We’re trying something different this year. Our class of 11-going-on-12-year-olds is lucky enough to be piloting Google Apps for Ed. for our board/district, but, unlike last year, I’m going to have my students blog anonymously*.
Students are going to create ‘alter egos’ of themselves, whether it be a superhero, animal, wizard, pilot, or professional skateboarder, and write in role for the year. They won’t necessarily post from that perspective all the time, but they will represent themselves as somewhat of an alternative identity. As the teacher, I made this executive decision for three main reasons.
First, I wanted to respect the awesome community I teach in. I know some families aren’t comfortable (yet) with the idea of self-publication and intentional digital footprinting. I don’t see why I should be making that decision for them.
Second, I wanted to incorporate art and design into the learning with social media. I very much am borrowing an idea from my love of teaching drama when I talk about writing in role. Moreover, I’d like to see my students taking considerable control over their graphic design literacy.
And third, I want to test the notion of whether you really have to be yourself to learn how to be yourself. Adolescence, of which my students are walking through the doors of, is a time for experimentation and natural identity play. Will their grasp of digital citizenship and autonomy be weaker or stronger for having played Superman before revealing they are Clark Kent?
I’ll let you know how it goes. I’d love to hear your feedback on this idea.
*Students will not be anonymous to myself or each other, but they will be to the public.