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The Global Educator, by Julie Lindsay

Created by Alan Levine @cogdog as the Keynote video for Flat Classroom Project 12-1 and NetGenEd Project 2012

Our language of saying "going online" carries the connotation that we go to a different place, and with that, who we are in these places has a different identity. With the ubiquity of mobile devices, we effectively carrying the internet in our pockets, and for me, carries questions about the blurred boundary of "online" versus "offline". In this video, I would like to explore these questions, share some stories, and make some suggestions about managing our own identities versus having it managed for us.
Guiding Questions:
- Is there a clear demarcation between who you are online and elsewhere?
- What parts of you are people missing out on if they do not interact with the online you?
- Why (or why not) should you manage your own personal cyber infrastructure? What does this mean to you?
- Who are we in this space where the online world is not something distinctly separate?

Alan is widely recognized for expertise in the application of new technologies to education and was a pioneer on the web. An early proponent of blogs and RSS, he shares his ideas and discoveries at CogDogBlog. More recently he has explored new forms of web storytelling (including 50+ Web 2.0 Ways To Tell a Story and the StoryBox), and tools for connecting and open sharing online.

Currently he is an instructional technology specialist at the University of Mary Washington, following leadership positions at the New Media Consortium and the Maricopa Community Colleges. When possible, he enjoys the peace of a little cabin in Strawberry, Arizona. His interests include digital storytelling, digital photography, bending WordPress to his whims, and randomly dipping into the inifinte river of the internet.

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Comment by NikoH_SVHS on June 5, 2012 at 6:15am

People online think that they can hide behind a username and not deal with the effects of what they write or post, compared to if they were to say it in person. Also by talking to someone online you could be talking to someone who has created a fake image of themselves and not who you see them as or how they've portrayed themselves as. Managing your personal infrastructure helps to prevent people perceive an image of you from what you have online. For example, colleges and possible employers look online to see what someone has posted to develop a feel for what a person is truly like. The internet is somewhere where we can remake ourselves in the image we want to be seen as, and that image may not necessarily be a truthful one

Comment by LaurenE_SVHS on May 25, 2012 at 10:39am

I think people are a lot different online than they are in real life. Online, people act differently because they know that they will often never meet the people they are talking to. This is how cyber bullying can become a problem because bullies can hide behind their computers, phones, or mobile devices. People often do not reveal their entire identity in an online situation. If online if the only place you talk to someone, you will not find out as much about them as you would in a different setting. People often have a different code of conduct online than they would at school, with their parents, or with their friends. It is important to manage who you are online because you want people to be getting as much of an accurate view as possible. The internet can be a resourceful and entertaining place, but you also have to be safe and true to who you are.

Comment by EvgenyO_AAS on May 3, 2012 at 7:48pm
  • Is there a clear demarcation between who you are online and elsewhere?

There is a difference between who you are online and who you really are because people might hide behind some other peoples photos. A stranger from the internet was invited to other peoples houses just because they chatted online. However it turned out that the person who was online did not appear the same as they thought of him on the internet. An identity is mostly like a target zone , the focused center is what you present in certain circumstances. On internet you can play things by. Some people are invisible in real life and hide behind intimacy on the internet and they act braver. Some people had no live contact while they chatted on the internet. Sometimes it dfeels unbalanced that you know so much about a human that is online. Different people express themselves differently online. It all depends from what they want to prove to other people and what do they strive to. Who do this online people know? That’s a question , because there could be someone that you don’t want to know anything about you. You always have to be careful online. Basically you open your world to all people that have access to the internet. A internet is like a dream , but a real dream.

  • What parts of you are people missing out on if they do not interact with the online you?

They miss some of your parts , people don’t want Facebook do describe their whole identity. So I think that you can never say you know a person without ever having a live contact with him because all of this online relationships are at some point very fake and don’t mean anything , it is like a game where you gain friends and messages from strangers who don’t care about you and your life  and would never invite you to dinner.

  • Why (or why not) should you manage your own personal cyber

First year students set up their first courses , they register and will have this profile for few years. For example what would an avatar say about you. Some people spend a lot of time thinking if who they really are and who do they want to appear alike on the internet and depending on that people choose their own iunique profile details , aavatars , and other describing them additions.


  • infrastructure? What does this mean to you?

Infrastructure means to me the system based on which people perceive your identity. It’s a whole world where people express themselves without being afraid of other people proving them wrong or unadequate or not liking them. To me infrastructure means everything that goers on in the internet , it is like a duplication of a real life saved on some devise like a computer.

  • Who are we in this space where the online world is not something distinctly separate?

We are who we are and we try to show our best parts when we are on the internet , preferring to hide the worst parts of our identity or personality , that’s why there appears a gap between what was a person expecting another person from the internet to be like in real life and who he really is.


Comment by JamesK_svhs on May 3, 2012 at 12:18pm

I think there is a difference between how someone is online and in person. If people do not interact with a person online, they could miss out on who you want to be and certain elements that you would not mention or be too shy to mention in real life. We are who we want to be in the online space. We are without the flaws of ourselves. Despite from bullying, being online can help to relate the world together, become more peaceful and considerate of what is going on in another person’s life.

Comment by Alan Levine on May 1, 2012 at 2:53am

I want to thank everyone for their responses to the video and the questions, this has been a valuable experience for me. As I expected the answers are not always very cut and dry.

Obviously we all have a sense that while it is a choice, we often do act differently in on online space than out in person ones. This is no surprise, the question for me remains, is there really a true fixed "identity:, is it the composite of all the ways we allow ourselves to be seen- who is the real me?

It is nothing new, since in what we see as the "real world" selves, we typically choose different ways to be based on the environment, our roles etc, identity seems like a changing thing.

I do want to acknowledge Jordan's observation "My biggest problem with this video was Alan only addressed adults" which is true, that was the perspective I put out there. My context of what I do online is likely very different than many of you- but had hoped that you could take that and try and figure out your own answers.

Lastly, I find it interesting that the usual phrase for describing the way we are online is that we are "hiding" ourselves, behind a computer. I am curious what, if any thing changes, when we refer to it less as "hiding" and more about we we open up these different aspects? It may just be a word game, but to me, there is a connotation of negativity about hiding.

Comment by Helen C_SVHS on April 28, 2012 at 5:12am

I think there is a difference between how someone is online and in person. Problems such as bullying have proven that point as well. Some poeple can express thier true feelings online in front of a computer rather than in front of people. Although, that might not be a good thing, it is true. People can either be truthful or completely false about themselves online. You can have someone make up all the lies in the world because they think that they'll never meet you anyway. But, you may also get shy people who don't like to talk and share ideas in person, yet, they have a lot to share online. Therefore, people are different in person than online.

Comment by ElizabethC_SVHS on April 28, 2012 at 5:12am

Maintaining an online profile is important to some people for continuing or beginning relationships with people that live too far away to visit. People can communicate by posting about their lives and sharing pictures through social networking cites like Facebook. The internet even given people a stage to voice their opinions. Blogging cites like tumbler and twitter give people an opportunity to write their views, ideas, and feelings, with anonymity if they choose.

Comment by PatrickJ_SVHS on April 28, 2012 at 5:10am

There is a clear demarcation between who you are online and elsewhere. People may have the courage to write something online that they normally wouldn't say in person or vise versa. The internet is a shield for some people. Information online can be hard to interpret especially if the reader does not know you personally. If you interact with people in person, it is easier to get to know them while online, you can never fully tell the tone of what is written on social networking sites. You should manage your own personal cyber infrastructure because your digital footprint follows you forever.

Comment by BridgetG_SVHS on April 28, 2012 at 4:58am

 I don't think that there is a major demarcation between who you are online and elsewhere if you are truthful about yourself online. Your persona online could reveal more about you than how you act elsewhere. If they don't interact with you online, people might not know your birthday, where you last traveled, and how you are feeling at the moment.  It is important to manage your personal cyber infrastructure because that is your impression on a wider range of people across the world. It is very personal, and you want to be perceived in the most genuine yet safe way possible. Overall, we are people that can express ourselves in different ways and the different environments that allow us to do this are different extensions of the same person. 

Comment by KatieK_SVHS on April 28, 2012 at 4:58am

 I personally think that my online life is not a distinct difference from my personal life. I like to think that everything I post on twitter, facebook, and tumblr is positive and would never personally attack someone or say something hurtful. However, I do believe it is common to see different personalities and how someone really is like through the internet. I find it amazing how different some people act through twitter by indirectly tweeting. So many high schoolers completely open up there day to day feelings on the internet. In addition, I believe the internet can be beneficial to social life through communication with others, but in order to fully understand how someone acts you need to have that face to face communication with them. People should defiantly manage there personal cyber infrastructure and make sure they are displaying themselves online as who they really are. There is barely any space between online and real life anymore. People should be careful with what they post!

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