Challenge #4 for the Teacher Challenge supported by Edublogs, asks us to create a new avatar and explain the avatars that we use.
You’re probably really familiar with profile pics if you use Facebook. Since I use Facebook primarily with my friends and family, I change it periodically. Currently, my profile pic features my dog and me with a funky finish using the instagram app for iPhone. Since these are usually used with people who know you well, I feel profile pics can be relatively personal. That also explains why I believe changing profile pics often is okay. My mom will always be able to recognize me.
Avatars are the representation of yourself in the cyber world. You might choose your avatar to be a cartoon representation of yourself (like the one to the left made at Portrait Illustration Maker) or a photograph of yourself. I try to represent myself online using the same image on all of the sites I visit. (I also change my avatar image every couple of years, so I am sure I tend to miss one or two in the update.) However, I do have a different avatar that I use for Twitter. I am a big fan of using an actual photograph for my avatars as well.
Whatever you choose, try to find an image that really represents you. The current avatars I am using (for blogs and Twitter), feature experiences from the launch of Atlantis I attended in May of 2010. In my Twitter photo, I am wearing the “I love science” shirt I love while standing in front of the launch pad. My default avatar for blogs is from the day of the launch, and I really think you can tell how much fun I was having. I hope my passion and love for science (and space especially) really shine through in these photos.
Have you ever left a comment on a blog site and noticed a funny icon image of an abstract shape or “monster”? Sites like WordPress use a service called Gravatar (Global Recognized Avatar) in order to pull avatar images. If you do not have a Gravatar account, you can visit the site and set up a profile. That way, any site that uses Gravatar to pull avatar images (like WordPress) will display your default avatar image.
You probably recognize my default Gravatar image. It is the avatar I use the most often to represent myself online. It is my blog avatar, and it should be what you see when I leave comments. I also use this avatar for my Google profile.
Students and Avatar Images
The majority of my students are 11-12 years old. Because of their ages, I do not allow them to use photographs of themselves as avatars. Because of this, as well as not having profile images set up correctly when they were setting up their blogs this year, most of my students do not use avatars for their blogs. At this point in the school year, I do not think I will change that. However, I plan to encourage my students to create a cartoon based avatar for our blogs next year.
I am curious, when you first saw my avatar image, what did you think it represented about me as a person?