Question: How can we best teach students about digital footprints? What are the most important things they should know?
ISTE Standard 5’s central theme is focused on digital citizenship, which encompasses safe use of technology, exhibiting a positive attitude toward technology, and leadership in digital citizenship (ISTE Standard 5). I chose to focus my attention on digital footprints because it is important that students are aware that their digital footprint can reveal personal information, be used by prospective employers or admission committees, and leaves a trail of the sites visited. When students know this information, they are in a better position to determine the way in which they want to portray themselves on the internet.
The article 10 Things Your Students Should Know About Their Digital Footprints (Digital Media in the Classroom, n.d.) outlines ten of the most important things students should consider when using social media. The article states, “many teens are unconcerned about the dangers of sharing personal information online” which is a huge concern of parents and teachers. The author begins the list by saying that colleges and potential employers search online to see who the candidate is, and often make decisions based on what they see. He also states that students can create profiles, but to leave out specific details about themselves. Finally, the author cites the quote, “the internet is forever” which posits that even if you delete an email, it truly hasn’t disappeared. Students need to be aware that their actions online can have serious implications on their future, and they need to make conscious decisions about the information they want to convey to the world.
The Teaching Channel posted a video that shows how one teacher educated her elementary students about digital safety and personal information in an interactive manner. The teacher begins by asking students what they may see on a classroom bulletin board and connects it to the things someone may see online. She goes on to tell students they are detectives and need to find out whether the information the characters are displaying keeps them safe or unsafe online. The activities are fun for the students, while discussing the importance of maintaining some privacy when creating online profiles. The video can be retrieved from: teachingchannel.org/videos/teaching-about-digital-footprints
Another way in which teachers can educate their students about digital footprints and safety is through analyzing online profiles. Teachers can find positive and negative examples of people who are using social media, and then have students determine which pieces of information are appropriate and which ones are divulging too much personal information. The goal is not to scare students, but rather to show them the impact that their digital footprint can have on their lives. Students need to be taught how to leave a positive digital footprint without compromising their safety.
Digital Media in the Classroom. (n.d.). 10 Things Your Students Should Know About Their Digital Footprints. Retrieved from: teachhub.com/10-things-your-students-should-know-about-their-digital-footprints
Teaching Channel. (n.d.). Follow the Digital Trail. Retrieved from: teachingchannel.org/videos/teaching-about-digital-footprints