Digital Footprint: How aware are your students?

Yesterday I participated in watching the first round of videos and presentations for the projects of the fifth (and final!) Coetail (Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy) course. Several of the participants in the American Embassy School Cohort worked on a massive Digital Citizenship project in the Middle School.

The school Curriculum Coordinator, Stacy Stevens, included a presentation on this project from her perspective.  She interviewed several Middle and High School students at AES asking the question “What is a Digital Footprint?”.  The Middle School has spent countless hours educating their students about how to manage digital citizenship and footprints. I was shocked that almost NONE of the students interviewed knew what a digital footprint was!

OllieBray CC-BY-NC-SA

OllieBray CC-BY-NC-SA

Were the lessons effective?  Do the students truly understand what a digital footprint is? Did we do our jobs of educating our students to help protect them and prepare them for an online life? What could have been done differently?

I suppose this is why so many of my cohorts worked on a Digital Citizenship project.  With students being so connected to the digital world, it is important they have control and understanding of their footprint, understand how to manage it and make wise decisions.

If this progressive, digitally savvy school’s students are having difficulty with their digital footprint, how are students at other schools handling and managing?  What is our role as newly graduated Coetailers (after tomorrow!) in helping to educate students about Digital Citizenship? If we end up in a school that isn’t as progressive and active at educating it’s students about their footprint, what responsibility do we have in developing digital education of the administration, faculty and students?

I am hoping that in whatever role I end up in, I can help lead schools develop digitally literate, aware, critical, and proficient students and staff.