pink slips.

So back to the drawing board. Instead I decided to hack the annual review file. I decided to make a digital representation of myself as a transgenre news magazine that put greater emphasis on images. I wanted to be the revolution that Kress wrote about.

This is a very rough draft. I have much work to do before I submit the review in a week.  This includes cutting it up and sticking in a binder with a stack of data. We literally have to put in every student review and artifacts for each claim we make such as our first page of our publications. I cannot think of a more archaic way of representing data that belongs in a searchable database or that can be linked online.

Yet identities are both done to us by the world and  done onto the world by us. I try to tell my story to help make the world a more open place to our digital work.

I Need Your Help

This maybe my first real attempt at a transgenre publication. My publications are movie posters, I use poetry, I remixed my theoretical perspective as an interview with Mimi Ito, Howard Rheingold, and John Dewey.

I (re)designed my digital identity. One of the final sections are letters to the editor. I will include some choice student feedback but I also wanted to include brief (100-250 words) letters from the Open Web and my PLN. This can be a reflection on me helping you, you helping me, or your thoughts on #connectedlearning and the open web.

Just send me an email to jgregmcverry@gmail.com or shout to me on Twitter,

Artistry and Agency

Rob Tierney often speaks about the artistry and agency necessary for the Web. He suggests we weave meanings across different engagements and spaces. Tierney argues the artisty has more to do with the meaning maker and not the technology. Tierney also points out that we engage in “constructing selves or a multiple persona in the company of others.” This embodiement of identity means we are all actors in a great dance. As weave our narrative we have a sense of agency in shaping our digital worlds.

That is the essence of #walkmyworld. We want to dance with you as we make our corner of the internetz a place for teachers and students to thrive.

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