Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Becoming a classroom advocate for positive digital footprints, Day #2

EdTechSandyK : has a great set of digital footprint resources on Diigo.

(This is a good library of resources to turn to when undertaking an approach towards digital footprints.)

In order to become an advocate for positive digital footprints, you must first know what creates a digital footprint and how to create a positive one for yourself.

So, what is a digital footprint? Well, it is forever. It is created by ourselves and others. And, it is developed by our activities online and our relationships with others. Unfortunately, it is rarely constructed by what we do in school. I believe school and positive growth should play the largest part in creating a digital footprint.

Scott Steinberg of AllThingsD has a great starting article on Why Digital Citizenship Must be Taught in Schools. In it, he argues that three out of every four middle and high school students own a cell phone, 36% of teachers say they have not received enough training on preparing students for a digital world, and 74% of students on social networks have had negative experiences online. And, most of the focus is on sensationalizing the danger of the Web. However, that focus has not improved teacher knowledge of digital citizenship, improved student experiences online, or stopped the spreading growth of technology. So, why not focus on the positive and educate teachers?

Teachers need to, first, discover their own digital tattoo by going to none other than Digital Tattoo. Here you can find quizzes to assess your knowledge of digital footprints. This is a great needs assessment to discover what teachers do and do not know about digital identities.

Another great starting block is the Digital Tattoo YouTube video which provides useful instruction on what a digital identity is.

Positive digital footprints stem from using the Web to create positive change. If you discover your digital footprint is not anything of substance, it is time to make a change. And, this is where teachers come in. Challenge your students to projects that inspire them to make a difference online. This will leave a positive footprint that will follow them throughout their lives. What better gift to give student than a positive identity? One such challenge, 25 Ways to Make a Difference, entices students and educators to make positive change. This site can be replicated or used verbatim in the classroom. Other sites that call on teachers and students to act as advocates for positive change include ePals.

In addition to calling on educators and students to be digital advocates, teachers must encourage students to write online in a positive, transforming fashion. Blogs, social networking, and other Web 2.0 tools do not have to leave a negative identity or be a negative experience if they are used for constructive purposes. Cool Cat Teacher discusses the power of student ownership on the web as helping to shape positive digital footprints.

And, if your stuck on ways to teach your students about digital footprints and how to positively shape them, check out 21 things for your students. Here you will find at least 21 activities and resources for the classroom. Scholastic also provides a good background article with activities for teachings on digital citizenship.

It's time to get started being an advocate!

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