Creating a positive digital footprint is a crucial issue for everyone in the 21 st century. It is extremely important for our teachers and students and schools must take responsibility for the education of our students in this vital area. This presentation aims to remind schools of their responsibilities in this regard, provide some strategies to reflect on and encourage educators and parents to work with their students/children to give them the skills to create online identities they can be proud of.
A digital footprint is all the evidence that exists about a person online. It is like a giant filing cabinet, holding multiple pieces of information about a person and its accumulation begins before birth and often ends after death in the form of a Facebook memorial. It is an online portfolio of who we are, what we do, and by association, what we know. (Richardson,2008) It can be both passive, information that we fill in on a form such as name, age, date of birth or it can be active, posting your personal thoughts and feelings in a blog or on a Facebook wall or when you or friends or family post photos online. The video , Digital Dossier, produced by Digital Natives, is an excellent overview of this concept. In the digital world, it is clear that we are leaving trails of evidence wherever we go; our aim as educators is to help and guide our students to be aware of the trails that they are leaving, and further to challenge them to create digital footprints that say something positive about themselves. In a digital world, the question is not whether you will leave a mark. The question is, &quot;What kind of mark are you leaving?&quot; (Sheehy and Mestad,2009)
Our digital footprint should comprise positive, healthy references to our life and our world, samples of our work and creative ideas…it should be able to enhance any CV or portfolio that we present for job interviews. It is also vital that students recognise and understand the implications of having a negative digital footprint. Not only can it lose you jobs, scholarships and a place at school but more importantly , it can destroy your reputation , your friendships, trust from your family. It is important that we begin to build a positive digital footprint from the moment we first can! Karl Fisch(2009) suggests that students create and maintain a B-D (Birth-Death) digital footprint/resume/portfolio. The irony is that many school policies suppress student identity and therefore such a viewpoint is contentious but rapidly gaining support. Richardson (2008) Nielson( 2011), Whitby(2011) “We shouldn’t just be talking to students about not putting potentially compromising stuff out there, but that they should also be building a positive digital footprint .” Fisch(2009)
Having a positive digital footprint reflects thought, care, creativity and guidance. Digital citizenship is about ”using your online presence to grow and shape your world in a safe, creative way, and inspiring others to do the same.” Digizen(2007) Without guidance, young children and teens are unaware of the implications and consequences of a digital footprint. We must educate them and their parents to understand the issues and we must give them the tools to manage it.
Students must learn to live in the digital world and follow its norms and rules. It doesn’t just happen naturally! Students need to be given a clear understanding of the behaviour that is required of them to be members of the digital society. (Ribble, 2007) They must also be given there the freedom to learn by trial and error in a safe environment. We have a responsibility to teach them how to be a safe digital citizen and to leave safe and responsible tracks as they go. ( Churches,2011) Teachers need to be aware of the standards and policies that are in place to protect our students. ISTE’s international technology standards(2008) are a place to start both for students and teachers. They advocate personal responsibility, positive attitude and leadership as well as an understanding of legal and ethical behaviour. In addition, students need to bring a “sense of moral and ethical responsibility to the online spaces in which they share and consume information” (Commonsense Media, 2010) One of our main responsibilities as educators is to help develop critical thinking. Students need to make wise decisions about how to present themselves online and how exactly they can do that positively.
Our schools have to play a crucial educative role in helping our kids learn about online digital identity. It is our responsibility and to fail in this area is failing our students, their parents and ourselves. First and foremost if we as educators neglect this important task, nobody will do it! There is increasing evidence that we must support students to take responsibility for themselves when using new digital technologies.(Ofsted,2010). Schools that allow students access to social networking sites and other often blocked school sites have a better knowledge and understanding of how to stay safe online. (Hague and Peyton,2011) Schools that allow their students to develop responsibility in the areas of e-safety are helping their students to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to protect themselves and therefore the steps to create positive digital footprints.(Byron,2009) . .
“Our teachers have to be co-learners in this process, modelling their own use of connections and networks and understanding the practical pedagogical implications of these technologies and online social learning spaces.” Will Richardson,2008, How do we teach children to do anything? We must model establishing a positive digital footprint. Students must be able to see exactly what a digital footprint is and we are in a position to model creative, positive , interesting and worthwhile online contributions. Cathy Oxley in the 2010 conference talked about our duty of care as educators. We must be active and vigilant in providing online models. We need to… Begin to establish our digital footprint long before we step foot in a classroom. Use our real names online. Let students see that responsible, safe postings under your real name can be worthwhile and valuable to others. Teach them not to reveal sensitive personal information. Ensure that your own personal digital footprint is positive by actively investigating your digital footprint. Encourage and teach students to do the same. Model responsible blogging , social networking, commenting and photo sharing ( Nielson 2008) “ Managing your digital footprint starts with asking questions like: Who are you? What do you stand for? What are your passions and beliefs? The important lesson with managing your digital footprint is that everything we do online should represent who we are and what we stand for and we must have the knowledge that this representation will stick with us potentially forever. Nielson (2010)
Parents have a crucial role to play in helping their child establish positive digital footprints and again, this is an area that should be started very young! 1.We need to educate parents by providing information about this issue and introducing them to helpful websites. This could be conveyed through school newsletters, school websites, community noticeboards, local media. 2. We need to provide learning opportunities for parents – school seminars, community presentations, public library tutorials etc 3.We need to suggest strategies to help parents work through these issues . Parents need to be involved and interested with their children and be a crucial link in the guidance needed for creating positive digital footprints. “What kids really need from their parents, isn't a tutorial on how to cross-post between Facebook and Twitter. It's the same, big-picture, Golden Rule group of lessons that good parents have always tried to provide. “ (Johnson,2011)
“.. the single biggest problem facing education today is that our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.” (Prensky 2001) We must speak the language of the students that we teach and we must use digital tools to get the message across. We need to be proactive and multimodal in our approach. We need to engage our students and help them to see the relevance of a positive digital footprint. Some excellent and innovative ideas from the literature include: Using Facebook Status Clouds as a means for getting students to reflect on their digital footprint via their status updates in a year. An excellent springboard for teachers and parents to perhaps get students thinking and talking. (Nielsen,2009) Watching thought provoking videos with them to grab their attention “Daniel Pink’s(2011) video “What’s your sentence?” is another thought provoking way to encourage students to think positively and actively consider what they want from life and how they can mould and create digital footprints which reflect this. Incorporate the many and varied websites and activities and digital tools as well as personal discussions into classroom activities across the curriculum Giving students a libguide filled with outstanding digital resources Brisbane Grammar’s excellent libguide titled Watchful, Wary and Wise - Be Smart Online (is engaging and provides enough information for students to go beyond the page and find out more.
Managing a digital footprint to reflect an image that you are trying to create and build is complex. It is a skill that needs to be developed over time. Parents have a role to play in teaching students about life and how to behave online but teachers and schools have a massive responsibility to help students be responsible and creative digital citizens. Issues such a digital permanence, building an digital footprint, relevance and suitability, security of online postings are crucial topics for school discussion and unit planning (Hague and Peyton,2011) . Everything must be age appropriate. It is essential that we teach about privacy settings for social network tools and incorporate digital literacy into teaching strategies across the curriculum. There are a multitude of websites that can be used to incorporate digital citizenship across the curriculum. A whole school, dedicated, age appropriate approach is necessary to help students grow into responsible digitally literate adults who have the skills, knowledge and confidence required to begin to create a digital footprint that they can be proud of. Creating a positive digital footprint is possible….with a little help!
REFERENCE LIST : ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) (2009), Your digital footprint , Retrieved from http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Teens/Tips%20and%20advice/Your%20digital%20footprint.aspx Brisbane Grammar school Library,( 2011), Watchful, Wary and Wise - Be Smart Online ,Retrieved from http://libguides.brisbanegrammar.com/content.php?pid=82845&sid=650822 Byron,T,(2008) Safer children in a digital world , retrieved from https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/DCSF-00334-2008 report… Childnet International,(2007),In Why is Digital Education important?, Retrieved from http://old.digizen.org/about/ Churches,A.(2011) In The digitalcitizen Retrieved from http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/The+Digital+Citizen Common Sense Media,(2011), Privacy and digital footprints , Retrieved from http://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/digital-citizenship/Privacy_UnitOverview.pdf Digital Natives,(2008), Digital Dossier , retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79IYZVYIVLA&feature=player_embedded Fisch,K(2009), Student Display Names: I Was Wrong , Retrieved from http://thefischbowl.blogspot.com/2009/06/student-display-names-i-was-wrong.html Hague,C, and Payton.S,(2010), Digital Literacy across the curriculum .(A futurelab handbook) retrieved from www.futurelab.org.uk/ projects/digital-participation Honeycutt,K.(2010) Raising Digital kids , retrieved from http://mykidsturn.com/show/raising-digital-kids ISTE( International Society for Technology in Education)(2011) Standards ,Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers/nets-for-teachers-2008.aspx and for students Johnson,S.(2011), Parents tame the web , Retrieved from http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/4885419/Parents-tame-the-web Nielsen,L,(2008), Ideas for Making a Purposeful and Professional Digital Footprint ,Retrieved from http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2008/05/ideas-for-making-purposeful-and.html Nielsen,L.(2010) Help students manage their digital footprint and effectively participate in social media - 140 Character Conference ,Retrieved from http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2010/04/help-students-manage-their-digital.html Ofsted (2010). The Safe Use of New Technologies . Retrieved from www.ofsted.gov.uk/Ofsted-home/Publications-and-research/ Browse-all-by/Documents-by-type/Thematic-reports/The-safe-use-of-new-technologies Pink,D.(2011) What’s your sentence? ” .Retrieved from http://www.danpink.com/archives/2011/01/whats-your-sentence-the-video Prensky,M.(2001) Digital natives, Digital Immigrants, On the Horizon ,9(5) Ribble,M.(2007),The Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship. Digital Citizenship in Schools , International Society for Technology in Education, 13-37 Richardson,W,(2008) Footprints in the digital age, Educational Leadership , 66(3),16-19 , Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov08/vol66/num03/Footprints-in-the-Digital-Age.aspx Sheehy,G. and Mestad, T.(2009)In My footprint , Retrieved from http://myfootprintsd.com/index.html Whitby,T.(2011) World’s Simplest Online Safety Policy , Retrieved from http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/world%E2%80%99s-simplest-online-safety-policy/
Creating a positive digital footprint… with a little help! Catherine Ong ETL 523 Student No:11458476
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