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. 



The question of “Technology has led to a more equitable society” was a great debate topic. Both sides argued their points very well, and I enjoyed the different approaches in the opening statement videos. Who doesn’t love a good hockey meme?

fans on the hockey match


I choose “disagree’ in both the pre and post-vote. I did so as I looked at the debate question through the narrow lens of equity in the classroom. I appreciated the breadth and depth of Kennedy and Ummey’s video where they outlined the many ways technology leads to a more equitable society. They expanded the reasons how technology can benefit society in ways outside of the classroom (for social justice, assistive technology, health opportunities, fundraising and awareness, and cultural diversity/language barriers). The points raised were compelling, and correct, and much information was packed into a 6-minute video. This was no easy feat!

People congratulate and holding thumbs up

The focus of the second debate was mainly related to technology use in the classroom. Yes, the focus was a bit narrow compared to the first debate, yet it is how I also interpreted the debate question. I agreed with Jeff and Graeme when they said, “If a student doesn’t have a device or access to high-speed Internet at home, they won’t show the same academic results.”

The answer to the debate question is bigger than the classroom and is not really about technology. The question can only be addressed by creating an equitable society.


The articles “Bridging The Gap” (presented by the agree side) and “Equity and Technology Use in Education” (presented by the disagree side) make the same arguments. “The matter comes down to pure economics.” (Hall, 2006, p.4). I stated this in class during the discussion when I said we are really talking about money. Those who have money can access technology, and their quality of life generally improves. Those who do not have money cannot access technology, and their quality of life generally weakens. (Bruce, 2020; Hall, 2006). I gave the example of how technology has given me the opportunity to enroll in Master’s courses, yet it is my chequing account that turned the opportunity into reality.

At the heart of the debate is the question of equity and how to create a more equitable society. This thought is reflected in the “Bridging the Gap” article when it was written, “… and we feel that equity in learning opportunity is the answer.” (Hall, 2006, p. 2). Hall wrote how his school district made intentional choices to bridge the gap by creating a student advisory board, including families of the students, knowing the community, and looking outside the walls of the classroom to create equity to close the digital divide. This article shows that only providing access to technology is not enough. Educators must do more than teach the curriculum; they must provide creative solutions so the students can bridge the digital divide. The answer to the debate question lies in intentionally looking at creative ways each educator can close the gap in their school district. What worked for Hall in Kent, Washington may not work for you in your school district. Victoria Gold is a mining company that runs a gold mine north of Mayo, Yukon. Vic Gold, as it is called by Yukoners, has partnered with The Yukon Government and created an “Every Student Every Day” program to help boost student attendance and achievement. This is a partnership that is unique to the Yukon, yet creative solutions are there for every school district. I can appreciate the amount of energy, time, and dedication Hall and others in his school district have made to close the digital divide in Kent, Washington. The first step is to look at what is within the scope of our control as educators and take advantage of what those opportunities can mean for our students.


This post leans heavily on the singular article “Bridging the Gap”. It may seem contradictory to agree with the article that was presented by the side I did not vote for. Twice. This illustrates how complicated the debate question is and also illustrates that the discussion is not about technology; it is about how it is used. This is the third time I have used this image in my blog posts, but it is so relevant. It is my new meme!

Close-up woman construction worker wearing tool belt showing thumbs up on white

Is social media ruining childhood? Or is it us?

Businessman holding a cloud of social media network iconThe debate topic was compelling, and both sides argued their side well. I also went back and forth on this topic even though I voted “against” in the pre-vote and post-vote. My thoughts have changed after reading the articles and watching the Tedtalks chosen by both debate teams. The statement “Social media is ruining childhood” is appropriate for debate but not for this post. The statement for the post needs to be, “How can social media be used, so it doesn’t ruin childhood?”


The agree side chose the article “Associations of early social initiation on digital behaviors and the moderating role of limiting use.” The article stated that social media engagement could provide instrumental and social support if used under the right conditions. (Charmaraman et al., 2022). Eva Amin presented a similar idea in her talk, “Social Media isn’t bad: you’re just using it wrong.” I agree with Eva’s main message: that social media isn’t good or bad, it is how we choose to use it that matters. I also agreed with her points about the concept of welcoming the positivity of social media. Alec shared videos in class on Tuesday that illustrated this. There is something to be said about the power of positive thinking. I felt different after seeing the videos in class, particularly the video of elderly people and teens connecting. It was so moving. It reminded me of this article from CBC news. The elderly people and young children are connecting through face-to-face interactions, and they are not using social media. Yet the message is the same.

A small girl with grandfather outside in spring nature, relaxing on the grass.

I keep going back to my main point that educators must teach about digital literacy as it is in the curriculum This includes how to use social media in safe and healthy ways. Students must be taught about the dangers of social media use, as outlined in the article by Freya India. She poses questions at the end of her article that must be addressed; that “the greatest psychological experiment we’ve ever run on humanity” is happening. It is also true that little is known about the effects of the early use of social technologies on early adolescence. (Charmaraman et al., 2022). More empirical evidence is needed to understand the impacts of digital technologies on younger adolescence and children.

Stories of the positive use of social media need to be shared with students. If we only share stories of the scary side of social media, the students will miss out on half of the story. Sebastián Bortnik defined education as coming from both experiences and knowledge. Students need to be taught how to use social media because it is here and a part of our lives. In class, Alec asked the question if we could go back to life before social media, would we? I admit I am one of the people who said yes, but the reality is that we can’t do that. Adults need to use social media in positive ways and support our children in learning how to do the same. Charmaraman et al. (2022) stated that high parental involvement, in the form of restrictive monitoring of social media use, had positive outcomes for children. This is the best way to ensure the harms of social  technology are mitigated.

Caring attentive mother stroking daughter sits on couch with phone in hands offers to take walk and spend time together. Kind woman works as nanny looking after teenage girl during absence of parents



I shared in class that my husband and I gave our 12-year-old daughter her first Iphone and it came with a contract that she had to sign. One of the terms of the contract was that we would take the phone away if she misused the phone. The sad day came this past Friday. My husband was working out of town, and I was going through her texts with her dad on the phone. I saw things that gave us much concern. She was using highly inappropriate language; she was saying mean things about 1 friend to others, a precursor to cyberbullying. She was also texting somebody named “Mr. Beast” which caught my attention. The end result was that I took the phone away until her dad came home. I also got the unenviable job of telling her. After the initial blow-up was over and she had stopped crying (and started talking to me again), she explained what was going on. Her friends were doing those things, and she felt she had to do so as well. She thought that if she didn’t, they would stop being her friend, and then “she would have no one”. A couple of days passed and she said she was glad she had the break from her phone. She didn’t like the person she was becoming, and she was able to think about if she actually wants the other kids as her friends.  She has the phone back with a plan only to use it at certain times. We will see how long this lasts, as there will be more problems, and she will likely have her phone taken away again. I saw my experience with her in the article “Associations of early social initiation on digital behaviors and the moderating role of limiting use.” High levels of parental involvement are necessary to help our kids navigate the world of social technology in healthy ways. I can see why some parents would want to avoid the drama, it is much work! Yet it is so necessary.

My stance on this topic is a repeat of last week’s blog post; technology is a tool, and how it is used is what is important.

Close-up woman construction worker wearing tool belt showing thumbs up on white