Shaping My Digital Footprint

This week I have thought most about my own personal digital footprint.  I think this is where my footprint began.

msn memesource

I sneakily had an msn account and rushed home to chat with friends, before my parents would get home.  I wasn’t allowed to have an account, because they were worried about who I might talk to and what we might talk about.  Eventually I was caught.  Oh did I hear about how terrible of a choice I made.  Did I possibly know and understand the risks that I was taking by talking to my friends online?

If you could only imagine the conversations we had around facebook or text messaging?

I feel as though I grew up during the onset of this technological age.  I constantly had to justify my choices, and try to convince my parents I would use it wisely.   I know my parents wanted me to be safe and careful.  They wanted me to think about my actions.  They had genuine concerns and reasons for being protective.  However, by following their teachings/”warnings” I thought I was in a great place in regards to my online identity/footprint.   I had the same feelings towards my online identity as Carter expresses in his blog this week.  I have been cautious of protecting my digital footprint and limiting what there is to be “Googled” about my name. I felt a great deal of joy when I am not able to find myself when I am searched online.

A change in mindset!

This week I have spent countless hours reconsidering my per-conceived ideas about my online identity, as well as where to make change in my current teaching practice.

I want my to students understand and be aware of the risks and dangers of sharing, as Luke also recognizes in his post.  I also want student’s to be confident and knowledgeable about what they should share and what positive sharing is.  Apposed to sharing in ways in which might impact them currently or in their future.

Integrating curriculum

Janelle mentioned in her post this week that, “Digital citizenship has become a thorn in the sides of many educators and parents.”  I agree that we already have more outcomes to teach than seems feasible.  Adding more expectations such as treaty education outcomes and the digital citizenship continuum seems difficult to manage and effectively teach.  This being said I feel it is important and as professionals for us to creatively integrate such content throughout the curricular outcomes we are already teaching.  It is my belief that a single outcome or subject does not stand alone.

The idea of a digital footprint being like a tattoo was raised by Juan Enriquez in this weeks Ted Talk.  I think using this tattoo analogy with students would help them work through the 4 step approach presented in the ISTE article edtekwhitepaper.  Students could think of a tattoo they might want and then practice the steps: stop, think, empathize, and post.  This could be integrated into an arts education lesson where they eventually get to create a positive tattoo using a visual medium, or perhaps a health outcome related to identity or decision making.

My Footprint


Photo Credit: DC P via Compfight cc

I have been aware the employers look at social media when hiring, as mentioned in this weeks article, “according to the online recruitment site Career Builder, around a fifth of ’employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, and close to 59% say they would be influenced by a candidate’s online presence. ” I only saw this a reason to share as little as possible.  This idea of a positive digital footprint is a new concept to me.  Another reading states the following:

“As learning becomes more digital, educators at all levels are instrumental in building students’ understanding about how their online presence impacts both their personal and future professional lives. Educators are also instrumental in helping students develop lifelong habits to create and maintain a positive online identity.”

If I am unable to truly understand how to create a positive online identity, then how can I teach my students?  I need to make the commitment and take the steps necessary to first take care of my own digital footprint.

In Lisa, Haiming, and Stephanie closing video, Miss S. (Stephanie’s daughter) said it best, “If you don’t show me who will!” I have decided to take it upon myself to work in this area, so I can truly lead by example!







8 thoughts on “Shaping My Digital Footprint

  1. Thanks for this. Similar thoughts have been going through my head. When I’ve thought in the past about digital footprint, it is typically in a negative light — the “dirt” that potential employers try to find. I haven’t put a lot of thought previously into the need to intentionally create a positive digital footprint, but after last week, it seems like it might be worthwhile.


  2. I had the same realization as you! I have always thought “Less is Best!” I also really reflected this week on my lack of digital presence and that i’m leaving it open for others to create my digital identity. I have also used sharing in the classroom for my students as a positive way to show all the amazing things they learn and do each day… but never have a thought about sharing for myself. I am excited to begin the new journey of building my online digital identity. It is a little intimidating- I think I might need to take another tech course to help me on that journey! 🙂


  3. I love the idea of a positive footprint. I also share your history of illicit msn use, as well as good ol’ ICQ. True confession, when I was looking for renters for my basement, I would always check their facebooks and twitters, just to see what kind of a person they were. I didn’t have any formal criteria, but wanted to get a sense of if this was the type of person I wanted to share my home with. Overall, it was surprisingly dependable! I honestly think that people’s online presence represents them, for better or for worse, and typically it is a representative sample. With the exception of Alec’s online russian dating.


  4. I like the quote that if you don’t manage your digital footprint, others will. I think this is an important lesson we can model to our students.


  5. Heidi, I am going to use your idea next when when I get into this topic with my class, and ask my “students could think of a tattoo they might want and then practice the steps: stop, think, empathize, and post.” I am thinking a visual art project… Thanks so much for the read and for the idea!


  6. Heidi,
    I laughed out loud thinking about your Dad giving you the gears about MSN. I remember being lectured about the exact same thing one night when I was online for hours and Mom was trying to call home to get a ride in a snowstorm and couldn’t get through because of the dial up. Let’s just say Lar & Mar were not impressed. Thanks for sharing!


  7. Haha I guess that goes to show the generation of teachers we are following! Msn must have been the conversation of their staff room chat!


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