What exactly was a digital footprint?…Did I have a digital footprint?
To be completely honest I just didn’t know! How was I supposed to find the answers to my questions?
Well, I decided that I needed to spend more time looking at a variety of different articles on what a digital footprint actually was. After I had spent some time reading through some recommended reading on the subject, I found an article by Steven Anderson. He suggested that you could find a more complete understanding of what your own digital footprint looked like by googling yourself to see what linked you to the internet. So my decision was made and I decided to take his advice and google myself…
I started by carrying out a google search using my full name (with middle name included) and discovered, to my amazement, that there were links to some of my class’s Prezi’s that children had previously uploaded; the Prezi’s were actually linked to a class account associated with one of my email addresses.
After that I decided to try another google search; this time I would complete a google search using only my first and last name.
I found this very blog on the second page I searched! I know this may seem like a very obvious and mundane thing but I was both surprised and proud that I had a presence within the vast entity that is the web. At last I was a genuine user and had joined the grid-sorry for the Tron reference but I thought it was apt!
So I did have a digital footprint! I don’t think it was a very large footprint-probably a mosquito sized footprint if I was to actually carry out a more extensive search. However, the most important factor was that I was truly happy that I had left an imprint on something that was used by billions of people.
And this got me thinking…If I was happy about my digital footprint, what would a student’s reaction be to having a piece of work, a blog, a prezi or any online creation accessible to billions of people? In the case of my year three students, it would be like they had suddenly been given a two week-all expenses paid-pass to Disneyland!
So what does all this mean?
It means that as educators and teachers we finally have an unbelievable opportunity to provide students with the most powerful means to student self-empowerment since teaching became a profession! I mean think about it – what do all children want, what do all teenagers want and what do all adults want? Simple – Recognition!
Everybody wants to be noticed and praised; even if it is only for a short time! It is a fundamental part of human nature! And what is true for adults is usually magnified for the younger generation. Therefore as educators and facilitators we have an obligation to take advantage of this fantastic medium we have been given access to. Students want to start leaving their footprints in the digital dirt as they start trekking across the Web’s Savannah! They want people to notice what they are doing. They want to build that connectivity that gives them recognition. This means that we have a responsibility to provide them with the tools and a guide for this journey!
You might liken it to another famous journey, only this time you might say – One small digital step for teaching. One giant digital step for learning!