Thursday, December 24, 2009

We MUST teach our students about "Digital Footprints"

Are our students online often?

Yesterday I polled my classes and found out that 98 percent of my students have a facebook account that they update daily, 80 percent have a twitter account that they check ON THEIR PHONES daily, and about 65 percent upload photos to some sort of page (either facebook or something else) weekly.   I asked them "what kinds of things do you discuss on these pages and what types of photos are you posting?"  They proceeded to explain that they talk to friends about "stupid stuff," they swear or use slang in almost every post, and the pictures are usually of them doing something stupid or "fun," as they put it, because that was was what people like to see.  The students I polled were in sixth grade...

Imagine if their "digital footprint" is starting out in this way, what will it be like when they are ready to join the real world?  Isn't it time for someone to take charge and teach our students exactly what they are doing wrong?  They do not understand the impact of how what they are doing right now at age 11 or 12 may have on them in the future depending on which road they choose to go digitally.  Our job as educators is to prepare them for their future... why are our schools not catching on to the importance of this simple concept.  We seem to be so bogged down with teaching to the standards, which are important as well, but we forget that no matter how good our students score on a test, it may come down to their digital footprint when it comes time for them to be hired into the workforce.  This video is a great simple explanation of some statistical information regarding the importance of our digital footprints.   Imagine if if employers are using this technology now to hire candidates, how much more impacting will it be in six years?  I feel it will be a tool all companies will be looking to when hiring new candidates for a job.  (Thank you to my PLN network for providing this video!)

Find more videos like this on The Educator's PLN

 It is time for educators to stand up and teach our kids about the benefits of technology and the importance of using it to their advantage...

Further Reading on this topic...

A great essay regarding "Digital Footprints" by Will Richardson...


  1. I just did Digital Footprints with grades 6, 7, 8. Some activities that brought about some great discussions:

    Digital Dossier

    S: (n) dossier
    (a collection of papers containing detailed information about a particular person or subject (usually a person's record))

    Watch the movie at:

    GRADE 6

    CyberPigs Adventures: or

    The CyberPigs play on their favourite Web site and encounter marketing ploys, spam and a close encounter with a not-too-friendly wolf.

    The purpose of the game is to teach kids how to spot online marketing strategies, protect their personal information and avoid online predators.

    GRADES 7 & 8

    Read the article:

    Online, your private life is searchable:,0,5663794.story

    Photos, addresses, family ties, court documents, details from MySpace profiles -- the moment information is published online, it can be copied and re-posted, and often is.

  2. Thanks for the information and links! I will check them out and def. Use some I am sure! Great job on the info.