Friday, March 14, 2008

Digital identies redux

It's bad enough that Al Upton got his class blog yanked, but now a teacher has lost his job over his online presence.

FWIW, this was the fellow from Doha, Qatar, who joined me and Clay Burell on an amazing Skype chat a few weeks ago.

It's not as if he posted pr0n or hatespeech, or that he posted anything offensive at all - according to his account, the problem was the fact that he linked his personal life to his professional life.

It's horribly ironic that recently a number of us were talking about the very same thing, and I concluded that I've pretty much given up trying to separate my "public and professional" online identity from my "private" online self. I think I even left a comment on the post that Jabiz felt obliged to take down.

How can we teach our students to be transparent, integrated, whole human beings if we are forced to compartmentalize ourselves?

Just feed them through the bunghole

Oh, for crying out loud.

Australian educator Al Upton has been ordered by the government to shut down his class blog. Apparently a parent - despite previously giving permission for their little darling to participate in an innovative, authentic learning activity with other students and teachers from around the globe - got upset that said little darling's picture was not removed faster than it was technically possible. Said clueless parent threatened legal action and contacted the Aussie Feds.

Look, I have kids, and I understand a parent's concerns. And if you read this blog you'll understand that I am hardly a libertine. But the risks to kids from online predators have been grossly overstated. And besides, these kids are in Australia! Are the little darlings really at risk from people who live on the OTHER SIDE OF THE PLANET?!?! Hull-lo?

Let's just put the kids in a barrel and feed them through the bunghole. Then they'll really be safe.

Nancy White has a typically wiser and more thoughful response over at Full Circle. I'm still a bit too cranky to be wise and thoughtful at the moment.