Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Start a blog: reflections about digital identity

"Start a blog."
"Start a blog. Use Wordpress or something."
"You're brilliant, well-read, and make amazing connections. Besides, it will give you something to do."

That was the beginning my husband's and my dinner conversation after I read about digital identity this afternoon. I always read the ITDML articles with a lens of "teacher" and "student." It hit me at dinner that blogging is much broader than that.

You see, my husband was an amazing teacher.  Teaching was his second career. He was passionate, practical, and wielded differentiated instruction like a magic wand. Due to school system climate and an unfortunate choice of actions on his part, his career ended after four short years. I won't explain. It's his story.

Anyway, he worked hourly jobs and mourned the loss of his career before cancer struck three summers ago. He now has a clean bill of health, and no job. It's a struggle for both of us. He helps out at a friend's business occasionally, and spends most of his time applying for jobs online, reading non-fiction (mostly history), and cruising social media. Whenever he "teaches" at Men's Fellowship, they hang on his every word. I "Googled" him and found his Facebook page and an article about his termination. He is more than that.

Creating a digital identity is so much more than killing time posting/boasting about yourself. By creating a digital identity, you can rewrite your story, or overwhelm some of the things you are less proud of.

I have been following Kathy Schrock on and off for years. Twenty years ago, my library director (I was Children's Librarian in Huntington CT) gushed about her. Kathy Schrock was a school librarian on the cutting edge of technology back in the early nineties. She overwhelmed me. Before it was common to have an online presence, she was out there. She has since retired from her library media specialist job, is self-employed, and bills herself as an "Educational Technologist." She presents at conferences, holds workshops, works with schools, and maintains an exciting, informative website. I have seen her. She draws huge crowds. Kathy learned new things and promoted her learning. She is a strong role model for creating a digital identity. Maybe she has grandchildren and posts on Instagram, but her top five Google hits are about Education Technology.

My top five hits (that are ME, not some NY financial director or high school basketball player) are Facebook, Twitter, church (the online version of our newsletter), and Google+. I have some work to do...

PS: My husband is starting to think of a name for his blog! So far, everything he thought of was taken. :)

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