Action Steps: Possibilities for Crafting Your Online Professional Identity and Digital Footprint

How Will You "Write Yourself Into Being?"

Carl Young

NC State University


So, how have you established your own professional web identity and digital footprint? Affected the digital footprints of your students?

Given our discussion today, what new steps might you take to transform your own digital footprint or to get your students to think more critically about web identity?

Below are some options we hope you might engage in, in addition to the focused activity that John will have you do.

NEWLIT.ORG FORUM POST: As a way to follow up on this part of our session, we would like to hear from you in terms of the status of your own professional web identity and digital footprint. Please click the link above to post a response in the forum on addressing the following questions: Where are you in terms of what you create, share, and promote online as an educator? Do you have a webpage, blog, twitter account, wiki, etc.? Do you use any of these tools with your students? If so, provide some links and describe how do you use these tools to your advantage? If not, what action steps will you be taking to develop your web identity further and "write yourself" into being? You might also discuss any other facets of the presentation, especially in terms of thinking about "spheres of influence" and how new literacies and emerging technologies give us the ability to think and act locally, but also reach and make an impact globally. Let us hear from you!

URL for Posting Response:


1. Create Your Own Professional Education Start Page / Dashboard or Homepage, that includes links to your online content (e.g., webpages, projects, etc.)


Possible Tools:

  • About.Me: A custom profile and personal analytics dashboard

  • Flavors.Me: Quick home page tool

  • Google Sites: Google's scaffolded website tool

  • Weebly: Another free and easy to use website development tool

2. Create a Twitter Account and Begin Professional Connections

Educators to Follow:

  • Meredith Stewart, Cary Academy, Cary, NC: @msstewart

  • Bud Hunt, Northern Colorado School District: @budtheteacher

  • Steven Anderson, Winston-Salem, NC: @web20classroom

  • Bethany Smith, NC State, Raleigh, NC: @bethanyvsmith

  • Shelly S. Terrell, Educator, Edublogger, and Global Collaborator: @shellterrell

  • Steve Katz, Seoul, Korea: @stevekatz

  • George Couros, K-12 Principal, Alberta, Canada: @gcouros

  • Google Doc list of educators organized by content area and grade / instructional level with their Twitter user names (includes International category)

Content-focused Examples

  • Writing Today Twitter feed: Collaborative site with graduate English education students focused on writing, teaching writing, and related topics

  • Language Today Twitter feed: Collaborative site undergraduate and graduate English education students focused on language, literacy, and culture

Lists / Professional Development Groups to Join / Follow:


Alternative Tool available in China: Sina Weibo

3. Create a Blog focused on some aspect of Teaching, Content (e.g., English, History, Chinese, Physics, Science, etc.), and/or Technology



4. Join an Online Professional Education Community and Contribute Content to that Community


New Literacies and Technology Integration:


5. Create a Class Webpage to Feature Your Students' Work



  • Wikispaces

  • Also see tools above for professional websites and blogs (1 and 3).

6. Facilitate Students' Work Being Published Online


  • My Jewish Legacy -- As part of her Bat-Mitzvah education, student developed website as a starting place for kids and teens to share stories about their grandparents’ journeys in escaping or surviving the Holocaust.

  • Many Voices for Darfur Blog: - teacher-facilitated and student-run project focused on raising awareness about the genocide in Darfur.

  • 25 Days to Make A Difference: - student project paying tribute to grandfather and also challenging kids to do good in the world in small but compelling ways

  • The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Busing Debate: - collaborative student project focused generally on the larger context of the Civil Rights movement and more specifically on the events surrounding the busing debated in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district during the 1970s.

Action Comics Image Source: Chris Jeung's Superman Project at the University of Virginia: