Brave? Foolish? Private?

Online privacy is something that people take very seriously.  Reflecting on a previous post ‘Footprints – Tattoos – CVs‘, it is clear why people want to look after their privacy – especially teachers!

How would you feel being open to the world? Open to the whole world and sundry?  Is life becoming closer to the TV show Black Mirror, where life is based on approval ratings?  Every interaction is public and rated?

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This is the world that our students are living in.  They are living a very public life and want approval, but why should be teach them to be private – should be be teaching them to be private or should we teach them to be smart about how they share their data?  I’d definitely say the latter.  We are living in an open society and we need to be smart about being public.  Privacy might be dying!  I was really taken aback when I went to Learning2 Asia and signed up for a workshop on rebranding teaching.  I clearly did not read the blurb carefully, or perhaps I did and made my self believe that it was something else!  This workshop was not about rebranding your teaching, but it was about rebranding yourself as a teacher.

A very interesting idea in a world of online privacy being forced sown our throats.  Our first task was to google a partner – someone who we had never met before.  We had a questionnaire to fill in but could only use the information about the person that we had found online.  What a horrifying prospect, I immediately started to sweat (as did the rest of the room).  What would this person find out about – I knew all about privacy settings, didn’t I?  Well yes it turned out I wasn’t too bad.  However, I couldn’t find anything out about my partner.  She had no online presence – now her privacy settings but have been more secure than homeland security or she didn’t have one.  The latter was the case.  What what did this say about her?  The only information I could find about her was from her school website, she was the librarian.  A librarian who never used social media, who didn’t use computers? Who was frightened about being found? All these judgements were starting to cloud my interaction with this perfectly lovely and experienced professional.  Is this what happens when an employer can’t find out information about you because you’ve jacked up the privacy settings to number 11 – they start jumping to conclusions?

In addition to this revelation, the presenter proceeded to tell us that she used no privacy settings whatsoever, none, nothing… The room gasped. My gut reaction was to say well I’m not doing that… But wait what about the activity that we had just carried out?  Our presenter, Tosca Killoran, lived her online life out in the open and she still had a job, is a very successful professional.  Google her, there are no secrets.  You access everything she has online.  Brave or foolish? I’ve no idea!  She believes in teaching people to harness the power of the internet and use it well.

Privacy has it’s place but we know that our students are living their lives openly online.  Lets make sure we understand its potential and its pitfalls.  She has several online guide for parents and teachers encouraging them not to just tell kids to turn the privacy level up.  These are valuable resources:

All great stuff, but what are the negative effects of sharing everything online?  ‘Social Cooling‘ could become very real, very soon and I’m not sure how comfortable I am with living my life in the public eye online.  Have I switched off the privacy settings in my facebook, instagam or any other social media account? No, I don’t think I am ready yet, although I do have open ‘professional’ Twitter account – maybe I’ll be as brave as Tosca one day….

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