What is Online Identity?


Online identity is the idea that everything interacting in the digital realm has or acquires a set of data or attributes, both inherent and changeable, that uniquely identify them as a person or entity online. Relevant to issues of privacy and authentication, digital identity encompasses a wide array of contextual and technical identifiers that exist in a ontological taxonomy. Traits can be understood and accepted in mutually agreed upon contexts such as when providing data like name and address for a PayPal transaction, and in the far more technical view that describes the relationships of these entities and objects to each other in cyberspace. Another dimension of this topic is the persona one forges through their online profiles and avatars, specifically on social media.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 8, 2012 - jason.graham jason.graham Oct 14, 2015- matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Creation of an online profile, a positive digital tattoo at an early age by engaging with technology and making good decisions in an authentic way. - jason.graham jason.graham Oct 15, 2015
  • Teaching students that having some sort of online presence is virtually unavoidable at this stage. The important thing is that information is shared responsibly and respectfully. - brian.duffy brian.duffy Nov 8, 2015
  • Online selves are looked at very different through the lens of youth. It is mostly adults who freak out about the difference between our AFK lives and digital lives. In this TEDx talk Alexandra Samuel asks us to stop apologizing for our online lives and tells us we craft the content and can make it as close to who we are as people- just like youth do. https://youtu.be/ui2ZwO-efo0
  • This technology has become more and more a topic of conversation for our HS students, who are thinking about their online identity as HS students but then transitioning to their lives as independent adults going off to uni or doing gap years. In the MS, students are not as aware of the impact of their online identity of their future lives, but they recognize that it's important because we as teachers are telling them that it is. :) Again, this is becoming more of a curricular piece. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015
  • Online identity, digital branding, and digital footprint are now central parts of our digital citizenship curriculum, moving us away from purely Internet Safety to personal development. We approach this akin to morals and fashion sense in that students interactions with other digitally and how they will be perceived by others requires a level of focus and effort. Whatever actions they take, even inaction, will result in changes to this identity. What we're finding is that this starts early (upper primary) rather than secondary school where we though it began before. Online identity has become a very important part of adolescence. - matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015 - dsilva dsilva~


(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Impact of these identities, we may have more than 1 and what impact does this have? Do/can we have a social identity and professional identity? - jason.graham jason.graham Oct 15, 2015
  • In her book, It's complicated http://www.danah.org/books/ItsComplicated.pdf Danah Boyd discusses that in reality the online and away from keyboard lives of teens are the same. David Collett in his L2 talk discusses TCK and their online identities in much the same way Boyd does https://youtu.be/xVPV44v8R-Y.
  • What's missing is the link between school and life: how do these areas overlap? Do they need to? Why? and how? So many questions around this. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015
  • I agree with Adrienne here. Online identity is a key bridge over the home school divide with implication on successful growth in both. I would also say that it's prominence as a Digital Citizenship or communicative competency development is missing. - matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • Do we become a bunch of content creators and shameess self promotors through creating our online identity? - jason.graham jason.graham Oct 15, 2015

  • As we are moving into personalized and individualized learning, we should consider that in the same way we are fed ads based on our search history or online conversations, teaching and learning could be tailored to students based on their online choices. Right now there is HUGE money invested by large corporations to find out what we are interested in, what we like and what we might buy. With wearable tech, and tracking of online identity teachers could really tap into students interests, worries etc.. and tailor a programme just right for them. - tosca.killoran tosca.killoran Nov 10, 2015
  • Students in 2015 are not thinking about online identity as separate from any other identity -- with the exception of a handful of students who have online personas on particular platforms, such as YouTube. This is an area I feel we need to think more about in terms of helping students understand how different data points online help others form a working idea of a "person" online. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015
  • I think creative online and engaged discussion has shown that online identity management is key for credibility and reach. As students look to connect internally and externally for their learning they must focus on persona online. Content in comments as well as language are the new "body language" traits for students. - matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • At NIST we have created a EdTechFramework for schools that works to empower students to make appropriate choices when developing their digital footprint. http://edtechframework4schools.weebly.com/
  • UWCSEA has a section of its PSE curriculum devoted to online (digital) identity, and its place in digital communities. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015
  • BSJ is working with Common Sense Media to create a teacher, parent, and administrator credential program where we generate a common message about online identity to all of our students. Further, it has become of our Digital Citizenship and PHSE programs all the way down to primary. - matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

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