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The e-book version of this book is available here:
The Greek version of the e-book is available here:
The Polish version of the e-book is available here:
The Dutch version of the e-book is available here:
DYNAMIC IDENTITY INTRODUCTION VIDEO
The introduction video in English is available here:
The introduction video in Greek is available here:
The introduction video in Polish is available here:
The introduction video in Dutch is available here:
This project has been funded with support from the European
This publication reflects the views only of the author,
and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use
which may be made of the information contained therein.
WHAT IS THE DYNAMIC IDENTITY WORKSHOP?
Dynamic Identity is a European initiative to empower students in the age of 11 to 18 to become more conscious of the opportunities and
challenges of being online. The aim is to enhance their resilience and to get them to be more conscious about sharing their personal data
on the Internet. In a workshop consisting of five 90-minutes sessions students will be confronted with aspects of their own online identity.
They also will be taught how to deal with online profiling – how companies map them by saving and interpreting traces of their online
behavior. In the Dynamic Identity workshop a range of technologies is being used such as Augmented Reality.
Most important requirements: A laptop or computer with a cam, an Internet connection, a big screen, a beamer, speakers, two workshop
FOR WHOM IS THE WORKSHOP?
The free Dynamic Identity workshop targets students aged 11 to 14 and aged 15 to 18 and their teachers.
WHAT DOES THE WORKSHOP DO FOR THESE STUDENTS?
Students will concretely learn:
• What an online identity is and how it emerges;
• To reflect on their online activities;
• How they can experiment with their online identities;
• What online profiling by companies is, how they can manage this and how this is linked to their online identities.
More abstractly students will learn:
• To take responsibility for their online activities;
• To reflect on their self-presentations;
• To reflect on the interpretation of their self-presentations.
“Creating awareness among users of the Internet which role they might play while using the Internet, how they build their personage and
personality, and which consequences might appear online – both positive and negative.”
Hanna Konczakowska-Makulec, school principal and teacher
“Children grow up with technology: smartphones, tablets, the Internet of Things. For them it is as normal as water from the tap. A society
without it is unthinkable for them. Everyone can take pictures anywhere, put videos online and show others where you are whenever you
want to meet up.
Parents remember a world without Google, GPS, iPhones, Samsung Galaxies and iPads. They watch their children grow up in a world full of
online content. Some of them have a hard time keeping up. But online content like Facebook, Twitter, Meerkat, WhatsApp and Google are
not for free. Someone needs to pay for it. Do we know that? How do we make that more clear to our children? How do we make children
more aware of what they put online about themselves or the people around them?
And this is where Dynamic Identity comes in. This project creates awareness, sometimes in a shocking manner, of how they are being
followed on the Internet and by means of their smartphones. They become aware where to draw the line. No judgment is given. They are
not being held accountable for their behavior.
By participating in the Dynamic Identity project you become more aware and you start to realize that you, while it is still possible, can be
boss over your own content. Dare to say no again when someone takes a picture of you and publish it on Instagram.
Participants hear how the Internet slowly but surely creates a profile of you online. Children are being confronted with themselves in a
During the workshops it can be observed how opinions change or are being adjusted. Limits are sometimes being adapted, sometimes
being created, sometimes being made clearer. This is great to see!
Dynamic Identity is about become aware, about being made to think, being asked to make choices, because we can and because we are
And maybe it makes the life of parents a bit easier :-)”
Hans van Manen, parent
“I believe the project offers the students useful information that is sadly lacking in terms of their computer literacy. From what I could
observe the students were highly motivated, very involved and came away with a much increased awareness concerning their online
activities. There was a high rate of student participation and the whole project was presented in a way that promoted interaction and
student initiative. It was interesting to see that despite their familiarity with using the computer as a tool, the students had a lot of
questions and displayed a lack of meta-knowledge concerning the tool itself, and of the variety of uses it may have, not all of which are
always beneficial to the user.”
Ioanna Kynigou, teacher
“The youngsters, who participate in the project in the various countries, have the opportunity to say and experience similar things. They
concentrate on a theme that is their everyday life – regardless where they are. By touching the building of online identities the project
builds a certain international community and gives the option o cleverly be in the virtual world and in the real world. The project touches
issues and situation that already exist although we often do not realize that.”
Hanna Stempka, school principal
“Increasing the awareness [among students] on their own identities. The ability to function in a contemporary system that is tied to the
development of information technology.”
Katarzyna Wilczyńska, school principal
“The project Dynamic Identity offers students the opportunity to communicate openly in a non-curriculum context about the Internet and
the way they approach technology in general. As the sessions organized by the program provide a wide context of technological input as
well as a stimulus for wider discussion, the whole classroom is engaged in a fruitful exchange of ideas and concerns regarding both their
use of the Internet and their profile.
The experience of the program is considered positive for the students and their teachers as all matters that come up in the sessions
offer stimulus for further discussion and research. Finally, students are given the chance to experience the way a community of experts
cooperates in realistic working environments of their field, thus appreciating the potential of international cooperation and intercultural
links that both technology and foreign language learning can offer.”
Lena Xanthakou, teacher
“Dynamic Identity makes students aware of the options on the Internet while asking themselves critical questions whether they want to
make us of these.”
Petra Keller, teacher
“The intimate atmosphere promotes opening up.”
Milena Misztal, teacher
“Creating reflection among youngsters (and one’s own) on the theme of threats online, awareness of their options to influence the quality
of their self-presentation, showing them the difference between them in the real world and in the virtual world and showing them the
threats that are a consequence of profiling. At the same time additional value of the project lies in its social aspects – integration of the
students, the option of looking at one’s self in a different, until then unknown context (f.i. the emotions linked to the situations of being
recorded, the showing of the recordings and the discussions on that theme).
Hanna Jurkowska, pedagogue
“I am very positive about the project. The subjects are relevant and also the approach to the counseling of the students is fitting. But I
think that the option for more interaction needs to be considered. Our students found it hard to listen for three hours and not being able
to do anything.”
Daan Wijga, teacher
“The project points out the issue of media education, which seems to me to be overlooked. It indicates the relationship between modern
technology and changes in interpersonal relations and the impact of media on the human condition - especially on young people - in the
Elżbieta Bazan, teacher
“1. Create awareness among the youngsters at school who grow up in the Internet era about the plusses and minuses
2. The session conducted in the framework of the project provide the option of reflection and acquiring very much broader knowledge on
online identities, its creation and the consequences of publishing one’s personal data, preferences etc.
3. The project creates the option of looking differently at “being” online as youngsters do as they think they know everything about it as
daily users, often very active.”
Bogumiła Kamut, teacher
“Increasing the awareness of students on their online identity, on how they are interpreted by others and how they can change their
Anna Turowska, teacher
“The students’ experience of the meeting under the program Dynamic Identity was generally positive. Students participated in the debate
with interest as the themes touched their interests and habits. They learned information they did not know about their digital identity and
the meeting had a possible impact on their daily contact with web services and applications.”
Maria Kontaxi, teacher
“- An increased awareness among students on the theme of sharing personal data on the Internet
- An increased knowledge about online profiling
- Linking traditional methods with modern technologies like Augmented Reality
- Acquiring the skills to manage one’s online identity”
Beata Ćwiklińska, teacher
“1. Youngsters get to know a different form of functioning on the Internet
2. The possibility to control who is following us – LIGHTBEAM
3. The good and bad sides of SELFIEs
4. Confronting students to have the courage to perform in front of a camera
5. Self-presentation as an element that will help student i the future during their oral exams
6. PROPOSITION FOR THE FUTURE – Link informatics lessons to media education, (Polish) language lessons and cultural knowledge. It is
necessary to add an informatics specialist to the two instructors or have them as one of the instructors.
7. It would be good to maybe consider how to make the sessions even more attractive with regard to Internet, maybe by adding forums
or Facebook to the profiling section.
8. It would be worthwhile to consider whether during the session of the recording of WHO ARE YOU UNTIL NOW a student should stand
on the other side of the camera or recording device rather than a teacher.”
Maciej Raczyński, teacher
“The effect of the meeting under the Dynamic Identity program to students, cannot be measured accurately. As in any short-term
teaching intervention only potential influences can be assumed which concern every student who participated in varying degrees. The
effect is more focused on information about digital traces and digital profiles creation as they may encourage additional employment
issue and reflection on usage patterns of web services. Alongside the possibility of personal contact with someone “special” who provides
interesting information on questions raised by the students the friendly atmosphere of the meeting helped to express the communication
potential of some students.
The potential positive effects on students will probably be higher if the total intervention was longer and with more active personal
involvement of students.”
Anthimos Chalkidis, teacher
“Raising the awareness of children about their responsibility for their words, pictures and presence online. Showing the consequences of
particular choices and opportunities to influence and to shape virtual reality.”
Anna Herra-Chyła, psychologist
“Creating a general awareness among youngsters how much they are being manipulated in the current world – and not just by big
companies… Creating an awareness that Internet has a great power – positive but unfortunately also negative. Youngsters find out how
much real influence they have in creating their own image online.”
Barbara Szymczak, psychologist
“What are the consequences of being online? What is profiling and its repercussion?
Grażyna Niemyjska, teacher
General introduction 2
Stakeholder comments 3
Table of contents 7
Workshop module overview 10
age group 11-14
Workshop module overview 11
age group 15-18
Alternative Workshop module overview 12
age group 11-14
Alternative Workshop module overview 13
age group 15-18
Module 1 14
Module 2 15
Module 3 16
Module 4 17
Module 5 18
Workshop didactics 19
Instructors welcome all 30
Verbal self-presentation 31
Constructing self-presentation 32
Selfies as self-presentation 38
Adults and self-presentation 42
Recording of individual participants on cam (1) 44
Profiling theory 53
Experience profiling 70
Elements of film language grammar 76
Confrontation in AR 84
New technologies 88
Recording of individual participants on cam (2) 92
Self-presentation and profiling 95
Intro on the IDentifEYE game 103
Playing the game for age group 11-14 105
Playing the game for age group 15-18 118
Analysis of the film task results 133
Thanking and certificates 137
Dr. Bibi van den Berg: Mirror, mirror on the wall... 138
on identity and online profiling
Beata Staszyńska MFA: Being subjective 146
elements of film language grammar
Prof. dr. ir. Arjen P. de Vries: Online Profiling 150
how and why?
Prof. Simone van der Hof: Online Profiling of Children in Europe 156
a legal perspective
Radosław Nowak MA, Anna Rejkowska MA 159
the prevention of risky behavior
Onno Hansen MA: Credo 165
against authenticity and consistency
Instructor logistics 173
Preparation of the computer 177
How to record participants (1.6) 179
Instruction for the use of the AR (Augmented Reality) app 181
Instruction for the use of the conversion software for AR 183
How to record participants (3.3) 184
Instruction how to play the AR game (age group 11 to 14) 187
Instruction how to play the AR game (age group 15 to 18) 189
AR Game (11-14) 191
AR Game (11-14) 193
AR Game (15-18) 195
AR Game (15-18) 196
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Consent form for participation and use of image 198
List of recordings 199
Markers (3.1) 201
Markers (4.3) 202
Certificate of participation in the Workshop Dynamic Identity 203
Teacher evaluation 204
Teachers evaluation form 208
Workshop Dynamic Identity 210
Handout 2.2 211
Work sheet 2.4 212
Workshop Dynamic Identity 213
Workshop Dynamic Identity 214
questionnaire 5.1 – analysis
Workshop Dynamic Identity 215
questionnaire 5.2 – evaluation
Presentation 1.3 217
Presentation 2.1 218
Presentation 2.2 223
Presentation 2.4 225
Presentation 4.1 232
Project partners 234
Supporting partners 237
Many thanks to 238
Additional information 239
Project video 240
Thank you for your interest in the Dynamic identity workshop. It is an unusual workshop. It combines new didactics, new technologies and
new subjects: online self-presentation and online profiling. And yet, when the workshop is experienced by students in the class room, they
find it surprisingly normal. And: surprisingly interesting.
The workshop has been tested in three European countries: in Greece, Poland and in the Netherlands. During the pilots teachers were
surprised by the reactions of their students to the workshop. In the Netherlands students were able to sit down and listen for nearly ninety
minutes in a row – while their normal span of attention is around twenty minutes. In Poland and Greece students opened up and started
to talk about their private online experiences and about their emotions during the workshop – something that normally is “not done”.
Unfortunately, the pluses of the workshop only become clear while implementing it. What is most visible before though is the
inconvenience of having to find five ninety minutes sessions involving a good amount of preparations and additional activities between
the workshop sessions. In a situation where the exams are the main point of relevance and teachers are already overburdened this is no
small obstacle to take.
We understand that it is a big pill to swallow. Yet we promise that it will be worthwhile. The workshop provides what parents and school
professionals want: tools for students (and teachers) to deal with 21st
If you would decide to implement the workshop, you can count on our support. For any questions or otherwise, please send an email to
workshop co-author and project partner Onno Hansen: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get started please first read section “Instructor logistics” and the didactics section. Get acquainted with the modules – and with the
technology that was specially created for the workshop.
The first decision to make is whether you are allowed to record students in the class room and then show these recordings in the class
room. If this would prove to be a challenge – as it is for instance in Greece – you could opt to implement the shortened version of the
workshop (see section “Alternative workshop module overview”).
The second fundamental decision to make is for what target group you wish to conduct the workshop. There are different programs for
students in age group 11 to 14 and in age group 15 to 18.
The technology of the workshop is not hard. The workshop documents will guide you through it in a simple way. Nevertheless, you
will read in every section that involves technology – be it traditional (video) or modern (Augmented Reality) – that you will need to get
acquainted with the technology and the procedures BEFORE the workshop starts. It is of utmost importance that you will test every aspect
so that you will feel confident about the technology before you kick off. This will make the workshop so much more fun.
The project is the result of the cooperation between unusual partners. Academic partners (University of Leiden, CWI) took care of the
theoretical part while foundations hosting a film director (Citizen Project Foundation) and a functional ICT designer (Ezzev Foundation) are
responsible for the experience modules. They were all supported by an educational software design company (CrystalClearSoft), a local
government prophylactics organization (GCPU), a parent association (PAEPSM) and a business consultant (Favinom).
1.1 5’ Instructors welcome all
1.2 10’ Verbal self-presentation
1.4 35’ Selfies as self-presentation 75’ 1.6 Recording of individual
participants on cam (1)1.3 15’ Constructing self-presentation
1.5 25’ Adults and self-presentation
2.2 25’ Experience profiling
2.1 15’ Profiling theory
2.3 15’ Discussion/ experimenting with profiling management apps
2.4 35’ Elements of film language grammar
3.1 45’ Confrontation in AR 80’ 3.3 Recording of individual
participants on cam (2)3.2 45’ New technologies
4.1 15’ Self-presentation and profiling
4.2 10’ Intro on the IDentifEYE game
4.3 30’ Playing the game (on self-presentation)
4.4 35’ Discussion
5.1 70’ Analysis of the film task results
5.2 10’ Questionnaire
5.3 10’ Thanking and certificates
WORKSHOP MODULE OVERVIEW
age group 11-14
SESSION1 1.1 5’ Instructors welcome all
1.2 10’ Verbal self-presentation
1.3 30’ Constructing self-presentation 75’ 1.6 Recording of individual
participants on cam (1)1.4 20’ Selfies as self-presentation
1.5 15’ Adults and self-presentation
2.1 25’ Profiling theory
2.2 15’ Experience profiling
2.3 15’ Discussion
2.4 35’ Elements of film language grammar
3.1 45’ Confrontation in AR 80’ 3.3 Recording of individual
participants on cam (2)3.2 45’ New technologies
4.1 30’ Self-presentation and profiling
4.2 10’ Intro on the IDentifEYE game
4.3 15’ Playing the game (on profiling)
4.4 35’ Discussion
5.1 70’ Analysis of the film task results
5.2 10’ Questionnaire
5.3 10’ Thanking and certificates
WORKSHOP MODULE OVERVIEW
age group 15-18
MODULE TIME TITLE
1.1 2’ Instructors welcome all
1.2 5’ Verbal self-presentation
1.4; 1.3 10’ Selfies as self-presentation; Constructing self-presentation
4.3 20’ Playing the game (on self-presentation)
2.1; 2.2; 4.1 20’ Profiling theory; Experience profiling; Self-presentation and
3.2 13’ New technologies
4.4 10’ Discussion
5.2 5’ Questionnaire
5.3 5’ Thanking and certificates
ALTERNATIVE WORKSHOP MODULE OVERVIEW
age group 11-14
MODULE TIME TITLE
1.1 2’ Instructors welcome all
1.2 5’ Verbal self-presentation
1.3 10’ Constructing self-presentation
2.1; 2.2; 4.1 20’ Profiling theory; Experience profiling; Self-presentation and
4.3 10’ Playing the game (on profiling)
3.2 18’ New technologies
4.4 15’ Discussion
5.2 5’ Questionnaire
5.3 5’ Thanking and certificates
ALTERNATIVE WORKSHOP MODULE OVERVIEW
age group 15-18
1.1 The workshop is introduced by the two instructors.
1.2 All participants introduce themselves in one sentence. This is a warming-up in self-presentation for module 1.6.
1.3 An intro is presented on how self-presentations are constructed in social contexts. Dr. Bibi van den Berg (eLaw) translated insights by
sociologist Erving Goffman for the target group.
1.4 Selfie trends illustrate the theory of module 1.3.
1.5 Participants are asked about their relationship with adults and to whom they turn in case of online difficulties.
1.6 In parallel to modules 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 participants are invited one-by-one to be recorded on video in a nearby space. Only one
question is posed: Who are you until now?
2.1 The instructors present an intro on how online profiling by companies functions in practice. Prof. dr. ir. Arjen P. de Vries (CWI) and dr.
Bibi van den Berg (eLaw) wrote the intro.
2.2 Profiling is shown in practice. Prof. Simone van der Hof (eLaw) and prof. dr. ir. Arjen P. de Vries (CWI) chose instruments to manage
2.3 Discussion on modules 2.1 and 2.2.
2.4 Because an ever larger segment of our identities is visual the participants receive an intro on film grammar – the basic elements that
constitute film language. Film director Beata Staszyńska MFA (FCP) wrote the intro.
3.1 The participants are confronted with the recordings made in module 1.6. They look at themselves having their newly acquired
knowledge and skills in mind. They view their recording while being observed by the other participants. The viewing takes place in
Augmented Reality – a relatively new technology that stimulates reflection. The AR app that translates video input into Augmented Reality
has been created especially for this workshop.
3.2 Blogger Onno Hansen MA (EF) gathered new trends and examples regarding new technologies and invites to reflect on hard questions.
3.3 Parallel to module 3.2 participants are again recorded on video. This time they are better prepared since it is their second time and
they have acquired new knowledge and skills. They are now the directors of the recording.
4.1 The instructors show how profiling influences auto-presentation. The module has been by prepared by dr. Bibi van den Berg (eLaw).
4.2 The instructors provide a short intro on the Augmented Reality serious game IDentifEYE.
4.3 The Augmented Reality serious game IDentifEYE is played by the participants. Two versions of the game (for age group 11-14 and 15-
18) have been created especially for this workshop. Monika Piotrzkowska-Dziamska MA, Anna Rejkowska MA and Anna Baranowska MA
(all GCPU) have added their pedagogic and therapeutic insights to the module description.
4.4 After the game the discussion on online identities and the influence of profiling is continued.
5.1 The last session starts with an analysis by the participants themselves of the recordings made during the modules 1.6 and 3.3.
5.2 The participants are invited to fill out a questionnaire to measure by means of self-reporting the effectiveness of the workshop.
5.3 The workshop ends with the handing out of certificates to the participants.
Imagine that your class room no longer is a class room but miraculously has become a theater stage. On this stage you and your students
are the actors. Your role on this stage is no longer that of a teacher. You’ll be playing the role of a passionate professional who is a wise
friend for the other actors on the stage. Your stage character has the drive to connect to young people – and to guide them.
Probably you will say: “That role is no different from whom I am as a teacher.” Well, you are right, but not to the end. On stage we’ll
pretend there is no school, there is no curriculum, there are no exams to prepare, and no duties to fulfill. On stage you can play yourself
as a teacher in an ideal world.
Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman helps us understand who these ideal teachers – whom he calls “educators” - are and how they differ from
everyday teachers. In his book Liquid Life (2005) he sides with philosopher Richard Rorty “who “spelled out, as desirable and fulfillable
aims for educators, the tasks of ‘stirring the kids up’ and instilling ‘doubts in the students about the students’ own self-images, about the
society in which they belong’.” These educators, according to Bauman and Rorty, cannot be those “busy conforming to well-understood
criteria for making contributions to knowledge” but should be those “trying ‘to expand their own moral imagination’ and read books ‘in
order to enlarge their sense of what is possible and important – either for themselves as individuals or for their society’.”
You, in the role of educator in the workshop, will be on par with the other actors on stage. There is no given hierarchy, only a natural
hierarchy. The opinions and feelings of all are equally respected – no immediate judgments are passed. The mutual respect is based on
responsibility: if someone offers an opinion or vents an emotion they are responsible for them - just like they are responsible for their
reactions. On stage the rule is: there is no freedom without responsibility.
All insights, provided they are formulated sincerely and with responsibility, are to be taken serious, no matter how ridiculous or ignorant
they may sound at first sight. It is amazing what worlds can be hidden under the biggest cliches or stalest of superficial descriptions,
provided they are proclaimed in sincerity. You need to listen – and speak – empathetically.
You might object that it is utopian to suppose that this kind of sincerity and responsibility is possible in the class room. But remember, it
is no longer a class room – it is a stage. It is a stage with its own theatrical magic.
You might worry that there will be no reaction from your students to your efforts. But education researcher Dylan Wiliam (2011) assures
us: “When teachers open up the channels of communication with the students, the students will use them.”
In this workshop you are provided with effective means to build a stage. Some of them are based on social psychology, some on
technology and all are derived from best practices that were tested out many times in the class room – on stage in Greece, Poland and the
Netherlands. The means will be described below.
Nevertheless, no matter what means you’ll be using, in the end it all depends on you. If you will not enter the stage yourself to play your
role, no magic will help you. If you’ll behave as always, the class room will remain just a class room and will not become a stage. This is
an observation taken from real class rooms that refused to become anything else but a class room because some teachers refused to
play their role of educators. In that situation students were repeating after the teacher what they thought that was expected from them.
Wiliam calls this state: “the students end up playing a game of “guess what is in the teachers head” and there is little, or no, worthwhile
All actors need a motivation to play their role. Yours is the following: “Dr. Madeline Levine wrote that adolescents tell her how their stress
would be most reduced by quality dialogue with a sane, caring adult for 15 minutes a day. As a teacher, you can’t give that time to each
student, but you make this awareness part of the way in which you interact with the class as a whole and, when possible, with individual
students who seem to most need that attention.”1
The result is an atmosphere that is commonly called a “caring classroom” – a class room in which all are engaged and feel secure. Daniel
Goleman (2014) explains: “Such an atmosphere has particular importance for those children at most risk of going off track in their lives
because of early experiences of deprivation, abuse or neglect. Studies of such high-risk kids who have ended op thriving in their lives –
who are resilient – find that usually one person who turned their life around was a caring adult, very often a teacher.”
Your character is not supposed to be a psychological counselor. This is an entirely different role. You are no therapist. What you will do is
“create an environment that helps alleviate the normal problems many students wrestle with and, at the very least, not add to them.”2
The topics addressed in the Dynamic Identity workshop concern the students’ lives online. In particular their online identities and
companies profiling them are targeted - but in the course of the workshop you will meet a rich variety of related subjects.
The stage that is set is not about discussing and solving problems. It is about conducting dialogues on experiences and insights regarding
life online. Often these experiences and insights will be positive. If the stage magic will work the dialogues will be delicate, different and
sometimes highly amusing. So be prepared to enjoy yourself - but be aware that potential danger looms behind every anecdote.
You could think of the didactics as an extreme version of Formative Assessment (FA). Wiliam (2011) defines Formative Assessment as: “An
assessment functions formatively to the extent that evidence about student achievement is elicited, interpreted, and used by teachers,
learners, or their peers to make decisions about the next steps in instruction that are likely to be better, or better founded, than the
decisions they would have made in absence of that evidence.” Both types of didactics are about “’opening up’ the classroom, providing
space for students to talk, both because it is beneficial for their development, but also because by careful listening to what students say,
teachers can gain insight in their development.”
The difference between FA and the didactics proposed in this section is that Formative Assessment concerns student achievement and
development strictly within the school curriculum whereas the Dynamic Identity didactics concerns student life online.
You might think that you are not suited for conducting a dialogue about life online. You might reason that you are no digital native - in
contrast to the workshop participants. When you were born there were no smart phones around. There was no omnipresent Internet at
that time. No one published personal or other information with the ease of a click.
If you’d think that you’ve got it all wrong. You not being a digital native is precisely why you are the ideal partner for the participants to
engage in a dialogue on life online. Although you might even be a little intimidated by technology, or feel out of touch with it, you are
highly qualified for providing the workshop on this theme. You have a unique perspective that only a diminishing number of people on
this planet have: you have consciously seen the Internet come into the world. Exactly because life online for you never was a given you
have a natural reflection on everything connected with the online realm. This is a precious point of view.
And then you are a trained teacher. This means that you are trained to credibly present your point of view and to assess information and
provide feedback. These are very valuable assets for youngsters.
Your unique perspective about life online and your teacher skills are enhanced by your life experience. You have lived through a lot of
situations – privately and professionally – that youngsters in your group are only starting to experience. The basics of life have not changed
because of the Internet. Youngsters still experiment, still look for boundaries to cross, still fall in love and still have hormones raging
through their bodies. Bullying still exists. Even though many processes look different in the digital age, they are not so different from what
you lived through. Don’t let the tech context blind you. Your life experience is very relevant - also for digital natives.
On the other hand, don’t be surprised if some digital natives’ experiences will be radically different. Youngsters now have tools that were
once the privilege of editors-in-chief and marketing directors only. One stupid joke online can cause them to be arrested. One picture sent
can cause trouble with one’s peers for months to come. Any silly moment can be captured and shared with friends, acquaintances and
strangers alike. This is why you need, besides your reflection, your skills and your life experience, also your empathy. Try to open up to
find out how it is to grow up in this new hybrid world. Go beyond teaching – enter a real dialogue. But don’t be afraid to be critical. And
be careful with your praise. Wiliam: “It is the quality, rather than the quantity of praise that is important, and in particular, teacher praise
is far more effective if it is infrequent, credible, contingent, specific and genuine ... It is also essential that praise is related to factors within
an individual’s control”.
An important instrument to deal with the subject of online life is the proposed didactics itself for, as Wiliam writes, “what matters is how
things are taught, rather than what is taught. ... The greatest impact on learning is the daily experiences of students in classrooms, and
that is determined much more by how teachers teach than by what they teach.”
Wiliam therefore assesses: “The teacher’s job is not to transmit knowledge, nor to facilitate learning. It is to engineer effective learning
environments for the students.” Helping you create such an effective learning environment is the aim of the Dynamic Identity workshop.
Don’t be scared that elements of the workshop will be too hard for your students to understand. Because it concerns their daily lives
they are more versed in some of the themes than you would assume. Therefore you can try to create a state that Csikszentmihalyi calls
“flow”: “when both capability and challenge are high, the result is “flow”. On the other hand, make sure that the challenge is not too high
because“when the goals seem out of reach, students may give up on increasing competence”. Check this by means of diagnostic questions
as described below.
The result of the workshop didactics is a dialogue between you and your students. The aim of this dialogue for students is to learn to
reflect on their on their online existence – the impact, the options, the opportunities and challenges and their responsibility in this all. The
aim of the dialogue for you is that it helps you to reflect on your teaching practices and assumptions. Teaching is so complex “that high-
level performance relies on making a large proportion of the things [you] do automatic.” (Wiliam, 2009) These automatisms will be of not
too much help to you during this workshop. You will need to make a lot of on-the-fly adjustments. Reflections are thus bound to emerge.
An important instrument to check whether you are understood in the class room is the instrument of diagnostic questions. These are
“questions that provide a window into student’s thinking”. They are not easy to generate but reading Wiliam’s book Embedded Formative
Assessment (2011) will support you. Rule of thumb for those questions is: “What makes a question useful as a diagnostic question ... is
that it must be very unlikely that the student gets the correct answer for the wrong reason.” And, the question should be constructed in
such a way that “the incorrect answers should be interpretable.”
The underlying assumption should be: “it is better to assume that students do not know something when they do than it is to assume they
do know something when they don’t.” Do not rely on student self-reports.
The best time to ask these questions is “at hinge points in lessons”. These are points “at which the teacher checks whether the class is
ready to move on”.
Setting the stage
The stage is set at the very beginning of the workshop (module 1.1). A good practice is to introduce one’s self as educator – both educators
do so – which means that you can add personal details to your introduction. This is by no means obligatory but it would clearly signal the
different role that you’ll be playing. An example of such an introduction is:
I am Onno, I am 50 years old and my hobbies are: cooking and new technologies.
Then explicitly declare that the class room as such will cease to exist for the duration of the workshops. Explain everyone’s new role and
establish some basic rules with those present. An example of such an introduction to basic rules is:
During the workshop all should feel safe. This safe environment is created by all of us together. Therefore, we need to agree on some
rules on how to do this together. I would suggest the following. All should be able to say whatever they want to say, as long as it is sincere
and relevant to the subject. This means that we will try not to laugh when someone tells us something sincerely. Naturally, sometimes
something still might be hilarious - in which case we naturally can laugh. But we should always be willing to explain why we laughed.
If anyone has a reaction to what will be being said during the workshop – and hopefully a lot of things will be said - then they either will
show that reaction here, during the workshop or not show it at all. There should be no talking behind someone’s back later on or beyond
the context of this workshop.
No one is forced to say anything in front of others. If you don’t want to talk, don’t. Having said that, it will be most appreciated if you will
You are responsible for what you say. If what you say is experienced as hurtful, you can expect a reaction. If what you say is illegal or
extremely serious the instructors have the obligation to take steps beyond this class room. Therefore, reflect before you blurt out things
that you might regret. This is not a meeting between friends. This is a dialogue between people who want to understand each other.
Does anyone object these basic rules? Are they clear?
As soon as some basic rules are accepted – and in our experience they were always accepted by all participants, often with wonder and
smiles on their faces – you will ask all to introduce themselves in one sentence, one-by-one (module 1.2). These introductions will give
you a first indication how the transformation from class room to stage is going.
Do not expect an immediate change: students will not trust the new setting for some time to come. As a rule they will not try to sabotage
it, but they are not quite convinced yet that this is not just another boring lesson disguised as a cool activity. This at least is what many
workshop participants confessed to us during the pilot workshop sessions.
There is a challenge though contained in the rules as stated above. They tell students that no one is forced to talk. This could lead to the
complete withdrawal of some of the students. To avoid this the educator should involve techniques for all-student response (see for a list:
Wiliam, 2011) to stimulate engagement of all students. Whereas no one is obliged to talk about personal experiences, all are permanently
stimulated to be actively involved.
The first session
During the first session the new didactics are not very visible yet. To start with, there is a transfer of information (module 1.3) that
involves normal teacher didactics. Then presentations will be shown with regards to the subject of auto-presentation and communication
(modules 1.4 and 1.5). These presentations are a bit out of the ordinary and will trigger some surprise among the participants. The
discussion during these modules therefore might already be a bit more loose than normal in the class room.
The reason for not radically transforming the class room at once is twofold. The most important reason is that participants should get the
time to open up – not by force but out of their own free will. An evolutionary road into the new didactics has proven to result in a mellow
transition. Call it a “best practice”.
Another reason is that all participants will be asked to leave the class room one-by-one to visit the second educator who is in another
space (module 1.6). The participants do not know that they will be recorded there. Since the workshop atmosphere still is, in essence,
largely a class room atmosphere, participants will accept the task at hand – answering to the question: “Who are you until now?” – as
a regular school task. This will induce confusion because the question posed does require a very personal answer, which is unusual in a
school setting. This confusion is highly productive to stimulate reflection – both on the task and on themselves.
During the hundreds of times we’ve asked the question during test and pilot sessions only a few participants produced a politically correct
answer – an answer that should help them getting better evaluations by the teacher – such as: “I love being at school.” On the other
hand, only a few participants opened up as if to a friend. Most seemed to provide the first acceptable neutral answer that came to mind.
Since a confrontation of the participants with their answers is planned only during the third session – when the class room has vanished
and the stage is there – this confrontation will be viewed by the participants as a confrontation with a slightly different version of
themselves. This then shows them what impact role playing has as part of our identities (one of the major themes of module 1.3). And
they then experience the theory that was encountered up until that point (modules 1.3, 2.1 and 2.4) as very personal.
It is possible that some participants will open up more than expected during the first session. One participant during a pilot session asked
us whether death threats can be considered as a challenge of online life (module 1.5). So, be prepared to be an educator from the first
moment the workshop starts, even though most participants will only slowly come join you on the stage.
An additional note on the recording is worth including at this point. In two of the many groups that participated in test and pilot sessions
two participants approached an educator pleading for their recordings not to be shown to their fellow students in the class. They had
themselves figured out that the recordings might be displayed and had started worrying. After a short dialogue the educator granted
their request – since in the workshop no fixed obligations exist – but held them accountable for their request. The educator asked them
if they were willing to explain their request to their fellow students – and explain why. The opposing participants readily agreed. The
explanations that followed triggered intense discussions in the class room. Some participants sided with the two while others argued
against them. These were fruitful dialogues about safeguarding one’s personal limits – a central workshop theme.
The educators present used the occasion to explain the rationale behind this module (1.6) and the related modules (3.3 and 5.1).
We did not include this module to tease you or to make you feel uncertain. The logic behind this module is a positive one. The modules
are there to trigger you to experience how you talk spontaneously to the camera without pondering how this recording will be used and
without taking control over the recording process. We think that this is the mode in which most of your communication online takes place.
In session three you will see the resulting recordings. We can tell you now that no one will feel comfortable watching themselves. One of
the reasons for this is that by then you will be much more aware of your own behavior and will have instruments to take more control over
your the recording process. You will see your previous behavior and have reflections. And you can immediately after re-do the recording
after you’ve seen it but now do it your way.
We think you’ll learn a lot by enduring yourself and then doing the re-recording. We think that the experience will make an impact that
will help you in your communication from that moment on. That’s why the modules are there – to help you be more conscious about how
you communicate and how you can take more control.
We established the rules at the beginning to create a safe environment for you to experience funny but also more confrontational situations.
Experiencing yourself on a big screen in a relatively safe environment is a unique chance to undergo this and learn, we think. Nothing bad
really can happen here because we all agreed on the principle that what happens here, stays here. But it is up to you to decide where you
draw the line. This is what the workshop is all about.
Naturally, not all participants will be convinced by this. In that case ask the remaining participants whether the opposing participants are
allowed to stay. Ask whether the remaining participants feel comfortable with others staying while they experience potentially vulnerable
moments. During the pilot sessions the remaining participants decided by means of voting that the opposing participants could not stay.
You should thus have an alternative program ready for those who will have to abort the workshop at this point.
The second session
Strangely enough it is a second transfer of knowledge (module 2.1) that turns the class room into a stage. At least, that’s what happened in
the pilots and tests so far. The topic of profiling is so new and at the same time so personal that participants will experience big emotions
that range from indignation and anger to disbelief and frustration.
The topic being new and personal causes participants to leave the concept of the class room behind them and to enter the stage. Since
many did not know about profiling before and are emotionally affected by the new knowledge, they automatically turn to the educator
for assistance. They want to know more and want to vent their opinions. They want to learn and be reassured.
This effect was not planned beforehand in the workshop but occurred over and over again. No matter whether participants were 11 or
18, the most common reaction was to turn to the educator for guidance.
Inspired by this effect an additional module (module 3.2) was created. It was added to the workshop after the first pilots. In that module
the display of the latest technologies that are both new to the participants and very personal will reinforce the effect of module 2.1.
The third session
The most personal moments of the workshop occur during module 3.1. In this module participants are confronted, one-by-one, in front
of all other participants, with their answers to the question: “Who are you until now?” (module 1.6)
This confrontation is based on sociologist Anthony Giddens’ (Modernity and self-identity, 1991) concept of identity: “A person’s identity
is not to be found in behavior, nor – important though this is – in the reactions of others, but it the capacity to keep a particular narrative
going.” This narrative is an “ongoing ‘story’ about the self” or “the individual’s biological narrative”. This is the narrative that is supposed
to appear as a reaction to the question: “Who are you until now?” It is up to you to decide in how far Giddens is right.
Another theoretical pillar of the module is the social-psychology theory of OSA: Objective Self-Awareness theory. In broad strokes this
theory postulates that looking into a mirror makes people anxious because the image of themselves they have in their minds is more
positive than the image the mirror actually reflects. This anxiety shows among the participants.
A technological component of the module, the use of the relatively new technology of Augmented Reality, steers the anxiety resulting
from seeing one’s self in the mirror or, in this module, on a computer screen and on a large screen, in a slightly different direction.
Augmented Reality, in the form used in this module, forces the participants to participate in the act of displaying the recording that was
made of them. They have to physically engage to make the display of the recording happening by holding a paper marker in front of a web
cam. The marker then sets their recording in motion. Without their cooperation their video would not be shown on the screen. Thus, the
participants become co-responsible for their own anxiety.
A later variety of OSA theory postulates that when a person performs a task that cannot have a satisfactory ending while looking at
themselves in the mirror, the anxiety is steered away from one’s self and directed towards the task. This would mean that participants
would reflect on the new technology (Augmented Reality) and its effects rather than on themselves.
In practice the outcome of the module is mixed. Participants are fascinated by Augmented Reality because for many it is a technology that
was unknown to them before and was not experienced before. The simple fact that the technology is new triggers positive emotions. On
the other hand, anxiety about undergoing the technology also is clearly visible. Many participants expressed a mixture of wonder and
reservation towards the technology after they had experienced themselves in Augmented Reality.
But, notwithstanding the claims of the later variety of OSA, almost all participants experience profound anxiety too about seeing
themselves displayed and hearing themselves answer the question. Some show that anxiety by hiding their face behind the Augmented
Reality marker (an A4 sheet of paper with the marker printed on it). Others duck down so that their face is not visible to the web cam and
only hold up the marker in front of the web cam. Still others undergo the experience in silence while a range of visible emotions – ranging
from sham to wonder -passes over their faces.
The expression of the vehemence of the anxiety experienced during their experience is tempered by the characteristics of the type of
Augmented Reality used in this module. Participants need to show the marker non-stop to the web cam and keep it relatively still. If they
would not show the marker, or shake the marker, their recording would no longer be shown on the screen and the attention of the other
participants would turn to them, to find out what is going on. This would heighten their anxiety even more.
In order to mitigate the anxiety we always take two steps with regard to this module. The first is to ask for applause by the other
participants after the participant in front of the others has finished showing their recording.
The second step is to allow participants to do a re-take of the recording. Steered by their anxiety and helped by the knowledge and the
experiences that they gained in the first two workshop sessions and supported by the empathy of the instructors, participants now take a
fully different approach towards the recording. They are on stage and want to give a controlled performance (module 3.3).
The recording session in module 3.3 is probably the moment in which the class room exclusively is experienced as a stage and in which you
really are seen as an educator. Armed with experience and knowledge participants will address you as a more experienced partner who
can support them being themselves. This is the moment in which educator and participants are having the closest contact.
This moment has been planned at the middle of the workshop sessions. While sessions one and two have built up to this moment,
sessions four and five will gradually transform the stage back into a class room again for this is the place where after the workshop normal
school life resumes.
Naturally remnants of the proximity during the workshop will linger on. It should be the choice of participants afterwards – now again in
their usual roles– to what extent they wish to keep the option of a partial return to the workshop situation open. Student participants
have that choice and you have that choice too. You could return at a later time to events or remarks that occurred during the workshop
and start a dialogue – but then you will need to temporarily return to your role as educator.
The fourth session
While in session three the stage experience is at its peak, the freest verbal expression of being on stage will occur during the playing of
the game (module 4.3). The game addresses the very private theme of self-presentation and does so by means of an Augmented Reality
game (for age group 11 to 14). For age group 15 to 18 the controversial theme of profiling is targeted by the game.
The effect of the Augmented Reality game is different than the effect of the AR app in module 3.1. This time only one person – possibly one
of the educators – is visible behind a web cam on the big screen. No pre-recorded material is shown, only a life stream of the person sitting
behind the computer. The streamed portrait of that person is about to be augmented. The augmentations are anything but personal.
They are colorful and neutral. The augmentations are not triggered by personal choices but by common choices of all the participants.
It is important that all participants participate, the more so in case it is one of the participants who is playing the game and whose face
is visible on a large screen. The more other participants participate, the more the game is a common venture and not a personal quest.
The new technology with its colorful augmentations used in this session will evoke great openness among at least a part of the participants.
The game itself already has this effect, as was observed every time during the pilots and test sessions. But it being played in this point of
the workshop, in which the class room really is a stage, enlarges the effect.
Quite a few out of the ordinary events took place during the pilots and test sessions while playing the game. In one group, in a strict
catholic school students (aged 12) started talking about their sexual fantasies and online sexual experiences. This was a peculiar situation
because – although they were not invited to talk explicitly about this theme – their statements were sincere and required a reaction. The
educators asked whether the children talked about these subjects with their parents or with their teachers. The children said that they
did’t but expressed confidence that nobody would mind what they did. What followed was an extremely delicate dialogue which had
every chance to derail - but fortunately didn’t.
At another occasion youngsters (around 16 years) who had dropped out of school and were involved in a criminal gang played the game
with us on an open day at a school. After having been tough and uncooperative for two-thirds of the game the leader suddenly opened
up and demanded to play along. At first his buddies were surprised but then, after a short pause, joined in too. For the remainder of the
game these gang adolescents transformed into happy youngsters – only to pick up their usual grim role after the game was over.
The fifth session
The evaluation module (5.1) is probably the most reflective module of the workshop. The module being placed nearly at the end of the
workshop forces the educators to keep a distance. The participants should themselves evaluate their recordings from modules 1.6 and
3.3 without any remark by the educators.
The sequence of the module is that all participants see their two recordings back to back. After the two recordings of the first participant
have been shown the recordings of the second participant are displayed.
The showing of the recordings should take place in silence. Allowing participants to communicate normally with each other would result
in loud shows of acted shame by the person on video at the time in order to divert the attention away from the big screen on which the
recordings are displayed.
It is also advisable to not allow for applauses in between. An atmosphere of silence stimulates serenity in reflection.
If, in extreme cases, a participant reacts very negatively to the recordings – this happed a few times among the hundreds of participants
of the pilots and test sessions – then it is advisable that you do comment upon the recordings and sincerely highlight positive aspects of
the recordings. If you would have no sincere comments to make, then refrain from any kind of commenting.
During the last two modules (5.2: questionnaire and 5.3: thanking and certificates) of session five, and thus of the workshop, the stage
definitively makes way for its former class room form.
In short, the workshop didactics patiently flow from everyday teaching didactics to educator didactics back to everyday teaching didactics
The description of the workshop didactics above was on the level of individual modules. The reason for this is that there are no detailed
templates for your behavior during the workshops. This is no exact science. Just as you have your specific brand of teacher didactics you
can have your specific brand of educator didactics. The only thing that has be shown in research is that interaction works in the class
room as well as some other basics from the formative assessment didactics. But even those were measured against success of students
in fulfilling curriculum-related goals, not in creating a “caring classroom”.
There are only a few ground rules:
• In general the workshop didactics entail that you are sincere. If you give someone a compliment, the compliment should be heart-
felt. The same goes for criticism.
• Your opinion is not more important that the opinions of others, neither is it less important. All present during the workshop are on
a par when it comes to expressing opinions, emotions or experiences. Your otherness in the workshop lies in trying to be a better
listener and trying to ask better questions. Interpretation and drawing conclusions should come later, after the workshop.
• Avoid inducing fear. The subjects are so new and the contexts in which the subject is situated are so dynamic that there are no
ultimate truths. Using fear to try and contain the otherness of the subject will work counterproductive. It will cause the stage to turn
back into a class and the spontaneous participants to turn into lethargic and bored students. Be as tolerant, open and empathetic
as you can.
• There is no obligation to provide private information. The rules stated at the beginning of the workshop apply to you too. Speak
about yourself only if you want to and feel comfortable with it. If you do not want to or do not feel comfortable with it, then do not
share anything private with the participants.
• Comply with the other rules too. Do not talk about what happened during the workshop to other teachers or your MT unless you
really must, because of a legal obligation for instance.
• Do not feel rushed to react. You might hear things that will surprise you, for better or worse, but you should take your time before
letting your reaction out. You could always come back to words spoken or situations happening at a later stage. An example of
this is the following. A teacher in a test workshop heard a 12-year old girl state at a certain point that she does not hook up with
strangers she met online anymore. For all adults present the statement of the girl was shocking. The teacher decided: I will return
to the subject quietly in the next few weeks. I want to create a quiet, private setting to empathetically talk with this girl about this
subject. I’m glad I heard it because of the workshop setting but I do not have to react to it within the workshop setting. It is valuable
information that I’ll take with me and to which I’ll return when the time is there.
Frequently heard questions
• How will I maintain discipline? Chaos and disorder will be the consequence of applying your so-called educator didactics. It’s utopist.
Yes, it is hard to let go. It is hard to give up at least a part of the professional distance that should ensure you discipline. So why even try it?
The main reason is that this is not your regular curriculum subject. The lessons learned in the workshop will not be tested in an exam. This
is a dialogue about a topic that is very personal for the workshop participants and very sensitive. Only when they trust you will they open
up and interact fully with you. And not every participant will do so.
You might wonder what will happen if you’ll return to the regular class setting after the workshop. Maybe the case of a Canadian police
officer is instructive here. This police officer started chatting with youngsters online whenever he could - in the evenings and in weekends,
for instance. He tried to be there for as many youngsters as he could to talk about uneventful everyday life situations. After a while
youngsters started to open up. If they would have a problem, they would contact him first. This might be the case for you too.
What will happen after the workshop is an increased trust between you and your students. This increased trust does not solve all discipline
issues in the class. New ones might even occur because of it. But the discipline issues you might be experiencing now will be diminished.
• How could I be on a par with my students? That’s like sitting on my knees at best or lying at worst.
You will not pretend to have the age of your students. You are not to giggle with them or to behave in any way like they do. You are you
who you are and they are who they are. No didactics will change that. What this is about is trying not to automatically assume that you
should know best or should transfer information even. This is not about you telling how it is but about you interacting on a par when it
comes to respect for the other’s opinions and experiences.
Students will not have read as much as you did and did not live as long as you did. But they have their unique own perspective. This
perspective is the crux. From time to time participant perspectives will trigger new insights in you. That’s what the workshop is all about
– to learn from each other – not as equals but as people on a par.
• There is nothing wrong with the didactics I use now. All this is just an undeserved attack on teachers like me who have been
passionate about teaching all their lives and now are seen as old-fashioned. Why should I change?
This workshop does not imply that your current didactics are wrong. It only offers an invitation to try something new. Educator didactics
are not to replace your teacher didactics but are there to enrich you as a teacher and a person. It is an invitation to connect to the students
in your class in a different way for a limited period of time
Your students live in a different reality. The workshop is a chance to come closer to that reality.
• It all sounds like this is the best thing since sliced bread. What is the catch?
Like with everything in life, there is a catch. An uncomfortable side effect to the workshop might occur: lingering tensions in the class
between groups or individuals or between students and teachers or the school MT might come to the surface because of the workshop.
This is what educator didactics in the class could provoke.
In one class room/ stage during the pilots a loud group of girls and a loud group of boys started to interact with each other ever more
aggressively. The educators were surprised but started to frame the situation by means of the concept of identity and self-presentation
(module 1.3). This intrigued both the louder youngsters and the youngsters that had kept quiet until that point.
The next step was that educators asked the loudest boy in the loud boys group to represent his group and the loudest girl to represent her
group. The boy and the girl then started negotiating, being backed up by the other group members. The first idea that popped up was to
start changing roles. The girls would start behaving as the boys did in their perception and the other way around. After some deliberation
the idea was dismissed as being too dangerous because all might take offense when being stereotyped by the other group. A second
idea was to change clothes between the groups but this was swiftly rejected as unpractical. Then a third solution surfaced: to mix the
groups physically in the class room. Loud boys would sit among loud girls and vice versa. This solution was implemented at once. While
the educators only facilitated the dialogue, students themselves took a big step in overcoming their tensions.
Afterwards the class regular teachers present said to be utterly surprised by the whole event. They had known about the tensions but did
not know how to deal with them. They were amazed that youngsters themselves took steps to start solving their problems.
In another class only half of the students returned to the workshop after session one to join the educators for session two. At the time of
session two the weather was gorgeous. It happened to be one of the first lovely spring days of the year. As a result about twelve students
choose freedom over the workshop.
This incident embarrassed the mentor teacher and the school director a lot and hard words were spoken.
During session three all youngsters were present again and one class representative even offered flowers and chocolates to apologize to
the educators in the name of the class. This normally would have looked like a forced event but many youngsters sat in the class room in
a pose of shame with tears welling up in their eyes.
Many students told the educators that they had started to reflect themselves, before the talks with the mentor teacher and the director.
They felt that they had senselessly taken off from school, not because they didn’t like the workshop but because they didn’t like school
and this was an easy way to show it. They felt school discipline was too tight and that they should escape whenever they could. Already
during the evening after the great escape they had started chatting amongst each other on Facebook about what they had done. They
had come to the same conclusion as the mentor teacher and the director, namely that they had acted wrong. But they differed in opinion
to why it was wrong. Many students had decided it was not wrong because they had breached school discipline but rather because they
were given a sincere chance to enter a dialogue and they had just seized the opportunity and had acted on automatic impulse.
• Why should I conduct the workshop then if tensions can come to the surface all of a sudden?
This decision is up to you. You should have your own intrinsic motivation. Nothing anyone can say or type can convince you. Only you can
decide whether you want it yourself, for reasons that are known to you only.
Lastly, it is worthwhile to provide some practical didactical pointers:
• Never organize more than three workshop sessions in a row during one day – one or two in a row is ideal
• Never organize workshop sessions on a Friday afternoon. The best time for the sessions is at the start of the day before the other
lessons start. The transition from class room to stage then is smaller – the youngsters arrive freshly from their homes and are not yet
in a class room mode. A less ideal solution would be to organize the workshop sessions at the end of the day. The mind of youngsters
then already is wondering off towards their private lives beyond school. Still, the transition to a stage is easier to make. On the other
hand, the promise of free time at hand does distract students – especially on Friday afternoons as was mentioned.
• Have MT support and backup to fall back upon in case of a serious problem occurring during the workshop.
• Have professional therapist backup to fall back upon them in case of the emergence of serious psychological stresses.
• Work with a trusted colleague as your second educator. It is important that you do not have the same opinions all the time and do
not back each other up by default. It is important to have individual adult voices present during the workshop rather than having
adult solidarity on display.
• Bauman, Zygmunt. 2005. Liquid Life.
• Goleman, Daniel. 2014. The triple focus.
• William, Dylan. 1998. Inside the black box.
• Wiliam, Dylan. 2009. Assessment for learning: why, what and how.
• Wiliam, Dylan. 2011. Embedded Formative Assessment.
The purpose of module 1.1 in the curriculum is to introduce the instructors and the workshop to the youngsters aged 11 to 18 who
participate in the workshop.
For all students: 5 minutes.
• Having read the didactics section in this book.
When the workshops begin you enter the stage. You are no longer a teacher, you are an instructor.
In the introduction you introduce yourself – although the students most probably already know you – and your second instructor. By
adding a hobby from your personal life or another detail that students are not aware of, you make clear from the outset that different
rules, as described in the didactics section, apply during the workshop.
INSTRUCTORS WELCOME ALL
The purpose of module 1.2 in the curriculum is to ask youngsters aged 11 to 18 to perform their first self-presentation.
For all students: 10 minutes.
You will probably find that the first participant in line will need some time to formulate their name and an additional sentence. The reason
for this is that there is no frame yet available to adhere to. They have to define themselves what is expected from them – their role – from
You will probably find that the second participant in line will gladly use the frame created by the first participant and will answer quickly.
For instance, if the first participant chose to add only their age to their name, most probably the second participant will do likewise.
As a matter of fact, probably most participants will use the same frame as created by the first participant. After some time this can become
hilarious when for instance all state their name and add “student”. Do not intervene; let all participants introduce themselves in any way
they want, even if this looks as an ironic copying of the reply from the participants before them.
If most participants did not follow the pattern as laid down by the first participant, you could tell the participants that they all have
interpreted this task individually. Basically, they defined individually what is expected from them and how they would respond to these
expectations. You can then explain that they were defining their roles individually.
If most participants do follow the framing of the first participant, you could explain that this is how roles come to being. The first has the
hard task of understanding what is expected from them and how to react to a situation and then many others simple accept this framing
and conform to it.
In both cases your reflection is an element to refer back to when explaining the theory of constructing self-presentations in module 1.3.
After you and your second instructor have introduced yourselves it is time that the participants perform their first act of self-presentation
by introducing themselves too, one-by-one. Please explain that you’d like to hear from the participants their name and one sentence
about themselves. Do not specify what they should say in this one sentence. Only specify who starts first and who will speak next.
The purpose of module 1.3 in the curriculum is to introduce youngsters aged 11 to 18 to concepts associated with the social construction
For students aged 11-14: 15 minutes maximum;
For students aged 15-18: 30 minutes maximum.
We found that those are the maximum time periods in which students within that particular age group are able to concentrate on theory.
Age specific advice
Whereas students aged 15 to 18 can handle the following order of first encountering theory – this module – and then discuss Selfies as
illustrations of this theory (module 1.4), for students in age group 11 to 14 the reverse order is preferable: from examples to theory. For
that group it is advised to first implement module 1.4 and only then this module.
For students aged 11 to 14 refer back when relevant to the Selfies in module 1.4 and the task results of module 1.4 to illustrate the theory.
• Download Presentation 1.3;
• Have a PC/ laptop with an app to display presentations prepared;
• Have a projector/ digiboard connected to the PC/ laptop prepared.
In this section, we will explain to you how you can use the teaching materials provided in this module.
One of the goals of the Dynamic Identity project is to engage children and youngsters in a discussion about self-presentation, about who
they are, and how they perceive themselves. Talking about self-presentation is far from easy. It is a vague, diffuse, wide-ranging and
complex topic. In order for students to know how to constructively and efficiently talk about their identities, we must provide them with
a ‘shared lingo’, to teach them a common language, a narrative on self-presentation. In this module you’ll find the building blocks for this
In the sections below we provide you with a short text that you can use to get all students ‘on the same page’ in your class on self-
presentation. It builds on scientific theories on self-presentation from various fields, but with a special focus on social science. Key
terms that you can teach your students, and use in your discussions with them later on, are marked bold. We’ve attempted to write the
text in the following sections in an accessible, easy-to-read fashion, so that the ideas presented can easily be explained to children and
Here’s a summary of the main ideas:
1. Self-presentation is a very broad concept that has been studied in many different sciences. Two broad perspectives on self-
presentation are presented to introduce the topic: (a) a social perspective on self-presentation and (b) a biological perspective on
a) In psychology and the social sciences self-presentation is often perceived as the result of an individual’s upbringing and of the social
environments in which (s)he operates. Self-presentation is therefore seen as something over which individuals have a certain level
of control, and as malleable, as something they can change (to a certain degree), should they wish to do so.
b) In contrast, in biology and neuroscience self-presentation is often perceived as something that is innate, that is the result of
our genetic makeup and the wiring of our brain. On this view, self-presentation is often equated with (inborn) character, and,
consequently, considered to be something over which we have little control and that we cannot really change.
2. In reality, of course, self-presentation is a mixture of the two: both our innate characteristics and the environment in which we grow
up and live shape who we are and how we see ourselves.
3. In this curriculum we focus on the social side of self-presentation, since this is the more malleable side.
4. One could argue that our social identities consist of a set of roles that each and everyone of us plays throughout our everyday lives.
For example, we play the role of a ‘professional’ (let’s say a teacher) when at work, and the role of a mother, father or spouse when
at home. In each of these roles we show different sides of ourselves. Our (social) identities are the sum of all of these social roles
that we play.
5. How do our social identities come about? They are constructed through a cyclical, continuous process, in which we assume roles,
express them in front of others (‘playing’ a role), and, over time, come to internalise them as parts of how we see ourselves. We
experience these roles as part of ourselves.
6. When we express our identities in front of others, we attempt to generate a favourable impression.
7. But we don’t have full control over the impression we convey. This is because when we assume certain roles in front of others, ‘give’
and ‘give off’ information. On the one hand, we consciously, actively present others with information about ourselves (‘giving’), but
on the other hand all sorts of unintended, unconscious information seeps through (‘giving off’). At times the signals that we give off
may improve the impression we’re trying to leave behind, but at times they may also undermine it.
8. All of this applies not only to our interactions with others in the offline world, but also to the internet
Self-presentation: given or made?
‘Who are you?’ We ask other people this question when we first encounter them, in order to find out information about the other person:
what their name is, where they come from, what their hobbies or occupation is, and so on and so forth. But sometimes we also pose this
question to ourselves: we wonder who we are, what we stand for, what our values are, and what we should do, in light of how we perceive
ourselves. We engage in what’s called ‘self-reflection’: thinking about who we currently are, how we’ve come to be who we are, whether
we like the person that we are, and what we’d like to change about ourselves, if anything.
There are many different fields in science that have investigated the topic of self-presentation. Psychologists and sociologists conduct
research into the social and mental aspects of self-reflection and self-perception, asking questions such as: how do people view and value
themselves? How does an individual family background, and the home they grown up in, play a role in the way they see themselves? How
do social groups, for example groups of friends of a child’s larger family, have an influence on the child’s self-presentation?
Biologists and neuroscientists conduct research into the biological underpinnings of who we are. They ask questions such as: is character
inborn, or is it the result of upbringing? What is the role of various chemicals in our brains in the way we present ourselves and the way we
behave? What is the effect of the makeup of our brains on our identities? And what is the effect of our genetic makeup on who we are? If
chemicals and genes play a central role in making us into who we are, do we, as individuals, have control over our identities?
While psychologists and sociologists thus focus strongly on the idea that our identities are the result of the context in which we live, and
can be shaped to a large degree by our upbringing and our social circle, biologists and neuroscientists focus on the physical underpinnings
of self-presentation, on the bodily/biological aspects of this phenomenon.
These two different points of focus lead to two very different ideas about what self-presentation is: while psychologists and social
scientists view self-presentation as something that is changeable and over which individuals have (a measure of) control, biologists and
neuroscientists argue that self-presentation is a given, something that is defined before our births in the genetic makeup of our bodies,
and hence something that we cannot change.
During the twentieth century there was a big debate between these two scientific perspectives on self-presentation that has come to
be known as the ‘nature – nurture debate’. The debate was about the question whether self-presentation was the result of our biology
(‘nature’), or of our upbringing (‘nurture’).
The answer, of course, is that self-presentation is the result of both. We are shaped by our genes, by our biological bodies, by our inborn
character. These are a given, we are born with them and they make us who we are – to some degree. At the same time, of course, we are
also shaped by our social environment, by the families we grow up in, by the social rules, norms, values and etiquette that these families
teach us. And we’re also influenced by our friends, by the social networks we engage with.
Self-presentation, therefore, is the sum of our physical and our social selves.
Having said that, as this explanation shows, it is only the social parts of ourselves that we can change, that is under our control. This
is why oftentimes, when we ask ourselves the question ‘who am I?’, we focus on that part, rather than on our inborn character or our
genetic makeup. We can explain who we are by referring to our genes, by pointing out character traits or bodily features that we share, for
example, with our parent (‘I’ve got my mother’s blue eyes’; ‘I’m very patient, just like my dad’ etc.), but these are not things we can easily
change. Instead, as pointed out at the beginning, when we talk about who we are we often refer to the way we see ourselves in relation
to our social group (family, friends), and we talk about the things we would like to change about ourselves. We focus, therefore, on the
social aspects of self-presentation. The social, changeable side of our identities will also be central to this curriculum.
The self-presentation circle
How do we come to have an self-presentation? As we’ve seen, in part our self-presentation is something that we’re born with. It’s the
result of our biology, of our genes, of the way our brain is shaped and the way it functions, of the chemicals it releases and the connections
it makes. But in part our self-presentation is also something that is created, that emerges over time as we grow older, and changes
throughout our lives.
Especially when we are young our identities are developing rapidly. We experiment with who we are, and who we want to be, and change
our personalities accordingly. Developing and experimenting with identities is a central element of growing from childhood into maturity.
How does that work in practice? One way to understand this is to think of your self-presentation as a set of roles which you play in your
everyday life, depending on the context in which you find yourself. Each and everyone of us conducts a number of different roles each day,
depending on the social situation that we find ourselves in. For example, you play the role of ‘students’ during their hours at school. You
know the social rules that apply when you are at school, and you adjust your behaviour to meet them. You show certain parts of yourself
at school, but maybe not others. When you go home after school, and spend time with your family, you show other parts of yourself.
You play a different ‘role’, that of a daughter or a son, or of a sister or brother. When you spend time hanging out with your friends you
show yet a different side of yourself. In summary, depending on where you are and who else is there, each and every one of us constantly
decides which role to play, which sides of ourselves to show, and which to hide. Most of the time, of course, we are not even aware of
the fact that we do so.
How does all this ‘role-playing’ relate to your self-presentation? Your self-presentation is the result of all of this role-playing. Your self-
presentation is constructed (to some degree, as we’ve seen), in relation to all of the social roles you play in your everyday life. This comes
about in three steps that form a continuous circle: assume, express, experience.
Illustration 1.3.1: The cycle of constructing an self-presentation.
To see how this works, let’s look at an example. Alice is getting ready to go to her new school: her very fist day at high school. She’s nervous
about going to such a big school and getting into a new class. What is everyone going to think of her? How should she behave? She’s no
longer a kid in elementary school... She’s supposed to be a teenager now... But that’s a new role for her.
Alice must assume a new role, being a ‘high school student’. On her first day, she doesn’t feel confident in that role yet. She must learn
the social code that goes with that role. And she’s afraid she will stand out, that everyone will know she doesn’t know how to fit in yet at
this new school. Nevertheless, Alice goes to school and presents the best possible picture of herself that she can. She attempts to create
a favourable impression of herself, so that her new classmates will come to like her, and so that everyone thinks she’s comfortable playing
this role. She expresses herself as she thinks a high school student would, showing certain sides of herself while hiding others, and thus
plays the role of a ‘high school student’. While doing so, Alice notices that playing this role actually works. The other kids in her class seem
to believe her role-playing, they respond positively to what she says and does, and she soon makes a couple of friends. The first couple of
weeks playing the role of a high school student is still a little difficult for Alice. She needs to get used to it, and isn’t quite comfortable with
it just yet. But as time goes by this changes: Alice now experiences herself as a high school student. She doesn’t feel nervous anymore,
and she doesn’t feel like she’s playing a role. She is a high school student, and displays this persona effortlessly whenever she goes to
school. What started out as a role that Alice assumed has become a part of herself, or her self-presentation, through the expression of
this role over a period of time.
This cycle of assuming a role, expressing it in front of others, and then coming to experience oneself as a person with a certain self-
presentation, is lifelong. Whenever any one of us encounters a new situation, in which we have to interact with strangers and find a novel
role to play, this is the cycle we go through.
Between the lines
As we’ve seen one way to understand ‘who we are’ is to look at the roles we play in the different contexts of our everyday lives. In each of
these contexts there are different people that we interact with – some of whom we know intimately and are very close with, while others
are less familiar. In each situation we show different sides of ourselves. We engage in what’s known as ‘impression management’: we
attempt to present favourable impressions of ourselves in front of others (whatever we may define as ‘favourable’!). Moreover, we also
attempt to present the same, or a very similar, image to the same people every time we see them. If we would not do that, our friends,
for example, would be very surprised to see that we’d be a completely different person from the day before, and that would make being
(and remaining) friends quite difficult. So we attempt to present a picture that remains similar over time. (This doesn’t mean, of course,
that we cannot change at all! Nor does it mean that we cannot change aspects of ourselves, for example changing our clothing style or
dying our hair a different colour). But as self-presentation scholars call it, it is important that we ‘maintain face’ before the different social
groups (‘audiences’) that we encounter in our everyday lives.
This means that we must also minimize the risk that each social group will see things about us that may harm the image we’re trying to
present. For example, if Alice is trying to convince her new high school friends that she knows very well how to be a cool, suave high school
student, it would be very damaging to her reputation if her mother showed up during the lunch break to bring her her scruffy old teddy
bear (which she secretly still sleeps with at night). Similarly, it would be embarrassing to Alice if she accidentally let slip a comment about
liking a tv series that is deemed childish by the rest of her class. Alice must therefore try to keep the impression that others have of her
as favourable and consistent as she can.
However, unfortunately none of us has full control over the impressions we give others. No matter how hard we try to present a certain
picture of ourselves in front of others, sometimes the ‘audience’ can still read information between the lines that does not match the
image we’re trying to convey, or that even contradicts and undermines that image.
To see how this works, we need to make a distinction between giving information and giving off information.
When we play a role in front of others we ‘give’ them information: we try to actively influence how people see us by sharing a certain
image of ourselves. We do so, for example, by saying certain things, using gestures, and using facial expressions. But at the same time,
we also ‘give off’ information: we share all sorts of information between the lines, for example through our pose or tone of voice. This
information is shared without our conscious intention, and oftentimes we’re not even aware of the message we share this way.
Sometimes the information that we give off, for example through our body language, improves the image you are attempting to portray.
But sometimes this information may undermine or contradict the image we are aiming to get across. For example, when a teacher asks
Alice to answer a question in class, she may attempt to act self-assured and composed, but her trembling hands and shaky voice may
unintentionally reveal that she is nervous.
Any role-playing, any self-presentation expression before an audience has both elements: we actively provide others with information
about ourselves (‘giving’), but at the same time we also release information about ourselves (‘giving off’), and this second kind of
information may be as telling as the first.
Self-presentation and the internet
Children and teenagers use the internet for many different purposes, but one of them is to express, and potentially experiment with, their
self-presentation. They use social network sites such as Facebook, online role playing games such as World of Warcraft, and social media
such as Twitter. And through these media children and teenagers can connect with their friends, interact with them, share ideas, images
and movie clips.
The ideas we’ve presented above also apply to online contexts in which youngsters connect with others to present their ‘virtual selves’.
On the internet, on online worlds and on social networks children and teenagers also engage in ‘impression management’: they attempt
to create as favourable an image of themselves as possible. They may post their prettiest pictures of themselves, or even use Photoshop
to brush them up a little, and often will do their best to show their audience how interesting, fun and happy their lives are. Social network
sites attempt to help youngsters convey positive information about ourselves, for example by showing the world how many friends they
have (‘look at how popular I am’), enabling youngsters to ‘check in’ (‘look at all the fun stuff I’m doing’), and letting them tag pictures and
messages (‘look at me and my friends spending time together’).
In terms of self-presentation, one can say that social media enable children and teenagers to ‘give’ information about themselves, to
actively share an image of themselves online. But at the same time, it is not hard to see that all sorts of unintentional information (‘giving
off’) may also seep through when youngsters present themselves online. If a child’s ‘friend-counter’ remains stuck on a very low number
(‘this person has no friends’) or, alternatively, skyrockets to a huge number (‘this person is a so-called ‘Facebook-slut’ because (s)he
befriends anyone who asks’), the unintended message is that this child has difficulties finding or maintaining (real) friendships.
As we will see later on in the curriculum this is not the only way in which self-presentation information is ‘given off’ in online contexts. As
we will see there, ‘profiling’ also makes extensive use of information that is ‘given off’, which in turn may have significant consequences
for a user’s online self-presentation.
The purpose of the current module 1.4 in the curriculum is to discuss self-presentation concretely with youngsters aged 11 to 18.
For students aged 11-14: 35 minutes;
For students aged 15-18: 20 minutes.
Age specific advice
For students in age group 11 to 14 it is preferable to first implement this module and only then module 1.3 – see module 1.3.
Since for age group 11 to 14 Selfies are the first introduction to the concept of self-narration it is advisable to transfer a specific part of
the theory of module 1.3 to this module: the difference between “giving information” and “giving off” information. This difference (see
module 1.3) can be illustrated by pointing at the context within which the main person in the Selfies finds themselves that either is or is
not in line with the information apparently given by the person. An example will clarify this. The picture that is to be shown as the last
slide of the presentation you will create (http://likes.com/media/girl-selfie-photo-fails?page=2) shows a woman who looks as if she wants
to be seen as sexy (given information) but whose child is visible at the background, as well as a messy surrounding (information given off).
In this case the two types of information clearly collide.
For students aged 15 to 18 refer back to the theory of module 1.3 where relevant when discussing the Selfies in this module.
• Create a Selfie presentation – as described below;
• Download and print Task 1.4; there should be at least one copy for each participant available during the module; (age group 11-14);
• Participants need to have material to draw (age group 11-14);
• Participants need to have laptops with Internet connection (age group 15-18);
• Have a PC/ laptop with an app to display presentations prepared;
• Have a projector/ digiboard connected to the PC/ laptop prepared.
Selfies are not just about us taking a picture of ourselves. If we look just at the self-portraits in the pictures hardly any Selfie is interesting.
Selfies become interesting when they are about us within a context. They show us with whom or with what we want to associate
SELFIES AS SELF-PRESENTATION
Selfies are a blend of us and our selected surroundings. These surroundings – that is: everything that is visible on the picture other than
us – reflect upon us. But how?
In Selfies we both “give” information – we selected the surroundings – but we also “give off” information: the information we unconsciously
share. How much of what we share around us is conscious?
Selfies are chosen as a topic because youngsters can easily relate to this form of self-presentation.
Teacher preparation - presentation
Create a Selfie presentation. First select Selfies from the Internet to use in the presentation, for instance:
• Selfies at toilets (continuous trend): https://www.google.pl/search?q=selfies+at+heights&es_
• Selfies at heights (2014/ 2015 trend): https://www.google.pl/search?q=selfies+at+heights&es_
• Selfies with homeless people (2014 trend): https://www.google.pl/search?q=selfies+at+heights&es_
• Selfies at serious places (continuous trend): http://selfiesatseriousplaces.tumblr.com/
o In Auschwitz: https://www.google.pl/search?q=selfies+at+heights&es_
o At holocaust memorial site in Berlin: https://www.google.pl/search?q=selfies+at+heights&es_
• Selfies at funerals (continuous trend): https://www.google.pl/search?q=selfies+at+heights&es_
AUoAQ#tbm=isch&q=selfies+at+funerals&imgdii=_ and: http://selfiesatfunerals.tumblr.com/
• Context Selfies
o MH17: http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/225040/selfie-taken-by-mom-and-son-on-doomed-malaysia-airlines-plane/
o Monkey: http://www.lostateminor.com/2014/08/07/famous-monkey-selfie-time-now-subject-legal-battle-wikipedia/
• Selfie gone wrong: http://likes.com/media/girl-selfie-photo-fails?page=2
Then use the selected images as the basis for your presentation.
Create this presentation BEFORE the module starts.