How Many of You Have Ever Felt Personally Victimized by the Regina George of the Internet: Surveillance

Image result for regina george and technology memesIt's Wednesday night and I am physically and mentally exhausted from these past three days! BEYOND thankful that tomorrow is Thursday, or Friday Eve as I like to call it. 
I've got candles burning, coffee in hand, and popcorn in my lap as I sit down to explore the Data Detox Tool Kit. Now, not only am I bloated from all the sweets I ate throughout the day, but I'm now realizing how bloated I am over the data that is out there! The Data "bloat" as it's called, is a real thing. I have created numerous email addresses just to get that "Sign Up now to get 15% OFF" coupon!

So sitting down to do this detox, I am excited! I also found that I was nervous. I had no idea what was going to come up. I found that when I searched my name, in terms of images, what came up was either my twitter picture or images from the wedding website I created last year. It didn't alarm be, but it was strange to see my pictures coming up in a google search! I also found that it was alarming the amount my computer knew in comparison to my best friend.

Truthfully, I'm a bit overwhelmed this week. Exploring the different info graphics and websites that created graphs or details of our digital footprint was tough to decode. I'm not sure I know what it all means. For example, I did the Twitter Analysis and found this: my first twitter digital footprints in the sand. As someone who is relatively knew to using Twitter, I find that, while I'm learning to be comfortable with it, I am still not. In terms of creating a network, I am more comfortable using Instagram to connect. I use instagram to connect with teachers all of the world, to learn new strategies, see new projects, and overall feel less  alone in our profession. 

One thing the documentary "Do Not Track" mentioned, was that so many people share on Facebook and other social media sites, but not enough people share the hardships or the pitfalls. This struck me because while I agree, I also disagree. More and more I have been seeing my teaching community share about "teacher guilt" and getting it all done while trying to do it all. I've seen friends share the joys of having new babies, but also put out their the struggles they are having. I've seen people, in probably the past year, be more open and more vulnerable then ever before, and I think that's important. Maybe it's showing that while the age of the internet has taken away relationships formed face to face, maybe it's also created a platform for individuals to share things they wouldn't normally. 

But I digress... 

Something else hat struck me while working through the data detox, was that one suggestion for minimizing your tracked information was to use a variety of browsers that are privately friendly. This sounds do-able to my personal life, but it got me thinking about my professional one. The district where I work is a "Google" district. We are encouraged to become "Google Educators", and we use Google EVERYTHING. So in a world where so many have already bought in, literally and figuratively, to all Google is and offers, how do I educated them or convince them to change? 

My fear is that too many of us are of the mindset that what we are doing online isn't bad, so so what? Even when we were talking with Chris Gillard last week, he mentioned that we need to start educating people more, and getting into the schools. He shared out some ways he educates his son, which was great, but we ran out of time before I could ask, "How do you propose we educated those in schools?" My concerns as a teacher is that it's easy to say 'start in schools', but no body seems to offer any concrete examples.

I was doing some research about how best to prepare our students, in order to better articulate the questions I want answers to. Check out what I found on my post-Breaking News: Big Foot is Real!  Expect to get thinking about how we talk to kids in terms of their digital footprints and not just stranger danger on the internet. Be prepared to think about how we pose these questions to them and consider whether or not we are models for what we expect of them. In terms of how optimistic I am in regards to finding the light in the darkness, well I have to say, I am about an 8 in terms of our capability to teach these kids! We just need to put in the work!

In addition to that, check out my post Illuminating the darkness one nightlight at a time to learn more about protecting student data! We live in a word where parents and teachers communicate instantaneously, student information is readily available, and this data is used to drive instruction. So much of education has trended toward technology, we need to take the steps to protect the data, and use it in a way that we don't end up feeling like technology is the enemy. On a scale of 0-10, this research  has me right smack dab in the middle in regards to my feelings about coming out of the darkness. It has left me wishing for more nightlights. 


  1. You are on the right track with starting with a eye catching title (and I have to admit I had to do some looking up to understand the Regina George reference-- well played!)

    If that worked in the comment, it's a suggestion I am making to a lot of #netnarr bloggers, and that is to make more use of links in your posts, What if someone reads this post and has no idea what a Data Detox is or the documentary you reference? When you write blog post, try to step out of the context that you and I know from the class because we know these things. Use links to connect to what you are talking about (just like you did to connect to your other posts).

    Okay, moving on from mechanics...

    Creating numerous email addresses is actually a good idea to use on sites that demand one for access; it's better than using your personal address to enter one you don't need to check.

    Did you try the part of the detox where you searched in a browser or mode where not logged into Google? That's part of the process too, that search results are tied to your logins. When I search for the same words you do, I might see slightly different results. How fair is that?

    It's perfectly fine to be uncomfortable with twitter; and we've not done much (yet) that might demonstrate its value. We are not trying to suggest it's better than others for connecting. The idea of doing the analytics is to have you look at later the difference, and also to demonstrate that maybe some tracking is beneficial for you.

    Perhaps you could also share more about the differences in instagram vs twitter-- is it familiarity?

    There is nothing wrong with using Google browsers (I am on one now), especially if that is the platform used at school/work. The detox part on browsers is more to let you know of options for your personal web exploring IF you start to worry about the way the browser shares your info.

    There is definitely a lot of concrete info out there on how communicate these issues in school, and we can do some digging to find it. I definitely agree that a scare tactic/ stranger danger is not the way to go with kids in school; what you want is to help them be aware and better equipped to make choices, be wary of possible information (we are about to go into fake news).

    We have some nightlights ahead of us-= don;t worry about feelimg overwhelmed, your work here is right on target.


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