Go On An EdTech Mission And Define The Digital Footprint

Technology has empowered our students, who realize they have the potential to learn anything in exciting ways from incredible institutions and fascinating people. Most of our students want to connect with people around the world, share their passions and creations with an audience, and exchange knowledge.

As our students continue to engage on online, they leave behind their digital footprint–the trail of data that a person leaves behind as they use the internet. It includes everything from the websites they visit, to the social media posts they make, to the emails they send.

If we want our students to continue to use the internet they need to be aware of their digital footprint and how to properly shape it. Shelly Sanchez-Terrell masterfully crafts an engaging mission for you to teach and students to learn about their digital footprint.

From Hacking Digital Learning Strategies, understand our students' digital footprint problem and how to utilize Shelly's Mission Toolkit to teach your new lesson. 

The Problem: Students don't understand their digital footprint shapes their future

Many schools filter and ban social media to avoid having students encounter the dark side of the internet on their watch. This means our learners are navigating the vast digital world with no guidance or support. Many already encounter the dark side of social media, such as bullying, trolling, spamming, and access to questionable content.

If we don’t teach them the skills to deal with these situations effectively, they may be emotionally and psychologically scarred. They may also make poor choices, which can destroy their reputations and hinder their dreams.

The Mission: Manage the social media profile of a historical figure

This mission deepens conscientious reflection on the digital world by prompting students to create fictional social media accounts.

What if historical figures communicated with other significant figures on social media? Would their exchanges further or hinder their contributions to the world?

In this mission, your learners explore the answers to these questions by taking on the roles of different historical figures who follow and interact with each other on a social network.

Students create a social media profile for a historical figure, manage their posts, shares, and exchanges for at least five days. Their choices will either enhance or sully the credibility and reputation of their historical figure. After this experiment, students determine if their shares, posts, reactions, and behavior hindered their historical figure’s contributions to the world. 

Your learners gain the most value by creating a fictional social media profile on a popular social network, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. These social networks model the real-world challenges digital learners face with effectively managing their own digital reputations.

To make this mission successful, utilize Kits 4, 5, 6, and 7 kits from the Mission Toolkit. 

Kit 4: Fictitious Social Media Template

In case you aren’t able to use social media, students can create their profiles on Fictitious Social Media (FISM), a fake social network created just for this mission! 

Using the FISM, students can complete the basic profile information for their historical figure, add a profile picture, their name, bio, location, their birthday, and the names of other historical figures they would have been friends with on social media.

As students continue this project, urge them to continue researching their historical figures. They will discover facts and insights that will make great status updates and count toward the required minimum of two per day. The status updates reveal the character’s home life, professional life, interests, and idiosyncrasies. 

The FISM will serve as the bulk of the mission. 

Kit 5: Digital Trails Discussion Prompts

Play the Digital Trails Icebreaker game with your class using Mission Toolkit 5.

Divide your class into pairs, and instruct students to sit facing their partners. Set a timer for two minutes. When the timer starts, the pairs converse about a question related to their digital use, and the values displayed on the overhead projector or written on the board. This kit provides a list of several suggested questions for students to discuss with their partners. 

Go over a handful of questions beforehand so students understand the personal nature of the inquiry. Encourage them to share only what they feel comfortable sharing and to refrain from naming others or providing specific details of incidents. Remember, we want to promote personal reflection versus gossip. When the timer stops, your students switch partners and repeat the activity.

Kit 6: Digital Footprint Investigation

Analyze the impact of your digital footprint on social networks using Mission Toolkit 6. 

In the top row, students list two social networks they belong to. If they don’t belong to social networks, they can evaluate the social media profile of a celebrity. Students answer questions regarding their top posts and shared media on each platform. The information they provide includes the number of friends or followers, the top post, the amount of likes and shares, and the personal information shared.

Emphasize that this is a discussion, not a contest to see who has the highest numbers. Discuss how social media use is a personal decision and the numbers depend on each person’s preferences, types of posts, online circles, and digital activity levels.

Kit 7: Historical Figure Traits Map 

Teach students one way to monitor their digital footprint is to regularly Google themselves. Many of our learners are too young to receive results, but this task becomes more necessary as they mature into professional adults. Google themselves, Google their historical figures, and compare the results.

As students conduct research on their historical figure, have them write down notes using Mission Toolkit 7. They will complete the fields such as contribution, family life, professional life, important events, and interests and quirks. At the center of the map, each student posts an image or drawing of their historical figure and lists the name and birthdate. The information in this map assists them in managing the social media accounts of their historical figures (Mission Toolkit 4).

Students base most of their digital choices on enhancing their reputations in the present. Will their photos or shares get them immediate likes, positive comments, approval or acceptance?

Their futures aren’t a priority, but they need to realize that their decisions now will diminish or enhance their significant contributions to the world in the future. We need our learners’ online behavior to align with their values and beliefs in the physical world.

By having your students complete Mission 3 and others from Hacking Digital Learning Strategies students will learn to be aware of their digital footprint and on their way to shaping their future as responsible digital citizens.

Main post image by Pixabay

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