This week in EDCI 3336 we had the privilege of listening to Jesse Miller, founder of – a company that focuses on new media education.  Jesse had a plethora of wonderful advice and information about social media usage and advice for us as future teachers on best practices. One thing that really stood out for me in Jesse’s presentation was his emphasis on the need to accept that social media is a part of our new reality. Whether we like it or not, times have changed very quickly, and we should be preparing students for this new reality. As educators, we have the power, even the responsibility some may say, to teach youth about how to use media, safely, securely, and professionally. But I know for myself before I can teach such skills, I have a lot of learning left to do. Thankfully knowing there are resources out there like Jesse, I feel much more confident in continuing this learning journey.

From Jesse’s Presentation, we also learned a lot about our own online presence and our three biggest critiques (staff, students, and parents). Thankfully, I have been working with kids since such a young age, I have always ensured any online content I have posted or am connected to is entirely appropriate for all audiences. That being said, I know I don’t have the more secure privacy setting on my Facebook account, which I need to change. I hadn’t considered that of course parents of my future students will be looking me up online to check me out, but they will, and I should be prepared.

The final topic brought up by Jesse, that led to some very interesting conversation in my breakout room, was online consent.  I have been long aware of the fact that you should never share photos of students anywhere online without explicit parental consent. One thing I had never at all considered, was the idea that children themselves should need to consent to their image online and that until a certain age, they can’t really do that due to a lack of real understanding.  In breakout rooms, many of my classmates agreed that photos of children where you can clearly identify them should not be shared by anyone online until that child is old enough to consent.  As much as I want to agree, the idea of never seeing my little cousins’ pudgy smiling faces on Facebook pains me.  The very reason I first got Facebook was to keep in touch with my large extended family and see more photos of the little ones. While I agree that when sharing photos of children you need to be sure you have the strictest of security settings, I don’t know if I can agree to not sharing their photos at all.