Last year, I attended Tokyo’s Google Office and YouTube space, where I learned that when it comes to career aspirations, being a ‘YouTuber’ is amongst the top three pathways. Based on this information, I wondered: how many of the students I teach are on this same pathway? A simple Google search and browse of YouTube, and I soon uncovered the answer to this very question.  Before I continue, a little disclaimer: I fully embrace the power of social media. However, we do not allow students to create personal channels using their educational domain email. Like YouTube, and Google, in order to create a YouTube account we wait until they are at least 13, and a comprehensive digital citizenship scope and sequence cover this mandate, and a such we disable access in the G Suite Admin console.​

Thinking back, it was not until I moved to Tokyo as an technology integration specialist that I discovered the true power of social media and YouTube. While training to be a teacher in England, I learned that social media could “make or break careers.” In fact, even before that it was part of my program director’s selection process, Facebook quickly became very public and social media quickly became everyone’s business. I have previously blogged about the power of Twitter and how I had a “false start” before taking off – Tweet Tweet!​

Before taking this to the students, I decided to Google myself to see what I could find; forearmed is forewarned. At first glance, I am a professional cricketer by name, though clearly this is not my chosen profession. The graphic above is my digital watermark: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube. What does Google know show about you? ​Listening to Dr. Alec Couros who stated, “who doesn’t have an online presence nowadays?”, and knowing full well that our students (especially the older ones) Google us, I believe it’s our responsibility to ensure we leave a positive digital legacy.

​I wanted to use the time with students for them to reflect on their online presence. Working with our elementary school counsellor, we explored with the girls the notion that our presence, both online and offline, should evoke pride and a positive response from others . How we portray ourselves on social media represents who we are and what we stand for, whether that is our intention or not. As part of this lesson, students were asked to create a digital graphic which was a representation of their digital lives.

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