Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Meet the Blog’s Brain! ME

I am bit behind in my blogging challenge. It has taken me a while to do this fourth challenge of the Teacher Challenge. I think it was because I have never made an avatar of myself and I feel in a way that it is unnecessary for me to do so as I am very comfortable having my photo represent me.
I feel that Leslie Raffelson expresses it well when she says "Over the past 10 years or so, I have developed an online presence that is me. It isn’t an alter ego or someone different. I don’t behave differently online and therefore am not going to create an ‘alias’. I want people to be able to connect me through whatever site they are on."

As the author of this blog I use the image that my daughter took of me and that I used in the 365 photo challenge to indicate me and I also use it on Twitter, Facebook and Diigo. This ensures that I will be recognised, as Murcha says: "What do you look like? Will I remember you next time you visit? How do I know it is you? Will you look the same everywhere in the cyberworld?"

This is the very important issue of creating a digital identity that is part of the words you write, the comments you leave and the links you save. I admit that I will have to change the photo as I get older as already I don't quite look like this anymore.

However, like Leslie, I think that it is appropriate to teach students to be wise as to what images of themselves are associated with their online presence. I taught secondary school students when I was in the classroom and after they understood what it was that I had to teach them about this issue (and not just me but other teachers and influential adults in their lives) I left it up to them as to whether they made an avatar or used a suitable photo of themselves, or a favourite pet. I think the skill of knowing how to make an avatar is a good one and so I have made this one so that I can teach other teachers who have younger students or who teach in a school where it is policy that a student's photo is not allowed to be used. And in completing this challenge I learnt things, as I always do when I blog.

I found a list of avatar making sites. I found that zwinky cannot be used on macs. In the end I used Be Funky and had lots of fun with this.


  1. Jo, I totally agree about using a real image to represent one's self on the web. I too have to keep changing the pic as I age, get new glasses or whatever. The only avatars I've created are a South Park style one that I use on our private teacher team wiki, and one of a road sign (Wegner Road, near my parents' house in the country) that is my comment avatar on Edublogs. It's always an individual choice of course but it does help to make a stronger connection, I feel.

  2. Hi Jo
    I agree with everything you say about our online presence and how it should represent who we actually are. As you say, revealing our identity makes us more accountable for the comments we make.
    Like Graham, I've used a South Park avatar for 9 months before I had the confidence to put my real image online...even now it is modified.

  3. Hi Jo, you are catching up well. I am the one who is getting behind now. The challenge is a challenge and time is such a factor in it all. However, I do like your avatar - the real photo. Befunky is great and my students have had so much fun with it. They love the cartoonizing aspect best. However, out 'in the sticks' where I live, it can pull our network to a standstill, so it is really disappointing that we have not been able to use it in the last few months.

  4. Hi Jo,
    I agree an image of yourself on the internet, I think, has more power if it's the real you. At first I didn't want to put myself out there but now I do.
    The avatars, however, are very funky! And, yes the issues might be different when it comes to kids.
    I guess i have the luxury of doing this just for me and so pleasing just me.