Unless you’re on the moon, leaving behind footprints isn’t the most memorable thing in the world. It’s something that just happens everyday – little traces of who we are and where we’ve been, washed away by the elements soon after they’re created.
The thing about footprints on the Moon, you see, is that they don’t get washed away. There is no atmosphere, no erosion by wind or water – the Moon is a hunk of rock with some frozen water on it.
Why are we talking about the Moon? Well, the digital ‘realm’ is sort of like the technological equivalent of the moon. Except, it’s not a hunk of rock weighing 730000000000000000000000 kgs just hanging around in space (yes, that is what google says the moon weighs). But the two do share similar characteristics. Neither have any atmosphere. And if you leave a footprint on either it won’t get washed away.
A footprint in the digital realm is called a “digital footprint”. Jaime’s written a great blog about the concept here, and talks about needing to be mindful as prospective educational professionals about what we post online, and what our digital trail of footprints looks like.
My own personal philosophy regarding what I post online is pretty simple:
Would I want my Grandma to see this?
Yeah, that one’s pretty effective.
So how can we help our students understand how to be ethical in their online behaviour? How can we develop their understanding of the potential consequences of leaving behind digital footprints?
This site provides a great guide for teachers wishing to develop digital citizenship and understanding of footprints. For now though, the following image is one step towards developing such understanding and behaviour, if we embed this philosophy into our classrooms we’ll be one step closer to helping students help themselves.