Putting on the Detective Cap

Putting on the Detective Cap

This week I put on my detective cap as I attempted to cybersleuth two of my fellow classmates, Deanna Gallipeau and Melanie Darlington. This was a very interesting project to me, and I quickly realized how different digital identities are for younger people. I am able to find articles about myself from 1st and 2nd grade, and I realized this wasn’t going to be possible for everyone. It’s really interesting to see how media has changed what information is available about someone. Join me as I become Sherlock Holmes and begin my investigations.

Melanie Darlington

I started out with a simple google search of Melanie’s name, and one of the first things I found was her Facebook. From here I was able to learn that she went to high school in Eckville, Alberta and that she also studied at Lethbridge College. Melanie also works at the Prairie South School division in Moose Jaw. Her Facebook had a lot of information about her personal life and seems to be a major place for sharing about her life. Her blog was also one of the first things that came up when I searched her name, and I learned a lot about her from there. For example, she grew up on a farm and she really enjoys sports.

After stalking her various social media, I found an article written by Discover Moose Jaw which said she is the Playground Coordinator for the Parks Program in Moose Jaw, which she has been doing for a while since the article is from 2018. There wasn’t much coming up for Melanie, as there seems to be a hairdresser and photographer with the same name who come up first. So I decided to try and google her name followed by the different locations I knew she had lived. I also found an article from 2009 about a high school tennis event, so maybe she has played tennis. Overall, there was not much available on Google about Melanie, most of what I was able to find was her social media and articles about the Parks Program. I’ve summarized my cybersleuth findings below:

Profession: She is a teacher’s aid at a Moose Jaw elementary school and a Program Coordinator for the Parks Program

Biographical Info: Melanie’s blog says she is 31, and was raised in Eckville, Alberta. She is now living in Moose Jaw. She has studied in Lethbridge and at the UofR. Recently, she posted about being engaged (congratulations!).

Personal: Melanie’s family are farmers in Eckville, where they have had their farm for 85 years. She has 3 older sisters and 8 nieces and nephews. Her family is very important to her. Sports are also an important part of Melanie’s life and she says she enjoys basketball, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee. In her blog, Melanie also mentions how painting has been a part of her life since her sister passed away. Her Twitter was made for this class, so all of her posts are related to education where she shares a lot of great ideas for elementary students.

Overall impressions: I think Melanie’s digital footprint clearly shows her passion for sports and her love for her family. It is also very professional as most of the results pertain to her work and her studies. I don’t think there’s any reason to not hire her based on her digital footprint, and if anything it helps showcase her passion for her students. It’s not clear what her personal political beliefs are as the doesn’t post anything related to politics on her social media.

Deanna Gallipeau

Again, I started out by searching Deanna’s name. The first things that came up were her Twitter, her edusites, and a link to a bunch of Facebook profiles with her same name. The Facebook pages that were public were definitely not hers, and the others were private so I wasn’t able to get any information from there. From her blog, I was able to find out that she is an elementary teacher in Moose Jaw and that she is currently getting an extended education certificate in early years education. One thing that is very evident about Deanna is her passion for learning through play. She uses both her blog and Twitter to advocate for this and shares her own classroom experiences.

A large amount of the search results are about her work at St. Agnes. One of the first results is a staff directory page and there are multiple articles that feature things she has taken part in at the school. From the staff directory, I can see that she teaches 2nd grade. I also found a page from the UofR from a 2012 ECS 301 class where Deanna was a student, so I can estimate that she graduated from the university around 2013-2014. When I add “Moose Jaw” to the end of my search, nothing really changes but I did learn that Deanna won a Family Pizza giveaway once in 2019 so congratulations on that! However, nothing more interesting than that comes up. Below I’ve summarized my findings:

Profession: Elementary teacher at St. Agnes in Moose Jaw

Biographical Info: Almost everything I can find for this is based on assumptions. For example, I know she works in Moose Jaw and went to the UofR, so possibly she was born in Saskatchewan. I also can guess this since in the Facebook giveaway someone with the same last name is mentioned, so it seems her family also lives here. I also can make a rough guess at her age because of when she graduated, but I’d just be guessing.

Personal: Deanna is very passionate about play-based learning and this is evident from her various social media and her desire to extend her education. She doesn’t post anything about her personal life on these sites so the only things we know about her are her desires for her classroom and what she values as an educator.

Overall Impressions: Deanna’s digital identity is very professional and doesn’t include really any personal information. I also think this is largely positive as it’s not just a lack of sharing about her personal life, but the fact that she uses her media to discuss education. It definitely would be a benefit if she ever was looking for a new career, as it shows her passion, knowledge, and experience.

My Thoughts on Digital Identity

I think our digital identity is a very fascinating topic, especially for teachers. Comparing myself to Deanna and Melanie, I have a completely different result when searching for myself. My social media show a much more in-depth aspect of my personal life and online news has been the norm since I was a child, so there are countless articles with varying stories that include me. To me, it’s really important that teachers aren’t forced to give up their personal lives to become teachers. Of course, I believe that we need to be cognizant of what we post and how that reflects on us as people who work with children, however, I don’t think it’s fair to give up such a huge method of communication. In the article by Endgate, they discuss how each social media account is used for something else. They say “People have diverse, rich lives that aren’t contained within a single idea and personae,” and to me, this sums up digital identity perfectly. It’s important that we interact in these different ways and it’s important we understand why it means so much to our students. There are many different parts to each person and our digital identity perfectly shows that.

I also think one of the most important aspects of digital literacy is learning about the consequences of our digital footprint. The power of the internet to remember everything about us is huge and underestimated. There are countless examples of people’s careers being ruined by things they’ve posted in the past, and it’s something we need to warn students about from a young age. The cruelty of the internet, as seen by Monica Lewinsky, is even more prevalent today. As kids get online access younger and younger, they have an even larger digital identity. As I can see in my own cyber sleuthing, there are countless things that added to my digital identity before I even had access to the online world. It’s critical that we teach our students how to protect themselves, as the internet isn’t going to do it for them. Overall, I think it’s really important that we are given opportunities to healthily develop the many aspects of our digital identity, while being aware of the consequences of being online.

2 thoughts on “Putting on the Detective Cap

  1. Very interesting! I liked what you said about how different digital identity is for people of different ages- like how you can find articles about yourself being in Grade 1. That is something that’s never crossed my mind. My own digital identity didn’t begin until I was probably about 17 or 18. Yet my own children (2 and 5) already have one. So interesting! Thanks for sharing

  2. Great job Ava! I agree with you that digital footprint is a lot different for younger people. When I used to search my name an old Christmas concert picture would appear (thankfully it doesn’t anymore). I always try to be careful of what I post simply because I don’t want people searching into my personal life.

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