Does this blog post make my digital footprint look big?

Bugs Bunny Feet
Bugs Bunny Feet by marya on flickr. CC by 2.0

Funny story about feet:

For some reason, at the end of 7th grade, I wanted my feet to stay size 6 forever. I completely rejected and would not acknowledge the growth of my feet. When my mom took me school shopping and we realized that my feet had grown a whole shoe size over the summer, I almost refused to get new school shoes. I was so mad that my feet had grown that much and were now H-U-G-E! I laugh when I think about that now, because my feet, of course, have continued to grow.

I wanted my (smallish) feet to stay small forever, but they didn’t. They couldn’t. They were meant to grow, and so they did. As it turns out, my big feet have taken me places that the 7th grade me could never have imagined.

I’ve discovered that my digital footprint is a lot like that. When I began using technology as a teacher, I was very conservative (almost stealthy) when it came to my digital footprint. I was happy to browse for ideas and information for my classes, and I was glad to find so many resources I could use.

I was very wary, however, of maintaining my privacy, and tried not to leave any breadcrumbs on the sites I visited: no comments, no “likes” or “+1s.”  Instead, I quietly “favorited” several “go to” sites in my browser bookmarks and admired from afar the amazing teachers who developed such great ideas for using technology with their classes, and who found the time to write about their experiences and post them on their blogs. I also admired their courage for putting themselves out into the world like that, but I never imagined myself doing it.

I have learned a lot over the past few months and have really grown as an educator, however. Several weeks ago, I created an “About” page for my blog. I had to complete the task as a class assignment; otherwise, I’m not sure I would have ever done it. Creating the “About” page made me think about my online presence for the first time and why it mattered. I have also had the opportunity to share learning experiences and insights through blog posts I have written and have written comments on other writers’ blogs. I have also shared great ideas I have found online with others and followed and participated in Twitter chats (and I’m still here!) 🙂  Even more than that, my participation has made me feel connected to like-minded professionals.

I understand now that I am part of a global community of educators who share a common goal of helping our students become empowered and effective participants in their communities – and in this world. Reaching out to others in the global teaching community, in a spirit of collaboration, makes me feel more empowered as an educator, too.

I thought keeping to myself, staying “smallish” while taking advantage of what others were producing was good enough. I realize now that I have something to contribute to the conversation, and I’m jumping in with both (big) feet!

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About amysullvn

I have taught 9th and 10th grade Intensive Reading and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) for the past 8 years in Brevard County, FL. I am currently working toward the completion of my masters degree in Instructional Design and Technology/Educational Technology at the University of Central Florida.
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4 Responses to Does this blog post make my digital footprint look big?

  1. SadeK says:

    I love this post! This class was more than just learning about all the different technologies that we could use in our classes. We were required to leave that comfort zone and create a digital presence. It allowed me to realize the capabilities I had with regard to not only using the web to find teaching resources, but also to create those sources and to be of assistance to those who are where we were not too long ago.

    • amysullvn says:

      Hi Sade,

      Thank you for your comment! 🙂 I agree that one of the most important things I learned this semester (among the MANY things I learned!) was the importance of having an online presence and being an active participant in the communities to which I belong. As teachers, especially, we can easily feel isolated because we are so busy just trying to meet the demands of our students, and keep up with other professional commitments each day. I never thought I had time for things like blogging and getting involved with Twitter. I now understand the value of making time to build connections through these tools. It’s an investment that will pay off. We can learn through our connections how to be more effective and efficient in our teaching. For me, that is time well-spent.

  2. sw5050a says:

    Amy,
    This was an entertaining post and it was creative how you connected the digital footprint theme to the childhood story! 🙂 I am not surprised, though. You have contributed a lot of good information during this term for our EME5050 course, on your blog and by sharing links to useful resources. I can relate to your comment about being private online as I am also very security conscious. You have certainly come out of your shell; I will attempt to follow your lead! Congratulations, and thank you for this and all your contributions this fall.
    Sasha

    • amysullvn says:

      Sasha,

      Thank you so much for your comments! 🙂 I have really enjoyed reading and have learned a lot from your blog posts, too. It is so beneficial for all of us, as educators, to connect with one another and technology has made it so much easier. I have realized how much more I can learn by engaging with others, rather than just passively picking up information. It takes more effort to stay engaged, but I think all of us have learned, through this course, how much that engagement can enrich our learning and teaching. Thanks again for your comments and for your contributions to our learning community. I look forward to reading more from you (and sharing!) as we continue our journey to integrate technology into our teaching.

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