Making Over Third Grade!: They Did What?!? When Students Google You
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Sunday, February 7, 2016

They Did What?!? When Students Google You

The other day I was in the classroom as normal and a student came up to show me her Genius Hour project and there on her screen were pictures of ME from this blog! I asked her how she got the picture (yeah, I was a little slow on the uptake there) and she stated, "I Googled you!" If only you could have heard how she said it, as if she thought I had suddenly lost my senses. There was definitely an undertone that suggested she wanted to say, "Duh Ms. Ryan!"

During this conversation another student piped in and stated he had Googled me as well and found "a picture of you and an old man - I think it was your dad - at a baseball game." He had found my profile photo for several social media accounts including Twitter.

Okaaay, so...even as a teacher in a 1:1 class it had never dawned on me that they, my sweet, innocent, third graders, would Google me. Yeah, I know, what was I thinking - giving them a device, teaching them to use, and then not think they would use it to research ME. Suddenly, my entire recent digital footprint sprang to mind...what could they have found....luckily not much. (I have Googled myself before - it is actually interesting to see so many other Stacie Ryan's out there!) But it made me think. We are always telling our students to be careful of their digital footprint and of what they post online but do we always heed our own advice?

It is worth asking ourselves what we want our students to know about us based on a Google search before we type any harsh or rash comments, posts, or tweets.  The same can be said of the photos that we share. It just takes one post, tweet, or photo to cause headaches in their aftermath. After all, we all know the stories of teachers who have been fired or reprimanded for things they posted online in their off hours on personal accounts. (Those moral turpitude clauses are no joke.)

What, if anything, have we learned from these stories? To lock our accounts? But for every account we lock what is out there that can still readily be found? Better still, I think we need to practice what we preach and be mindful of what, when, and where we post things. The world is changing, sometimes faster than we can keep track of, when children under 9 think nothing of Googling their teacher "for fun" it is important to ensure that they don't find anything you would find hard to explain in class.

Now I am off to Google myself again...this time as an image search.

Have you ever thought about what your students could find out about you online? Have they admitted to Googling you? If so, share in the comments below. I would love to hear about how you addressed this.
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