Providing students with opportunities to become effective critical thinkers is not new. As importance of critical thinking has increases and will continue to be a key skill people will need as society moves on, we need to encourage and empower students with tools to make informed and sound decisions. George Couros has mentioned that we need to make the positive so loud that the negative is almost impossible to hear. Unfortunately, there is so much noise on social media that it hard to know what is real or not. I recently read an article that referenced Alec Couros and how often his name and photos have used in fraudulent behavior (his name and images were used on dating sites where con artists built relationships with unsuspecting women and then used them to get money) . There are many ignorant, misinformed, pranksters, bad, and evil people that use social media to promote hate, self-shame, fraud, and toy with others. I think many students understand this but do not give this much thought because they 1) don’t think it will happen to them, 2) don’t care, and/or 3) don’t have the tools to deal with this from an emotional, spiritual, or intellectual lens. We need to start bring this to students attention in school and provide opportunities and tools to critically look at the messages that they encounter. We live in a society where ‘fake news’ (just have to look south of border for a prime example) is all over social media. Giving students tools like SOURCE, CRAAP, and SMELL are necessary are necessary to separate the wheat from the shaft, but I also feel that helping students build a strong moral compass is extremely important. There are opportunities infuse 21st Century literacies in our classroom. We have to step up and take on digital leadership roles to do this. Students are ready for new approaches and this would make the classroom more relevant for them in the process. It would allow them to reflect upon their own online presence and lead to self-awareness about their own digital tattoo. Teachers can also lead by example and examine their own online presence. I have built a strong online presence and I’m proud of what I have shared, promoted, and created. I have had many positive experiences online and have become a better teacher and person as a result. Most of my presence deals directly education with a small amount of personal information sprinkled in. I believe that online identity does reflect my professional identity and through that, you can get a strong sense of my personal identity. I do not share a lot of personal information and when I do, it is mostly my hobbies. I critically look at the sources that I follow and definitely practice what I preach. I strive to be a digital leader for me, my family, and those I serve.
Dean Vendramin. Educator for over 20 years. Currently Education Leader for Math/Science at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. Have a passion for all things in education with emphasis on technology integration, assessment, professional development, and 21 Century Education. Posts are articles he has written for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation monthly newsletter The Bulletin, Saskatchewan Math Teachers' Society The Variable, blog requests from memberships he is a part of, and his own thoughts.