EC&I 830

Where are my footsteps leading me?

I found this video while doing some research and although simple, it made an impression on me. I had never really thought about my digital footprint or that of my kids.

As I mentioned above I have not thought about myself or my family having a digital footprint and quite honestly I am not sure I fully understood what it was until this class.  I have to admit it is a bit unnerving that I leave a trail everywhere I go and everywhere I post. it made me wonder if my students or my children knew what it was, so I asked them.  80% had not heard it before or had heard the term but didn’t understand what it meant.  I am not sure if I should be surprised by that or a little worried.  I know I am a little worried that I didn’t understand it fully. 

The agree side had some strong arguments about why educators should be responsible for helping students create a positive digital footprint. Most of which were focused on teaching skills and helping them choose what is considered favourable for a digital footprint and what is not. As mentioned in the ‘Teaching Students about Their Digital Footprints’ by McGukin (2018) one thing that is a no-no is having an email address like ‘beerguy10’ as your primary email. It made me think back to some of the email addresses I have seen and thought, “Oh my, you should change that.” I think it is important to teach them these things.

I don’t disagree with educating them about being safe and pointing out how negative or inappropriate interactions can effet them but I want to add our parents and teachers into that mix. I am a fairly techie person and I had not thought of our considering my digital footprint so I assume many others haven’t either. I am a firm believer in educating both our students and parents on social media and technology and that will now include digital footprints. We all need to work together to help our students become positive citizens who will work towards making our future brighter. This now includes working together to keep them safe and positive online. I equate it to the literacy and numeracy nights we often plan in elementary schools. it is time for a Digital Citizenship night, and yes, that includes our littles in the building. As I mentioned in our breakout room, we are always playing catch-up in the middle years because we are not starting this learning early enough.

The disagree side also brought up some valid points.  As noted in ‘The Digital Well-Being of Canadian Families’, kids already had a digital footprint before even getting to school.  My first thought was OMG, I totally did that to my children.  My second thought about it was shoot, there’s another thing I messed up on as a parent. Ugh. The list keeps getting longer.

I also questioned whether or not we have the right to create a digital footprint for students. I appreciated the article,’ It’s Not Ok to Share Student Photos Online. And Here’s Why… ‘and plan on keeping it for future discussions on my school. It also brings into question the media forms we send out. Do they give us the right to post about our students?  I think that if we educated parents that by signing the media release form their child was creating a digital footprint that leaves a trail for life I’m not sure they would sign. I am not sure I want to leave my own children’s media forms as a yes.

Let’s collaborate!

It was a great debate that had me questioning my own parenting decisions as well as my teaching. At the end of the night I know this, I will be adding digital footprints to my digital citizenship unit. Does anyone have some lessons or units they like for elementary schools?

Debate 7 – Educators and schools have a responsibility to help their students develop a digital footprint.


  1. Alyssa Johnson

    Hi Kari!

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post, a job well done!

    I honestly laughed out loud on the comment about our previous emails. My gosh, if I could go back to the hotmail account names I had back in high school, cringe worthy! Gosh, there is my digital footprint, from roughly 20 years ago. Of course at that age, you do not have that mind set yet, nor was anyone educating us on it at the time. Looking back now, I wish I would have been better informed on this matter.

    I also appreciate your idea about family Digital Citizenship nights at school. A great way to help bring the community together, and to better inform our families on such an important topic. No matter what, our students are going to continue to learn and grow in a digital world, as educators we need to embrace that!

  2. Echo

    Hi Kari,

    Nice educating video at the beginning. I think it is important to teach children and let them know that every click will be part of their digital footprint. What you said or post on your social media will be part of your digital footprint. I work as a Career Development Practitioner. We have Digital Skills Workshop for Employment for youth (they are all high-schools students). One topic I include in my workshop is the importance of a digital footprint for your future career. They all know what is a digital footprint either heard from schools or family. I definitely see the point of teaching digital footprint in school and incorporating parental involvement to monitor students’ digital footprint after school hours. Thank you for sharing that video. I think I will use it for my workshop in the future.


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