Curation of Your Online Persona Through Self-Care and Responsible Citizenship: Participatory Digital Citizenship for Secondary Education

Curation of Your Online Persona Through Self-Care and Responsible Citizenship: Participatory Digital Citizenship for Secondary Education

Sandra Annette Rogers (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1766-6.ch005
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With each blog post, tweet, and online project, internet users are building their online reputation whether they want to or not. In the absence of professional branding, users' online presence contributes vastly to what brands them. Through critical digital pedagogy, teachers and students question all technology practices (e.g., self, school, society). This chapter addresses the safety, security, and perception of their online data through self-determined prevention, weeding, and branding based on their short- and long-term goals. Methods, resources, and a lesson plan are provided as guidance to support students' wellbeing pertaining to the online dimensions of their academic and personal lives. Strategies discussed include online identity system checks to review current digital footprint and data vulnerabilities, contemplation of technology usage in terms of self-care and responsible citizenship, and curation and development of their online persona. These participatory practices address two of the ISTE Standards for Students regarding digital citizenship.
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Have you googled yourself lately? What does the Internet search reveal about you? With each blog post, tweet, and online project, you are building your online reputation whether you want to or not. In the absence of professional branding, your online presence brands you. In essence, “…you are allowing search engines to create it for you (Marshall, 2015, para. 1).” This chapter addresses how to curate your online personal data along with your secondary students through actionable steps, goal-setting, mindset, safeguards, and reflection. The short-term goals are quick system checks of your digital footprint and personal data settings of your digital accounts. The long-term goal is to curate your online reputation through deliberate, benevolent action and reflection to proactively shape your online persona as a daily habit. This proactive approach will prevent you and your students from becoming overwhelmed by this daunting task compounded by years of digital presence, diversity of software applications used, and technology skill level.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, 2017) found that only 47% of digital learners are proactively curating their online persona as a component of their digital citizenship. Through direct instruction of digital citizenship, personal goal-setting, strategies, and technologies to curate and safeguard their online data, students will address the following ISTE (2016) National Educational Technology Standards for Students regarding digital citizenship:

  • 2a. “Students cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world.”

  • 2d. “Students manage their personal data to maintain digital privacy and security and are aware of data-collection technology used to track their navigation online.”

This chapter prepares educators to guide students to self-monitor their online interactions for benevolent intention and embrace precaution in terms of sharing content to safeguard their privacy, and that of their peers, for professional and personal reasons through a surplus perspective. Mattson (2016) stressed that educators refrain from the deficit perspective of assuming secondary students are incapable of managing their digital footprint. Instead, view the student as a source of information and collaborator in digital citizenship lessons.

Strategies addressed include necessary online identity system checks to review current digital footprint and data vulnerabilities, contemplation of technology usage in terms of self-care and responsible citizenry, and curation and development of their online persona. Through critical digital pedagogy, students will provide input into and share criticisms of all technology practices, strategize with peers, set personalized technology goals, write a technology manifesto, and self-evaluate during transformative lessons on digital citizenship.



How can we leverage and harness technology so that students learn in a safe and sound setting at home and school for their wellbeing? We are uniquely social beings. We rely on our environment for social support. Berger and Luckman (1966) referred to this as the socio-cultural variable; this socialization affects our senses, aptitude, and behavior through acculturation. As secondary students matriculate through school in the digital age, we can no longer confine the technology norms of good digital citizenship and safe practices to academic activities only. Instead, “…digital citizenship is more than just an online behavioural guide – it also includes the tools, skills, dispositions, attitudes and habits for using technology to live, learn and access digital resources (Kardiasmenos, 2018, para. 2).” Collaborate with students to harness technology usage to address the whole child, the social being, for transformative learning via critical digital pedagogy instead of transmissive teacher-centered instruction.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cache: Web pages are cached in your computer’s memory and hard drive when you browse websites. This makes it easy to retrieve these sources upon return to the site. Cache takes up space on your computer, which can slow down its processing time.

Data Breaches: A breach of data is a violation of confidentiality between the company that has your information and your rights as a user of their digital services. Customer data should be kept secure. When a breach occurs, this means the company’s information security protocols failed.

Finsta: A private, faked Instagram (Finsta) account hides behaviors from family and the public by using a pseudonym.

Digital Curation: Digital curation is akin to flower gardening in that you select, maintain, and save useful items while weeding the unwanted. The goal of digital curation is to form an online repository of valuable assets with benevolent intention.

Phrase Passwords: A phrase password consists of phrases to create a long password that you can remember. A long password will strengthen the security of your login credentials.

Personal Branding: Personal branding refers to the content (e.g., media, comments, activities) that represents who you are and what you do. In the online environment, your digital interactions also brand you.

Internet Browsers: A software application is used to browse and search the World Wide Web. Sample browsers include Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Edge, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Apple’s Safari.

Digital Footprint: A person’s digital footprint includes your traceable actions (e.g., logins, bookmarks, site visits, geolocation, posts, ratings, purchases, sharing media, submitting assignments). Digital footprints are for the most part permanent inscriptions on the Internet that can be traced back to you.

Uniform Resource Locator: The URL in your computer’s browser is where you type in a website’s address; it is also known as a hyperlink to a site.

Manifesto: A manifesto is when you publicly share your written or voiced intentions on a subject.

Cookies: A website’s cookie is a data file that is stored on your computer to remember your interactions such as login credentials or browsing history. Some cookies provide security and persistence for stable connections and commerce.

Online Persona: The perception of your digital artifacts (e.g., comments, images, projects) defines your online persona. These artifacts, just as historical digs along a riverbank, provide details about your digital footprint.

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