Week 4: Your Digital Footprint

Welcome to Week 4!

As we enter week 4, by now you should have:

  • read and completed all units up to Week 4 in the “My Courses” tab
  • begin thinking about your Course 1 Final Project
  • written 3 blog posts
  • recorded the URLs of each of the posts you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet
  • recorded the URL of each of the comments you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet
  • checked your feedback (for prior posts and comments) on your grading spreadsheet
  • completed the application process for SUNY (only if you’re taking COETAIL for SUNY credit)

An important note for this week:

I will be on our annual Field Studies trip with our 60 grade 6 students in Hakuba Monday – Friday. Although I will have intermittent access to the internet, I won’t be online as often as I normally am, so please be patient and expect a delay in response time.

Your Digital Footprint

Thank you for all of your awesome posts over the last few weeks! It’s so great to see the development in your writing styles, the use of enhancements like links and media, and the amazing connections you are making to our readings and beyond! To highlight a few themes I saw as I was reading:

As you begin to develop your online presence through your COETAIL blog, possibly a Twitter, Google+ and/or Facebook account, and other blogs or social media tools as well, it’s worth taking a moment to think about the “footprint” you’re leaving behind. While this will be a large focus for Course 2, here is a bit of a teaser for where we’re going:

And a few further readings that may interest you:

And one more video:

Of course the posts you’re writing now are just the beginning of the footprint (along with any other spaces where you share publicly online), but it’s worth taking some time to think about the following themes as you write:

Your Audience

Your blogs are public, so although the primary audience may be COETAIL members, your reflective space represents you as a learner. People will find your posts through tweets and comments and links – probably many more people than you may initially expect. As you begin to see who is leaving comments, what they’re interested in, and which posts end up with the most comments, you’ll start to learn who your active audience is. In that sense, your blog may begin to develop a theme or a tone relative to what you share and how people respond.

Also, it’s a general rule of thumb that for every single comment you get, 100 people have read your post. I don’t think this applies to COETAIL participant comments, but when you start to get comments beyond our cohort and other COETAILers, that’s a good barometer.


Writing is a powerful form of communication as we all know. The words you choose have impact. Thinking about how others may perceive what you write may help you present “your best you” to the world. Rants, a consistently negative tone, or ridiculing others probably isn’t the way you want others to perceive you.

Praise Locally, Criticize Globally

Although we all face challenges in our current schools, it’s so important to focus on the positive, and to ensure that you’re not bringing negative attention to your school (or certain individuals, even if you don’t use their name). When your colleagues find out that you’re blogging, they may read your posts, and even without using names, they may know who you’re talking about. It’s worth asking yourself: “will this offend anyone at school?” before you publish. (Actually, in general this is a good rule of thumb for all public writing, unless you’re intentionally being offensive.)


Many COETAILers end up using their blog as a portal for future employers. As such, you may want to think of the posts you write as a way to share your professional learning and perspectives, as well as the ways that you’re implementing these new ideas into your classroom.

Final Thoughts

This is definitely not intended to add more pressure on you as you develop your blog, but just to give you some ideas to think about as you select what to share in this public space. What kind of footprint do you want to leave behind?

As you’re thinking about “Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out” with your blog and in this new space, you might also enjoy this short clip from the New Learning Institute featuring researcher Mimi Ito:

Mimi Ito from New Learning Institute on Vimeo.

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