ATTN: Digital Footprint Stomps on Paper Resume

This week’s course readings did not sock me. For once, I was not surprised or dismayed at what I was reading or viewing about the digital world. Many times I have heard stories about employers searching prospective employees online. However, what I did do is make a connection between these articles and my students’ blogging efforts.

Blogging is a great medium for digital learning and networking, but is also a social media platform. However, it is much different from the more closed and simplistic tools that teens use such as texting and SnapChat. What I discovered is that some students do not recognize that their blogs should not use the same writing style or simple content as a text or snap to a friend would. It is about writing in a creative and engaging way (like SnapChat can be), but more academic, just as they would for their ELA class persuasive essay or personal reflection. Check out my recent project post for more on this topic and my classroom blog post that I created to help guide my students over the coming week  as they discover what blogging should look like from a teaching/ learning perspective.

Our students need to understand that they have to go beyond social media activity that is “clean” or not of a bullying nature, to really developing a profile of who they want to be seen as. Therefore, they must recognize how different digital tools are used for different purposes and impact their digital footprint in different ways. A goofy text or SnapChat with the current lingo that teens use is not going to be widely read, but their blogs might.

Blogs are a great way to develop a healthy digital footprint, which takes a long time to build. Blogs can provide enduring presence and are much more detailed than an old-fashioned resume, therefore as educators we have to make sure students learn how to blog.  The article Blogging is the New Resume explains how blogging can become the resume that individuals will need in the future, but that this process takes time. Even if the paper resume is not quite dead, students need to be aware that their online presence much match the paper version employers are looking as noted in tip #10 of 12 resume tips by Jeff Weaver.

Image from: Jeff Weaver

Our students need to be aware that what they blog can actually begin building a positive and enduring footprint could let to a job or entrance into a post-secondary institution down the road. Blogging is a key way to help build their online resume, but other social media profiles like Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube should also be considered in the same light. As Madden and Smith of PEW Research point out, reputation and social media are clearly linked. There are not longer closed doors to our lives so we must carefully self-monitor ourselves. This is a skill that we need to teach our students and practice ourselves. Although I have searched for my online presence before, this article motivated me to do it again and dig a bit deeper into the search to see if I could uncover not only more about me, but things that I would not want online. Self-monitoring is not just searching online, but considering how that information impacts our lives and how we can control what is posted by ourselves and others. So as my students continue to blog, I’m certainly thinking about how self-monitoring is another critical skill that they need to be taught and need to practice to curate the digital footprint AKA the new resume that they want to have.

I challenge you….Google yourself again- but this time with reputational management in mind- dig a bit deep in your search and then think about how you might change privacy settings, de-friend certain individuals, ask others to remove certain photos, actively create positive postings such as blogs, etc. It is you footprint so take control of it.

Data taken from PEW Research



Rubric Anyone?

Why are rubrics so important? Can we teach and assess without them? Yes, you can teach

Image from educator Jim Askew's authentic assessment blog
Image from educator Jim Askew’s authentic assessment blog

without them, but then can you provide valid, authentic learning and  authentic assessment? Rubrics allow students to see exactly what is required of them providing all of the key parts needed to achieve various learning outcomes or objectives. Rubrics are in student friendly language and provide student with feedback on areas of strength and areas that need attention or could be improved. Rubrics also allow teachers to authentically assess students, which provides justification for assessments given. Rubrics can be completed by teachers, peers or the students themselves. When students assess themselves or peers, rubrics give them clear structure and criteria so they understand exactly what they have to assess. This process opens the door for peer to peer and student to teacher discussions about what is going well and what could be improved. Learning is a process, NOT an end result and rubrics can help to facilitate reflection. Students can also use blogs and other formats further reflect on rubrics scores that have been completed by themselves and others on their work.
Assessment Chart from: Alexandra Kaduc

There are many different online rubric creators that teachers can access. Initially I thought that I would create my own blogging rubric from scratch on one of these creators, but then I decided that I was almost as new to this process as my students and that there are many expert educators out there blogging with their students that I could learn from. I started to search for samples of rubrics that educators have created. I found many from very simple to quite complex. The blogging rubric that caught my attention and seems to be re-used and borrowed from by many is from the University of Wisconsin. The rubric is downloadable as PDF. However, I found Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano’s adaptation of this rubric to meet the needs of my middle years students by simplifying the format and wording:


Rosenthal Tolisano’s blog post series Stepping it Up- Learning About Blogs FOR your Students also provides valuable information for teachers that they need to understand about blogging. The topics covered are reading blogs to learn about blogging, writing blogs by teachers, student writing, commenting, connecting, reciprocating, and consistency.

Because there are six categories in this rubric, I have picked 2-3 categories every few days this past week to highlight with my students and have them focus on. For example, their blogs are developing nicely related to multimedia and community, so I shifted their focus to quality of writing and voice. By the end of this project they will be able to demonstrate their abilities in all categories, but focusing on all six at the beginning can be overwhelming. I also penciled in inviting responses and commenting to the community category because I felt it was a missing criteria. Eventually I suspect I will create a whole new rubric as I refine my student blogging projects, but for now this is a great rubric to use.

When reading through Rosenthal Tolisano’s blogs series I also started to think about how rubrics provide the criteria or outcomes that you want to see, but having tangible examples that fit the four attainment levels of the rubric would be helpful. As teachers we often collect samples of exemplary and not so exemplary student work to share with students. This makes sense, so why not do this with student blogs? Students can easily look at one another’s blogs in class and compare them to the rubric, but as beginners at this I found Edublogs provides many great samples of student work- nominees and winners in various categories. This aligns with Rosenthal Tolisano’s first series post that talks about the importance of reading blogs as the first step to becoming a better blogger.

Students need to see it before they can do it!  This message connected over the past week with our course readings (check out Blogging is the New Resume) and what I am seeing some of my students do. We have talked about our digital footprint being the new medium for job applications and resumes, but some of my students do not recognize this yet. They understand in the sense that they keep their posts “clean”, but some are blogging like they would Snapchat or text. So my task is through modeling in my posting and sharing of sample student blogs that can be compared with the rubric we will build an understanding of how their blogs must help to build a footprint that they would want a future employer or post-secondary school to see. They must shift from the goofy, joking, short- speak of communicating with their friends to the more academic style expected when they write with a pen and paper that outsiders would want to read. That will be our focus over the next week.