ILP: Self Reflection

I published my very first ILP post on September 16th and throughout the last 10 weeks I have learned so much about myself and about taking the steps I need to take to become the athlete, student, friend, and teacher I want to be.

I could not have taken this course and chosen this project topic at a better time. I have faced a lot of situations this semester that have tested my mental strength and this project has opened my eyes to so many concepts that I was desperate to discover. This semester has been very challenging for my mental strength. I am still adjusting to being far from my family, the demands of being a college student, being an education major, being a collegiate athlete, experiencing a spine injury, and working on maintaining important relationships. I have experienced more failure, stress, anxiety, and fear in the last 4 months than I have in my life.

The research I completed this year for my independent learning project has been exactly what I needed in order to discover myself. I think the ideas that I have uncovered not only changed my life or the better but I think that it has bettered the lives of many of my readers when they apply these ideas to their own lives.

Some of the biggest takeaways I have from my ILP:

You are your toughest competition. You can endlessly prepare yourself on content. You can study for hours, practice for days, and train your body for weeks. But if you are not mentally preparing yourself for the big test, the sales pitch, the job interview, or the big game you will be at a huge risk of failure because of anxiety, fear, and mental weakness.

Becoming mentally tough is a constant process. It’s never over and it doesn’t happen in one day. We as a human society stick to what is comfortable and we expect instant gratification. Becoming successful and mentally tough is not easy and you can’t take a break or a day off. You must practice building your mental strength and your mental endurance on your worst days and on your best days. Every single day. When you win, you set the bar higher and you keep working. When you lose, you get back up, you don’t give up, and you keep working.

Don’t let fear “blind” you. Live “eyes wide open”. As covered in my post, How Well is Your Sight? Isaac Lidsky explains perfectly the idea that we let fear distort our perspective on reality. We must do these things in order to live “eyes wide open”

  • hold yourself accountable for every moment, every thought, every detail.
  • see beyond your fears
  • recognize your assumptions
  • harness your internal strength
  • silence your internal critic
  • correct your misconceptions about luck and about success
  • accept your strengths and your weaknesses and understand the difference
  • open your heart to your bountiful blessings

Mental toughness is about adding positive habits that we resist and removing habits that are easy to resort to. Practicing constructive thoughts is not easy. You have to practice daily and it is not natural for us to do things like take responsibility or see failure in a positive light. We must expend our mental energy doing these difficult things and we need to also not waste our mental energy satisfying negative thoughts and habits that do not serve us, but hold us back.

It’s OK to fail. This one is huge for me. I have learned that if I am not failing, I am not pushing myself. I have failed a lot this semester and I have learned that that’s OK. You’ll never learn from your mistakes if you don’t make them.

Not only throughout my independent learning project but throughout the course of the semester in all of my classes and in life I have experienced failure. I have experienced mental weakness. I have missed assignments, turned in late assignments, bombed tests, lost motivation, given up, considered quitting softball, and considered leaving school. BUT through all of this mental failure, I have also learned so much about myself and the things I need to work on in order to be successful. Researching mental toughness has been one of the smartest decisions I have ever made.

That is why independent learning and personalized learning are so important, it allows students to learn and grow in a way that fosters their individual needs. This independent learning project has given me an opportunity to learn and grow as a person 100x more than doing assignments that may not have been as life altering. I think I will use independent learning in my classroom because allowing students to chose what they learn and how they learn it, I believe, makes a huge difference in students’ future success.



Digital Story #diglitclass

After reviewing all of the resources from module 12 on digital storytelling and thinking over the ideas that David Brooks presents in his article on metaphors, Poetry for Everyday Life, I decided to compare not only my learning but the learning of all students in this “digital age” to that of team sports. In my case I compare my learning to softball because I have played softball my entire life. But the ideas that I use to compare with learning can be applied to any TEAM sport.

Digital Storytelling #diglitclass

After reading the three articles on digital story telling, viewing three examples of digital stories, and listening to two podcast episodes I learned a lot about how digital storytelling can be useful in a classroom.

Podcasts are one way to use digital storytelling in your classroom. What I love about using podcasts in the classroom is it allows the speaker to tell their story exactly how they want their audience to hear it. If the speaker were to instead write a narrative about their experience they could try to use specific word choice and style to help the reader understand the mood and important events of the story. But with podcasts, the narrator is able to tell their story using their own voice. This is so beneficial to the listener because they are able to pick up on any shifts in mood, hints of sarcasm, or important topics. The audience also is able to visualize the story much better when someone is telling it to them rather than the audience reading the narrative with the possibility of misinterpreting what the narrator is trying to say.

Another way to use digital storytelling in a classroom setting is to allow your students to create their own digital stories. This allows your student to share with the class a story that they believe is important enough to share in an engaging way. They can use all types of media from pictures to sound effects to help them tell the story the way they want it to be heard. That’s what professional authors usually strive for – to get the reader to understand a topic exactly the way the writer wants them to. This goal is achieved much easier when using digital storytelling. Having students create their own digital stories is also a great way for them to become more familiar with technology which is important in today’s classroom.

The three digital stories I watched proved my ideas about digital storytelling to an even further extent than what I expected. The mixture of the background audio, photos, and being able to hear the tone and passion in the speakers’ voices allowed me to really step into their shoes and understand exactly how they felt about their story. The podcast I listened to was Strangers by Lea Thau. I listened to the first two episodes. It was amazing how easily I was able to put myself in the narrator’s shoes and imagine what it would be like to experience what they experienced. In one episode Thau spent a long couple of minutes talking about fecal transplants and how they are used to help people with weak immune systems. essentially she spent a great deal of time talking about feces in such detail that I was almost too grossed out to continue the story. But that is exactly what she intended. She herself was so incredibly grossed out by this information that she had to speak of it the way she did in order for us to understand her point of view in the story.

I think digital storytelling is a great tool to use in your classroom. I think it can be extremely beneficial for older students that have the attention span to sit and listen to a story as well as posses knowledge in using the appropriate technology needed to compose and view digital stories. In my future younger elementary class, I would use short podcasts that are at an appropriate comprehension level and maybe I would include my students in the making of a class owned digital story. So a story that the entire class can share together and then they can help add supporting media and they begin to get an idea of how technology can be used to help them in the classroom.

Photo Credit: The Front Porch

ILP: Failure #diglitclass

This week for my ILP I decided to look a little further into failure. Both athletically and in life I tend to struggle with my reaction to my failures.

Let’s be honest. Handling failure is hard for all of us. It is so easy to take our failures at face value and treat them like negative events that happen in our lives. These negative events can have a lot of negative power. Power to change our mood, change our actions, make us lose sight of our values, they can cause you to lose faith, lose loved ones, or even lose yourself. We as imperfect humans fail and our sinful nature tells us to blow up our failures and let them knock us down. What many people don’t realize is how much positive power failure can posses with a change in mind-set.

With such a difficult skill to master, I turned to none other than my favorite mental toughness blogger, Amy Morin.

In Morin’s article, 8 Things to Remember When you Fail she explains 8 different changes that you can set in your mind after you’ve experienced failure. What’s important to remember is if you continuously remind yourself of these 8 tricks and other tricks that you may find work for you, it starts to become an automatic reaction to failure. This means that rather than failing and spending some time thinking of this failure in a negative light before you begin to turn your thoughts around, you can learn to immediately react to failure in a positive way.

The 8 things that Amy Morin lists to keep in mind when experiencing failure are:

  1. Even though things didn’t work out, you are OK! -After you experience failure it is easy to believe that this will define you and that things will never be okay again. You have to take a deep breath and remind yourself that you still have a lot of things to be grateful for and you will be alright.
  2. Failure is proof that you are pushing yourself to your limits.- You have to remember that if you don’t push yourself to the point of failure, you will never improve. If you never fail you won’t have the fulfilling life and success that you desire.
  3. Focus on the things you can control.- It is easy for us to dwel on the things that caused your failure that you couldn’t control. It is easy to play the blame game. Instead, think about the things that you know you can fix so that you can have success in the future.
  4. Be able to handle being unconfortable with failing.- You have to remind yourself that you can handle any pain or embarassment you might feel as a result of your failure. Your ability to overcome that ebarassment will speed up your failure recovery process.
  5. Failure is a verb not a noun.- When you fail you have to remind yourself that you are not a failure.
  6. Failure is an opportunity to learn. – You have to remember that dealing with failure the right way teaches you a lot about how not to fail next time and you ultimately grow as a person.
  7. Failure makes you stronger.- Every obstacle that you overcome makes it even easier to overcome the next one that comes your way.
  8. You’ve overcome things before, you can do it again.- It is very important to remember that this isn’t your first failure and it sure won’t be your last. Remember how you overcame a big failure in your past. You conqoured that mountain and you can conquor the next.

All of these small changes in mind-set can improve anyones mental toughness and ultimately your whole life.

I can personally use these skills to overcome mistakes I make in softball. It is very common for softball players to let failure get to them and this causes them to make even more mistakes. The most common example would be a hitting slump. If I am able to handle failures I have up to bat better, I will be much less likely to get into a slump.

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

Attention log! #diglitclass

This week I decided to do the attention log assignment as well as an ILP post. Just for fun!

This week I logged 5 different sessions of online time and they ranged from 20 minutes to about 3 hours.

I logged two separate occasions where I was doing homework. Both times I was sitting on the couch in my living room. I tend to work better from home in a comfy place like the couch or on my bed. I am more productive when I’m able to work in a sweatshirt with my shoes off rather than when I’m in a stiff chair at the library where it’s always either freezing cold or an oven. I also get much more homework done when I sit down for a few hours at night after dinner rather than short sessions throughout the day. One of the homework sessions I logged was 2 hours and the other was 3. In both sessions as soon as I opened my laptop, my previously ignored Facebook notifications pop up and of course my wonder gets the best of me and I check it out. Then, I spent about 10 minutes on Facebook, I check my notifications and I check out my Timehop. In case you didn’t know, Timehop is an application on Facebook that shows you posts that you’ve made on that same day but in previous years. This is my usual routine before starting homework. Unfortunately, every once in a while I get too interested in all of the new happenings on Facebook that I spend up to 30 min on the news feed before I start my homework.

Here are the types of online behaviors that I noticed while I was doing homework:

2 hour session Math homework

  • I felt very motivated
  • calm/relaxed (not stressed)
  • I had to re-write problems from the site onto my paper in order to work them out
  • felt eager to do well
  • felt like I was retaining information well
  • felt productive
  • the homework didn’t feel pointless I appreciated the practice
  • I received an A on all three of the sections I completed
  • sitting on the couch under a blanket with my feet on the coffee table

3 hour session Digital literacy and Children’s literacy  homework

  • sitting on the couch under a blanket with my legs crisscrossed
  • comfy
  • motivated
  • a little stressed
  • little bit of difficulty avoiding getting side tracked by social media or texting
  • eagerness to do well
  • productive
  • slow to complete assignments

In these two sessions it was clear that my homework subject affected my mood and focus. I LOVE math. I know… that is not a very common phrase. But I am definitely a math person. Although no one truly enjoys taking the time to do their math homework, when I do make that time I truly enjoy learning and practicing math. I am able to focus so well on math because I am always eager to see if I got the right answer and if I did something incorrectly, I become determined to find and fix my mistake. You know that sense of accomplishment when you type a 2000 word masterpiece essay and you revised it 4 times and used a thesaurus so you sound really smart and you turn it in and get an A? I get that feeling of accomplishment every time I get a math problem correct.

My other three sessions were 15-25 minute sessions where I was either passing time in the training room while I was hooked up to the electrical stimulation therapy machine or while I was riding the stationary bike. Here are some things I noticed about these sessions:

  • use my phone to pass the time
  • watched all of the snapchat stories
  • scrolled through instagram
  • checked facebook notifications
  • get annoyed with people’s long pointless snap stories
  • I skip through all of the stories that I know won’t contain content that I care about
  • I get emotional in instagram because of all the colorado accounts and travel accounts
  • I get emotional when I see snaps, pictures, and posts of my friends and family and their new adventures in life. Especially my niece and nephew
  • I tend to scroll quickly through social media feeds and I only pay attention to the persons name who published the post because I really only stop to look at the posts of my closer friends, family, or accounts I really like.
  • I also listen to pandora on my Avril Lavigne or Hillary Duff stations (I love throwbacks)

The most apparent common theme I noticed in these sessions is that I am friends with/follow way too many people on all of my social media applications. I am from Lakewood, Colorado which is about 15 min southwest of Denver, My graduating class was over 500, and I have been very involved in different social activities. Activities such as club and school sports, traveling sports teams, church, youth group, international traveling, three different jobs, and I’m a extremely social person in general. Therefore I have accumulated a whole lot of friends on my social media accounts and I have to admit that now that I no longer live in Denver and I have moved on from many of my activities in Colorado I have not stayed in contact with most of the people I am friends with on social media. I really need to unfriend a lot of people so that my time on social media is more meaningful and quicker!

Photo Credit: bp global

Digital Mindfulness #diglitclass

When I read this weeks module and assignment sheet, I was stoked to talk about digital mindfulness. I personally am a huge advocate of disconnecting and being bored!

I’m not going to lie, I may be an advocate of “unplugging” but I do often allow myself to get into phases where I spend a little too much screen time. Or when I am doing pretty good on staying disconnected I sometimes have a small relapse where I sit on Facebook for an hour.

The information in the readings and Paul Miller’s TED Talk explain how the internet can negatively affect someones life. In the TED Talk, Miller explains how before he went a year without the internet he felt as though the internet was holding him back from being the person he wanted to be and he observed that the time he spent on the internet didn’t make him feel like he was being productive. Rebecca Hiscott’s article, Why you Feel Terrible After Spending too Much Time on Facebook supports Miller’s findings about internet time making you feel unproductive. Hiscott’s article also has research results that show that people actually feel depressed after spending a lot of time on Facebook. They feel like they have wasted their time and the content on Facebook doesn’t often make people feel good and can often contain content that makes viewers sad, mad, or annoyed.

After Miller conducted his experiment of quitting the internet for a year, he changed his outlook on technology. He supported the idea that time surfing the web or on social media is not spending time wisely. However, he realized that there are some ways that technology is extremely beneficial to his life and happiness. His example was being able to see his family members on FaceTime. He realized that even though FaceTime is much more impersonal than a face-to-face visit, at the time he was unable to visit his niece and nephew so FaceTime was a way for him to see his family and have a personal conversation with his loved ones which is a gift compared to having no contact with them.

I personally understand the importance of unplugging. I do own and use accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat but I turn off my notifications on my phone and I don’t have the apps downloaded on my phone so it forces me to take the time to get on my laptop in order to use social media sites. Like I mentioned, I often go in and out of phases of being too attached to the screen and successfully unplugging. I usually stay unplugged successfully over the summer. Over the summer I like going out and being active. I also work full-time at a summer camp where I can’t take my eyes off of kids in order to check my Facebook. That is if I was ever bored enough to pull out my phone when I have to help keep 60 kids in line 8 hours a day. During that time of year I also realize that I can usually make the time to go visit my close friends and family so I don’t feel the need to check what is happening in their lives on Facebook. I usually get in a pretty bad habit of spending a lot of time online during the school year because I’m far from home and I tend to go on all of my social media sites to catch up on my loved one’s lives all at once which is much quicker than having a 30 min phone conversation with each of them. To be completely honest, I have noticed that I have been spending more time on social media and aimlessly surfing the web this semester because I am spending so much time on the computer doing the assignments I have for Digital Literacy, Children’s Lit which is also an online class, and my math homework, quizzes and textbook are on an online site. I tend to decide to take brain breaks by going on Facebook or Pinterest because I already have my computer on my lap rather than walking over to a friend’s dorm to have a chat or play a quick game of pool.

I agree with Miller and Hiscott and the other authors of the readings that unplugging can be very beneficial. I have to agree that social media specifically is a big waste of time and makes me feel that way after I log off. However I think that social media and the internet can be used for a lot of good things too. Everyone needs to find their perfect balance of screen time and time to be unplugged.

ILP The power of Subconscious and Practice #diglitclass

In the weeks since my last ILP post in Module 7, I have spent a lot of time exploring more blogs, videos, tweets, and resources on mental toughness.

One aspect of becoming mentally tough is practicing awareness and control of your subconscious mind. They say that there are two components to your mind: conscious and subconscious. Your conscious mind is what you actively express and do, it is a voluntary function in your brain. Your subconscious is what controls the thoughts that are natural and involuntary responses in your mind. In his article and video The Power Behind Thought is the Subconscious Mind Richard Schultz explains the difference between the two with the analogy that the differences between the subconscious and conscious mind is like that of an adult and an infant.

The conscious mind is the adult. Adults are able to process information and express their thoughts and ideas accordingly. It uses reasoning to make decisions about what is right and wrong. The conscious mind is volitional, meaning it’s the part of your mind that sets goals, judges results of an event, and is open to new things. Your conscious mind has the ability to think abstractly. For example, many people have different definitions of success. additionally, one person might have more than one definition of success. It could be having money, having genuine relationships, having fun, helping others, it all depends on one’s beliefs and values. Adults have the ability to decide whether information is important enough to remember or if it can be easily dismissed.

The subconscious mind is the infant. Infants observe and record information but they do not yet know how to process that information. They cannot learn the difference between right and wrong so they store their experiences in their brain for later use in life.  The infant does not have the ability to analyze information and store the good stuff and reject the bad like we do as adults. The subconscious mind stores every single bit of information because it has such a capacity for knowledge.

Your conscious mind has very short-term memory and small capacity of knowledge. It can only focus on one to three things at a time. For example, you might be able to talk on the phone while reading a magazine. Some can’t even do that and they can really only focus on one thing at a time. In contrast, your subconscious mind stores every single memory and experience from your entire life and it can do thousands of things at once it is observing your state and experiences without you being aware. Your subconscious mind has the ability to make you feel anxiety, stress, or fear without you knowing the reason.

Now, I have learned that the observation and training of your subconscious mind can be one of the most powerful skills you can practice to increase mental toughness. A blog post I found called Mental Toughness 101 the author explains how if you practice a task or skill the wrong way you train your subconscious mind to repeat that task the wrong way. For example, if I consciously practice my softball swing incorrectly. In a game, when I don’t have time to make conscious decisions in every muscle I move, my subconscious mind makes the quick decision to swing incorrectly. This same process happens in your mind. Most of our strong subconscious habits were formed when we were kids. Our environment when our brains were developing is what controls what are brains do now. If you grew up in an environment that said “you’ll never be good enough” you most likely now have self-doubt and low self-esteem in almost every task in life that you encounter.

That type of automatic feeling towards oneself is very strong, but not completely industructable. The trick to controlling your subconscious mind is first trying to become more aware of it. Start observing exactly what types of thoughts and feelings you are allowing to take over your mind when you’re thinking to yourself. Ask yourself why am I letting this thought into my mind and is it serving me an internal purpose? Is it positive or negative? You are essentailly attempting to bring awareness to your subconscious thoughts and you are consciously turning them into positive thoughts that strengthen your confidence, self-image, motivation, acceptance, ability to forgive, work ethic, and any other positive actions of the mind. The second component is practicing this awareness all the time. If you ensure that the thoughts that are in your head are postive thoughts all the time, you will train your subconscious to react to situations with toughness.

In my latest ILP post, I began diving deeper into the common theme of my research: daily practice. Now, I will be honest.. I have been making small efforts in practicing mental toughness on a daily basis. I have been working on becoming more aware of my thoughts and I observe thoughts such as

“I have so much on my plate”

“My back injury is going to set me back in softball”

“I won’t be able to go to Uganda this summer”

and I change my thoughts to:

“I have plenty of time to get everything done if I use my time wisely”

“It’s better to take it slow now so that I can be at 100% during season”

“you will work hard on your internship application and find some great ways to fundraise”

I also did some research on daily mental strengthening plans and I actually found a super- awesome app called VIM (very important me). Which is sort of a “life coach” type app that helps you set your goals and it gives you daily excersises that help you train your subconsious to form habits that serve that goal. Every day there is a short video you watch that talks about your excersise for the day. It could be setting a goal, visualizing yourself acomplishing that goal, telling your friends about your goals, all types of things. Then, it has you journal about it! Then, you have the option to keep that post in your journal or they incourage you to share it on your VIM Blog so that others can read about your goals and support your proccess in acheiving them!

I’m not sure about you guys, my readers/classmates, but this idea of training your subconscious and using an app such as VIM at first seems like a big, unrealistic commitment. It reminds me of people that get sucked into spending thousands of dollars on a self-improvment program and it honestly seems like too much work. When I first started researching about mental toughness, I saw that a lot of the authors of articles and blog posts I read are trying to sell you something. It reminded me of the movie “Yes Man” if you don’t remember it here is the trailer:

I initally think of this movie and the unrealistic commitment that Drew Carey’s character has to make by saying yes to everything all because some self-proclaimed guru did his magic. BUT rather than allowing my subconscious to take control and force me to feel lathargic, play it safe,  and have lack in confidence that this will actually work… I am going to try to step out of my comfort zone and give it a shot.



Digital Activism #diglitclass

After reading the assigned articles, I learned so much about Digital Activism. I learned that digital activism is the use of social media to promote social and political change.

Today, technology and social media are two of the most common ways for people to communicate and their popularity is rapidly increasing. At the click of a “like” or “share” button or in a few short sentences posted online, one person can successfully become a digital activist. Personally, I spend a lot of time on social media and I know that I can speak for the majority of millennials when I admit that I check Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook constantly throughout my day-to-day life. When I wake up in the morning, when I’m bored in class, at lunch, before I start my homework, when I’m laying in bed before I go to sleep, pretty much any second of downtime I have, I’m spending it on social media.

So instead of spending all that time reading about what someone had for lunch or watching videos of dogs eat peanut butter, why not spend some of that time doing something to better yourself and the things in this world that you care about?

Social media allows information to be spread like wildfire. Thirty years ago, when someone wanted to promote social change they would walk down city streets begging people for 30 seconds of their time to explain to them the great cause they are supporting. In 4 hours of doing this, how many people would stop just to hear the guy/girl out? Maybe 20-30? The amount doesn’t compare to the amount of people who might see a thirty-second video of an activist explaining their cause on social media. The activist can spend maybe five minutes composing the video and posting it on at least 5 social media sites. Depending on the relevance and popularity of the cause and how many followers/friends the activist has, the video could reach thousands of viewers in as quick as a few hours.

One 15-year-old teen in the US created a campaign called Why to Stay Strong. This young teen created this campaign to let others know that they are not alone. They work to help people with problems such as depression, self harm, anorexia, bulimia, and any other negative struggles in their life. They mainly advertise their movement on twitter where they post many inspirational quotes, words of advice, bible verses, and promises of positive change with a positive attitude. This 15-year-old could very well be saving lives of young people all over the country.

After reading Bill Ferriter’s post, My kids, a cause and our classroom blog. I realized how beneficial practicing digital activism is not only for important causes within society, but for today’s students as individuals, The most prevalent thing that I’ve learned in the last 10 weeks while studying the changes technology is making in education is that these changes that technology is sparking in today’s classroom are opening a gateway for students to be involved and evolved members of society. Before technology was common, a child’s circle of communication consisted of their family, friends, classmates, and teachers. This circle would slowly grow as they grew older and began making new friends, moving onto larger schools, and getting involved in extra-curricular activities. However, from kindergarten to when a child entered the work force, their circle of contacts remained at a low population if you looked at it with today’s standards. Now with the ability to become socially involved through social media, elementary students will be able to learn things about the world and about themselves that they otherwise wouldn’t have learned until adulthood-if at all!

Practicing digital activism puts students leaps and bounds ahead of their ancestors and it is a crucial tool to be used when making the necessary changes to today’s education system.

Featured image credit:

My online identity #diglitclass

Before I googled myself, I was a bit worried. Not because of anything too inappropriate that I’ve ever posted online but I was a bit of a social media abuser when I was in middle school and my first few years of high school. The best way to explain that is I was a drama queen when it came to posting on social media. Now I have grown out of that stage but I was still nervous that some of my old, weird posts from 8th grade would pop up when I searched my name.

Good news: nothing weird, embarassing, or unprofessional showed up!

When I googled myself, the first link that popped up was my 2016 Chadron State Softball roster profile. That was followed by the link to my facebook, my highschool record book (maxpreps profile), my twitter account, and an article that I was interviewed for in high school after a big pre-season win.

For the most part, as I scrolled down all of the links associated with my name as well as on the 2nd and 3rd pages of results, most of the links were athletically related. Which is good and expected. I have been involved in softball and basketball almost my whole life. There are game stats, personal high school stats, all-star team rosters, and news paper articles from my hometown and CSC’s The Eagle on the results list. This will show my future employers that I was successful in athletics and that I represented myself professionally online as a student- athlete. I think being an athlete can benefit me a lot when finding a teaching job. It shows my future employers that I have leadership, responsibility, organization, and time-management skills. Being a collegiate athlete has really taught me a lot about all of those skills. I can carry over those skills from athetics and into my professional career.

Other than athletics, google came up with the links to my facebook, twitter, youtube, and vimeo accounts. All of which I believe I keep professional and I have privacy settings on.

When I searched for images under my name, only a few photos of me popped up. 5 of my senior pictures which must have been posted by the professional company I did my senior pictures with, a photo of my sister and I which I have as my Vine profile picture, and a couple of softball photos from my high school, club, and college athletic websites.

Overall I am satisfied with my digital identity and after being enrolled in Digital Literacy, I am motivated to build my digital citizenship and to create an even more professional online profile!

Featured image credit: Doodle 4 Google

Digital Citizenship #diglitclass

After reviewing many of the resources on digital citizenship, I have learned a lot of useful information… but it’s also raised a few concerns and questions.

The first resource I checked out was Edutopia’s post, 5-Minute Film Festival: Teaching Digital Citizenship. In these eleven videos, many people try to explain to their viewers what digital citizenship is. In summary, digital citizenship is your online identity. Your online identity could have started even before you were born. It might have started when your doctor saved an ultrasound of you when you were growing in the womb. That ultrasound picture, along with the pictures of the day you were born, pictures of your first steps, videos of you blowing out your candles on your birthday, and so many other milestones of your life could have been shared via email, text, and social media. All of these photos, texts, videos, and statuses started your digital profile before you even knew how to use the internet. After you begin to learn how to use the internet, you have the power to do and say pretty much anything you want. You can lie about your age, gender, education, location, just about anything. Most of the time people do these things without even realizing it’s wrong. They also share true personal information online which is even more dangerous. Many children are not taught how to be safe online and they make their age, school, gender, and location available for almost anyone to access.

In Sherry Turkle’s TEDTalk, she had a great point that today, we use technology to escape from reality and to show others that our lives are different from how they actually might be. People do this for popularity, to be liked, admired, to seem happy, wealthy, successful, etc. Turkle also explained that the internet is brand new. It doesn’t seem that way to me, or my fellow millennial classmates because we have always had technology at our fingertips. In the grand scheme of the world and all the time that has passed since mankind first walked the planet, technology and the internet are brand new. We don’t know how to control it and we allow it to control us.

Juan Enriquez explains in his TEDTalk, Your online life, permanent as a tattoo, that just like tattoos on your body you can make electronic tattoos. Things that you post on the internet are tattooed on the internet and connected to your name even if you try to delete your posts later on. He also explains that these digital tattoos can be very dangerous to your identity and your reputation. Digital responsibility needs to be taught and practiced.

I am a sophomore in college. The first web-enabled mobile device was made in 1996, one year before I was born. Technology has been apart of my life for the entire duration of my life. More specifically, I began using the internet before I can even recall today. I learned how to use the internet around the age of 6 or 7. I went from learning to google search for school and look up funny YouTube videos, to now spending most of my time each day texting, direct messaging, posting, tweeting, blogging, sharing, searching, adding to my digital identity. I can truthfully say that I have never been properly educated on how to act safely and privately on the internet. Now, my parents have always warned me about posting inappropriate things on social media and I have also had a good sense of what not to post because of my professional connections with athletics and my job which involves working with children. I am lucky that I learned to behave well both on and offline. But with the lack of structured, mandated education on digital citizenship that I received makes me worried for those whose parents don’t warn them and educate them enough.

This is a huge problem. We need to make sure that we are educating students on how to be responsible online as soon as they begin using the internet. The age that students begin to use the internet is becoming younger and younger as time passes. My three-year old nephew knows how to look up Veggie Tales videos on YouTube. I believe that teaching respectable digital citizenship needs to be incorporated into all education curriculums. I really enjoyed the lesson created by Craig Badura, The Digital Citizenship Survival Kit. It is lessons like these that need to be used to try to explain to kids that the mistakes they make as children on the internet can hurt them as adults.

Another great resource that parents and teachers can use to teach their children about digital citizenship and how to be responsible online is Common Sense Education. This is a website that helps guide students to “embrace the power of technology in school and in life.” Parents can use this site to learn how to monitor their child’s internet use and teachers can use it to teach kids how to use technology effectively and safely.

Featured Image Credit: Common Sense Media