Finland is Inland

Well if you haven’t been keeping up to date with me over the last month or so, I’ve been learning world geography – more specifically all the countries in the world as well as their capitals. I’ve pretty much got all the countries down – which comes in handy a lot more than I would have thought.

I love the fact that when I watch the news, read an article, or hear someone talk I know what/where they are talking about. Even though it’s a small thing to know where on this Earth someone is talking about, I feel more educated and globally aware anyway. In turn, it makes me want to know more. It makes me want to get more involved, to become more educated, to know what the issues in different places are, to know how to get involved.

Recently, outside of my ECMP class and university in general, I’ve taken a real interest in the Middle East/Northern Africa region. I’m finding myself passionate about the people there, the culture, and the land. I’ve been reading a book lately – The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Tough Questions, Direct Answers by Dale Hanson Bourke. Because of my learning project, I feel like I can visualize what areas are talked about in the book, and understand a little more what/where things are happening.

That feeling of being more educated and feeling more connected to the world just by knowing the names and locations of the countries may not make any sense to you. But it has really changed some things for me and I’m excited to continue. And I’m excited because I don’t think this is a skill that just goes away. It’s something I will continue to use over and over again.

Here’s some practical things I am doing to learn my world geography – I make up little things in my head – like the title. For some reason I could not remember the order or Sweden, Norway, and Finland. So of course now that I will never ever forget that Finland is inland, and is not on the large western coast of Europe. I try to make as many personal connections to different countries as I can – I have friends in Austria, Germany, El Salvador, India, New Zealand, etc. so I like to know those places because I know people from there! I also learned my heritage – German, Dutch, and a little Russian. I know where all those places are and am learning more about them.

It’s also exciting. I’m looking forward to all the places I’m going to visit. Places others are visiting/living. I can’t wait for the list of all the places I’ve been and lived and visited. I hope that it’s a very long list! If you had to pick one country to visit, where would you go?!

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Is There Such a Thing as an Honest Digital Identity?

Over the last month or so since I have began posting on my blog again, I have been thinking about my digital identity. What is a digital identity? There is an awesome blog post called Digital Identities and Digital Security that describes digital identity simply – it is who we are online. This begs the questions:

Can we be the same person online and in the “real” world?

The online world allows us to control how we want to be perceived by others and by the public. This basically allows us to portray certain aspects of ourselves, while maybe “hiding” other things we don’t want others to know. This makes me ask another question of myself:

What and how do we choose what we want others to see about ourselves?

I was asked to read an article this week on how the resume is slowly fading out, and how creating digital portfolios and digital footprints are beginning to become more prevalent. There was a quote in there that relates to my last question – “social media gives [us] a chance to show “what you want the world to know about you.””

So again I ask, what do I want the world to know about me? What is important to me? Some of the things I have decided that are the most important about me follows:

– I am a Christian – this is my identity, in every area of my life

– I love travel – there is nothing better to me than exploring new places, meeting new people and learning about myself

– I love children – all children, whether in my future classroom or otherwise, they have such a genuine love for life and a hunger to learn

– I love my family – my family lives on an acreage outside of Melfort, SK; they are the most incredible people and I am thankful for all the opportunities they have provided for me

These are only some of the more general things that I think are an important part of my digital identity. These are the things that shape my choices and the kinds of things I share and am passionate about.

Another article called Teachers, Take Care of Your Digital Footprint makes an honest and real statement, “If you aren’t controlling who you are online, someone else will.” I don’t want anyone else creating my digital identity. It’s my identity to create. I intend to make it an honest identity. I’d like to believe that it’s possible to be transparent online in a positive way and give others a window into what makes you tick, what you’re passionate about, and who are you are.

That is not to say that anyone, especially those in professional careers that deal with the public, such as teaching, should post every detail about themselves online. There is such a thing as oversharing and being insensitive and careless in posting online. I aim to avoid that and to think before I post. I am not really a writer, and I pride myself in thinking before I speak. So blogging I find that I combine the two. I take my time in my writing. Thinking before I post I guess you could say. In the last article I mentioned, they break down managing your digital identity into 4 easy steps:

– Google yourself (here’s what what happened when I googled myself – I also had to add “Regina” at the end as my name is rather common)

Screen shot 2016-02-07 at 2.38.50 PM

My “about me” page and my twitter handle came up – good news! Since there are a ton of Ashley Arndt’s on facebook my profile did not come up. The only thing missing now is by blog. But overall, I’m pleased with it at the moment.

– Establish a brand

– Get a space of your own

– Stay on top of things

After all my ramblings, I’d like to ask the question in the title of this post again: is there such a thing as an honest digital identity? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

63 Things I Should Probably Know In A Digital World…But Don’t

Yes, 63 is a very large number. I came across a blog post by TeachThought for the first time on my Feedly account, and then again on Twitter a couple days later. So I thought I should maybe check it out in case it continued to pop up over and over again and haunt me for the rest of my life. That may be a bit dramatic, but I don’t like to take those kinds of chances.

This blog post talks about how even though our fundamental human needs have not changed in the last hundreds of years, but that our world is changing and there are things that are vital for students to know. As I was reading, I also realized how many things I myself should know that I don’t. How can I teach my students how to be effective and respected digital citizens if I myself am not? Here are a couple things from the blog post that I personally think are SO vital for students to begin to know:

  1. Distinguish fact from opinion, and know the importance of each
  2. How to think critically—and carefully–about information
  3. Knowing the difference between who’s listening, who’s responding, who’s lurking, who cares, who doesn’t care, etc.
  4. The difference between someone knowledgeable, someone experienced, and someone adept
  5. A 140 character comment may not fully capture the nuance of a person’s stance or understanding of a topic. Don’t assume

Those were only 5 out of 63 things students should know! I would encourage you to head over and take a look through them as there are some things that I would never had thought of before. For example:

  1. What to share with one person, one group, one community, and one planet. (And the difference in permanence and scale between a social message, email, threaded conversation, and text.)
  2. How to effectively use technology in ways that might contradict their original purpose or design
  3. When it is socially-acceptable to check messages, update statuses, check scores, and so on. (Just because everyone at the table is doing it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have significant consequences.)
  4. Structure–essay level, blog post level, paragraph level, sentence level, world level, and acronym and initialism level–changes depending on where you publish

It’s not even that I have never thought of these things, but I have never thought of these in a classroom setting. I know these are all important things for myself, as a 4th year university student, but also what the implications are for students in the classroom with technology playing such a huge role in everyone’s lives. I’ve only scratched the surface of what this article has to offer, and I would love if you would head over and read it and let me know what things you think are most important, or what you hadn’t even thought important until now!