What is Online Identity?


Online identity is the idea that everything interacting in the digital realm has or acquires a set of data or attributes, both inherent and changeable, that uniquely identify them as a person or entity online. Relevant to issues of privacy and authentication, digital identity encompasses a wide array of contextual and technical identifiers that exist in a ontological taxonomy. Traits can be understood and accepted in mutually agreed upon contexts such as when providing data like name and address for a PayPal transaction, and in the far more technical view that describes the relationships of these entities and objects to each other in cyberspace. Another dimension of this topic is the persona one forges through their online profiles and avatars, specifically on social media.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Schools have an important role in educating students about digital citizenship. Part of digital citizenship is the way in which children and teens present themselves online. Through liking, uploading, sharing, and commenting, youth are engaging in online self-presentation. Educators can assist students in learning how to present themselves in healthy, ethical, and responsible ways. (I'm not sure if this makes sense or fits here. It just popped into my head.) Cable in the Classroom is a good resource for K-12 lesson plans (among many!) - abigail.leighphillips abigail.leighphillips Jun 10, 2015
  • Federated authentication and authorization technologies will become increasingly important as schools utilize more and more online educational services. It is not clear how much of a bandwidth impact this will have, however, redundancy of federated identity is essential: loss of an identity provider will render many, if not all, services inoperable. - anton.inglese anton.inglese Jun 20, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • One theme that appears in the literature is how social media and digital media in general allows youth another public sphere for developing identities. I guess what I'm thinking about here is identity construction. It's such a social process that traditionally has taken place in face-to-face places like school, home, community, church, etc. Online identities are not the exact same as offline identities, but they share a connection. - abigail.leighphillips abigail.leighphillips
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry?

  • How can we balance students' needs for privacy with the importance of building a positive academic/professional footprint and participating/ as digital citizens? Do the protections we put in place for privacy stack the dice again discovery and obscure a student's contributions in K12? At what stage do we help students develop portfolios, encourage digital badges and LinkedIn profiles? (See danah boyd's It's Complicated, particularly chapters on identity and networked publics.) - joycevalenza joycevalenza May 23, 2015
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


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