Embrace or Reject Digital Participation?

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I have always been cautious about sharing my personal information online, and Alec’s talk several weeks ago really reinforced my fears.

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I was shocked that his identity and photos have been used so much in catfishing scams. We need to be educating our students about these risks. So, what does this mean for my future classroom? Well, for starters, ensuring all of my student information and photos are not being shared publicly, and sharing is in line with the school’s media policy. It also means educating students about the risks of posting personal information online, so that they are able to make informed and responsible decisions about what and how they chose to share their lives digitally.


This reinforces the importance of reviewing and setting up restrictive privacy settings where you limit the type of content that you share.

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However, that said, this technology and the trends of sharing our lives with others is not something that is going away, so we need to know how to use it responsibly. Showing students how powerful various forms of social media are (ex. tracking hashtags), as well as the damage various social media platforms have caused and could potentially cause to peoples lives (bullying, damage to reputation, future job prospects, etc.). Students need to be aware of the risks and how to protect themselves.


Wesch’s talks about how people have likened the YouTube community to free hugs, showing the power of YouTube to allow individuals to connect more deeply and share parts of themselves that they normally wouldn’t be conformable sharing in face-to-face interactions.

Individuals of my generation may not understand it, but today’s youth participate in social interactions differently than we did 20 years ago. Instead of playing outside with all the kids in the neighborhood, they are interacting and expressing themselves online, and they find value and meaning from this. It is important for adults and teachers to understand the important role technology plays in the lives of our students so that we can equip them to participate responsibly.


As teachers it is important to ensure that our students are engaged, and part of this means understanding the digital world they are living in, and how students participate in collective expressions. For example, by incorporating memes into lessons.

What’s the UpSide?

I think that there are so many positive and transformative ways we can use social media to engage and enhance learning. If we show students how to harness the potential of technology responsibly and model digital citizenship.

What about you? Do you think we should be embracing and teaching digital participation in our classrooms?


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