Our digital identities online are only going to increase in importance in the months and years ahead. How do people verify what websites are genuinely yours? This is a question many people (including teachers) may have not given much thought in the past, but I think it’s a good idea to start considering it. The case of assistant principal Anna Draker in Texas back in 2006 was one example of how verifying websites which are authored by a specific educator can become very important. I wrote about this a bit back in October in the post, “Obama on Flickr and Validating Information Sources.”

This evening I was pleased to discover (via Flickr user kOoLiNuS’ profile page) the free service ClaimID.com. I spent about an hour linking all of the blogs, social networking websites, other web 2.0 sites, and staticly created websites (I still have a few of those) which I author and to which I contribute on my own ClaimID page: http://claimid.com/wfryer. I wrote about OpenID back in January 2007 for the first time in the post “Google Reader and OpenID,” and I continue to be very interested in both this project and the overall goal of facilitating schemes for not only easing the login process on different websites (is there ANYONE out there who feels like they need MORE userids and passwords?) as well as helping individuals verify websites which they author or co-author. The former goal is part of OpenID, ClaimID focuses on the latter but permits users to integrate OpenID within their account.

Who does Google say you are, based on a simple keyword or phrase search for your first and last name? How about your children, your children’s teachers, and your children’s principal or superintendent? I think it behooves all educators to think about their online identity in 2008, and the ways they are (or are not) modeling the safe, appropriate, and powerful use of digital networks to share ideas and knowledge.

The last item I added to my ClaimID.com page this evening was my personal contributions to the English WikiPedia to date. Consider challenging your own students in 2008 to begin (if they have not already) compiling digital documentation of their personal contributions to the largest, free encyclopedia resource on the planet. Couldn’t that link make a nice addition to an electronic portfolio, for either high school or college graduation? I think so.

What does your personal WikiPedia contribution page look like today? What would you like it to look like on December 31, 2008? There’s no time like the present to start making contributions, even if they are small ones, to WikiPedia! :-)

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