Digital security & identity

Teaching in a digital world: Digital security and identity

The World Wide Web holds all information shared on the internet from banking details, social networking, personal photos, calendars, links to contacts in mobile phones as well as extensive amounts of information which is shared electronically between large companies. Digital identity and having digital security are important aspects in protecting personal identities and the information that is available online as it shapes many aspects of an individual when seen by potential employers, agencies or peers. Teachers in the digital world need to be aware of both their identities and online security (Howell, 2014) including that of their students.

The internet is part of everyday activities for a teacher in the 21st century. The internet is used for such activities such as shopping, staying in contact with friends on social media and banking. Some teachers are likely to have two digital identities (Howell, 2014); the first is directed toward students who will have access and visibility to professional information, whilst the second shows personal identity which is more likely to be shared with friends and family.

A CNN (2014) interview with Former Google Plus developer Chris Messina presents that “A great deal of the future of an individual’s abilities and rights to use the web, to get online, to take advantage of the huge number of amazing advancements that we have had in the past decade.” The opinion of Chris Messina is closely linked to Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (2013) and teacher’s use of students using learnt “general capabilities” and awareness of what happens online in regards to online activities. Lizenberg (2013) reflects that “both teachers and students are immersed in a world that is affected by technology, and our culture, habits and feelings are changing because of it” (p. 3).

Figure 1Kid Smart poster encouraging students and smart internet use (Pinterest, n.d.)

Teachers should ensure students are aware of the negative aspects to having a digital identity in regards to personal security. There are multiple issues associated with identity and security online such as cyber bullying along with classroom distractions that arise as a result of social media activities and discussions outside of school hours. The Victorian State Government (2015) has developed guidelines to assist teachers in ensuring that existing policies and guidelines are followed by students in regards to the principles of online behaviours. This is monitored by the Victorian Education Department by ensuring teachers “have a clear educational context to support the teaching and learning” when it comes to the use of digital technologies.

As digital technologies are great motivators for teachers to utilise and to further engage students in learning, there is a clear link that teachers must be formal in their teaching. By ensuring students have a digital identity which is protected by a digital security, this will reduce the likelihood of cyber bullying and classroom disruptions (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2013, 147). It is imperative that teachers are aware of digital technologies that are available and students also need to be vigilant ensuring their self digital identity and security is protected.


Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2013). General capabilities. Retrieved from
CNN. (2014). Managing your digital identity [Streaming video]. Retrieved from
Howell, J. (2014). Living and Learning in the Digital World Mod01 topic 02 – Old Version – Not to be used [Streaming video]. Retrieved from
Lizenberg, N. (2013). Digital identity and teacher´s role in the 21st century classroom. In Roots & routes in language education: Bi-multi-plurilingualism, interculturality and identity. Selected papers from the 38th FAAPI Conference, Buenos Aires
 Pinterest. (n.d.). Internet safety poster [image]. Retrieved from
Victorian State Government. (2015). Safe and Responsible Use of Digital Technologies. Retrieved from
Woolfolk, A & Margetts, K. (2013). Educational Psychology (3rd ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

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