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Beat The Rush; A Web Domain For Every Learner





...tomorrow's adults will need an online home that they control. They need an online home, a place where they tell the world who they are and what they've done, where they post their own work, or, at least, some of it. Dan Gillmor




The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when James Marshall struck gold at Sutter's Mill. A mix of good and bad, the "Forty-Niners" accelerated development of the western United States. 

At noon on April 22nd,1889, fifty thousand settlers charged into Oklahoma to each stake their claim of 160 acres of unassigned free land. The lack of civil authority invited thousands of immigrants, "Sooners," to stake out prime parcels in advance of the official Oklahoma Land Rush. Once again, a mixture of good and bad policy but the event forever impacted westward expansion in the United States.

Today, there is another rush to acquiring space and value, and it is occurring on the Internet. Those people not staking their claim could find themselves out in the cold wishing they would have registered an Internet domain name while they are inexpensive and readily available.

George Couros, in a recent post, says there are three things students should have before they leave high school; a personal learning network, a digital portfolio, and an About.me page. Although a bit incomplete, I am enthusiastically supportive of George's list. However, Audrey Watters stretched my thinking by recommending each student "own their own registered domain instead of relying on a third-party provider." It was her suggestion in the comments section of George's post that prompted me to register domain names for my sons using the recently introduced, Google Domains.

Will Richardson, during his ISTE 2012 Ignite presentation, "20 Bold Ideas For Change", recommended every student become well Googled by high school graduation. For approximately one dollar per month, a registered domain name will provide the opportunity for each student to pursue this worthy goal of creating a positive digital footprint.

Deep Thinking Opportunity:  At what point does the value of a positive digital footprint exceed the value of a high school or college diploma?


Here are several additional reasons why purchasing a domain name for every student provides substantially more, and longer lasting, value than purchasing iPads, Chromebooks, or Surface Tablets.

  1. As the world, and school, becomes increasingly more digital, where will students archive the mementos of their learning? Where will they share their stories?  A domain name, FirstnameLastname.com, can be their cloud-based, three-ring binder for displaying their learning and educational growth.
  2. Registering a domain name helps students establish and protect their online identities. Students are more likely to make sound decisions when they have invested thoughtfully, and shared transparently with an authentic audience.
  3. Whether providing residence for a blog, website, or digital portfolio, a domain name helps students display their competencies in an easy-to-find, personal way.
  4. Registering a domain name allows students to take ownership, and more importantly, responsibility for their name. The age of the paper resume has passed. A registered domain name allows recruiters to quickly find and evaluate what has been shared. For the learner, this raises the performance and accountability stakes in ways standardized tests can't.


"Don't leave it to Google to decide what people see when they search for you." - Harry Guinness


It's reasonably clear to see the social and economic value of owning a domain name. The traditional concepts of school and education need to be stretched, hammered, and shaped to allow a clearer vision of the educational value of every student building a digital presence grounded in their domain name. With the justification (why) spelled out, purchasing and establishing a personal domain name is fairly intuitive, particularly with a simple, one-click does it all product like Google Domains. The resources below will help explain how students can get started in establishing their digital presence.


I think schools and districts would find great educational value in purchasing domain names for all of their students. Do you agree? Does your school or district purchase domain names for your students? If so, I would enjoy hearing how it's working out. As always, your suggestions and questions are welcome in the comments section.

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photo credit: coin foliage via photopin (license)

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