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

Just to be clear…..

I argued for the “agree” side of this debate with JR, voted for this side in pre and post-vote. I would have voted “agree” side even if I didn’t actively participate in the debate. In spite of this, I agree with Kennedy on a couple of points. Kennedy wrote in her blog post that we must use the same definition of digital footprint. Agree. I also agree with her following comment:

  Anything good comes with responsibility and if I choose to incorporate technology into the    classroom as a learning tool, then I am also taking on that responsibility of making sure my students know that it is there to enhance our learning experiences and it is to be respected.”

A bit further in her blog, Kennedy wrote:

However, this debate also made me think of my own classroom and how I could maybe have some more discussions and/or teaching points to help my students become AWARE of their digital footprint. Maybe educating our students on the fact that they will always have a digital footprint is helpful enough.

Again, I agree. This was exactly the point JR and I were making. This is another way of connecting with our students and building relationship with them. I commented during the debate that building relationships with students s the #1 responsibility of the teacher, and I stand by that comment. Jessica demonstrated this in her post-debate video. She created connections with the 2 students in her video when she asked for their opinion and thoughts.

It may be ironic that I argued for the “agree” side and sided with arguments from the “disagree” side in this post. This shows that this was a great question for a debate. It also shows how complicated and nuanced this argument is. Neither side can give a straight “yes” or “no”. 

Icons yes & no with highlight

Educators do have a responsibility

Again, I am going to use an argument from the “disagree” side to make my point that schools DO have a responsibility to help students develop a digital footprint. (The Tedtalk by Paul Davis has now found a place in my Top Ten favorite Tedtalks.) 

Each time Paul Davis said he went into a school, it was through a discussion with a principal. Not once did he say a parent initiated the invitation; it always came through the school. He also gave presentations to parents in schools. Therefore, if the school did not invite him, there would not be a presentation to parents. This is an example of how schools can support parents in helping their children develop a digital footprint, a main point in my and JR’s video.

Parents and Educators

Paul Davis was clear that it is the parent’s role to teach responsible use of technology to their children. It is parents who give the devices (and sign the contract) that enable their children to use the technology. It is parents who allow the children to bring the devices to school. In contrast, teachers do not sign contracts and pay the bills. Devices such as computers, Ipads, etc, that are used in the classroom are owned by the school district and stay at school. I do not disagree with him on this point. The issue is bigger than who signed the contract and paid the bills. The issue is about how to help students become responsible. It is an attitude, a value, a belief about the kind of people we want our children to become. This is NOT an add-on to the curriculum for as Kennedy said, discussions and talking points may be enough.

Metal Wheel Concept



In conclusion

Take a look at this Tedtalk.

The presenter is an Early Childhood Educator. She works with our youngest learners and believes the main job of Early Learning is to teach children how to become a member of society. Parents can not do this alone. To quote an overused cliché “It takes a village to raise a child”. Teachers are a part of the village. Technology, as it is a tool now embedded in our society, is also a part of the village. 


3 thoughts on “Educators and schools have a responsibility to help their students develop a digital footprint.

  1. Great post Laura. Technology is such a strange dichotomy. On one had we live in a world so deeply engrossed that it seems inescapable. Conversely, it remains such a foreign entity to so many people. One of the great concerns that I have as an educator is the way in which students use technology to engage in learning and discourse. As was discussed in class, the sprawling landscape that is the internet is riddled with so many dark corners that act as conduits of adverse behaviour. As educators we strive to instill citizenship in our students for the betterment of society and likewise we should want to do the same for students in their digital spaces. I like when you speak to the notion of a collective approach in that schools and educators can work collaboratively with parents to offer the skills and supports to enhance student digital literacy, and like you said, it does not have to be an add on to curriculum.

  2. The word “responsibility” is crucial here, and Laura and I completely concur that because we live in a digital world, educators  should support children in creating a positive digital footprint. Digital footprint education should be incorporated into the curriculum, much as a teacher would teach the alphabet to a student who was just starting out in school.
    Also, parents at home need to support educators by ensuring that their children behave responsibly online by teaching them the dos and don’ts of technology and restricting screen time.
    Teachers should assist children in creating a healthy and suitable digital footprint that will benefit them in both their personal and professional lives with the right direction and cooperation from parents.

    Technology is advancing and will continue to do so.

  3. Laura, I’ve really appreciated your point of view this semester, as you have had different experiences than many of us, who have lived and worked primarily in Saskatchewan.

    I agree with your point that both schools and parents have a responsibility in helping students develop a digital footprint. While parents do play a crucial role in teaching responsible use of technology, schools can also support parents in this by providing resources and education on the topic.

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