Tuesday night’s debate was another great topic of rediscovery and careful thought and contemplation. Do I think about the safety and/or digital tattoo that I am placing on my students even when I have the proper permission from their parents? Do my student’s parents really understand their own child’s digital footprint? How can I teach effective and thought provoking digital citizenship for my students to ensure their personal awareness of their digital footprint including the digital tattoo they already have?
The consistent answers I continue to have after each debate are always, “I can do more!” This past school year I was focused on teaching from a Social Justice perspective after taking the Anti-Oppressive Education course in last year’s Summer Institute. I continued on with my classroom blog, student blogging, RazKids, IXL, etc. but was not focusing how I can integrate curriculum, hands on learning, technology and social justice.
In 2006-2009 I made photo albums on my school Macbook computer. I was quite proud of my ability to make the albums and had actually made and ordered a few albums on line for myself. Since I taught Grade 1 at the time, I wanted to send home a snapshot of each student’s Grade 1 year for their parents, families, and for each student to look back at from time to time. Of course, the idea of a digital footprint was not in my realm of understanding and I hadn’t joined any social media sights until Facebook in 2009. Looking back, I only printed the students pictures from my computer and printed them off on the printer. Due to funding, I could not order a photo album for each student but I could make them myself. In hind sight, there were hundreds of photos being used for a class set of photo albums. Had I been sending photos through iPhoto to make these albums, I would be responsible for leaving so called “cookie crumbs” of my student’s digital footprint, according to Tony Fish’s book, My Digital Footprint.
In his book My Digital Footprint, Tony Fish writes “digital footprints are the digital ‘cookie crumbs’ that we all leave when we use some form of digital service, application, appliance, object or device, or in some cases as we pass through or by, this happens regardless of whether we are actually cognizant of this.” 
When I look back on my digital footprint I feel kind of old for one thing. I started out with an email address that I hardly ever checked because I didn’t know what I was doing. I was being sent emails for work that I was unable to respond to. I moved on to so many aspects of my digital footprint (yahoo, google searches, gmail, Facebook, flip phone, iPhoto, Macbook, iPhone, online shopping, GPS, teacher planning, twitter, blogging, online technology classes, etc. etc.) that I have been in the dark about for most of this path. I do not remember exactly when I started my online footprint, but I do know that I can now look it up if I want. Someone else sure knows more about it than I do.
Danielle refers to Alec Couros’ Ted Talk video where he shares his views on the digital world stating that “digital media has changed our world”. Danielle states that, “He reminds us that when policies are put into place and teachers are educated, sharing can be a powerful and healthy learning experience for students. So what do we do?”
Digital media certainly has changed our world! As I was listing a few of my digital connections or so called “cookie crumbs,” I feel a tad bit overwhelmed and creeped out! I have left quite the digital trail over the years. As we discussed on Tuesday, and many of you have posted in your blogs, our Digital Dossier is here to stay! So working with it, rather than against it has to be the way to go.
I always appreciate hearing about Alec’s experiences as a technology educator due to the large digital footprint he has developed over the years. Having his identity stolen on more than one occasion actually made me feel more confident in continuing on and building my digital footprint because that is exactly what he continues to do. Rather than wanting to shut down any sign of his digital identity, he keeps moving on and educating educators!
I feel positive with the direction I will take my students towards understanding their own digital footprints and understanding their digital tattoos.
I am always going to remember, “From Knowledgable to Knowledge-able!”
Thanks to the amazing perspectives and information I have learned from ECI 830, I feel like a have a good place to start with my students for leading them in the direction of paving a safe and effective digital footprint. I look forward to helping my colleagues, and making more connections by building a stronger network of online educators and building my repertoire of resources.
Photo Credit: link
There are some great videos shared on this Digital Footprint website.
And a video to help understand our Digital Dossier.