Tech 5 Digital Footprint Lesson

digital-footprintThe goal of this lesson is to give students awareness of what it means to have a digital footprint.

Ask the students, “What  is a digital footprint?” 

Definitions include:

  1. What can be found when you Google yourself.
  2. Data collected by different web sites you visit.
  3. Data recorded by email, social networking, cell phone and video game companies.
  4. Anywhere where you use a username and password.

Digital Footprint on Wikipedia

Pew Internet & American Life Research on Digital Footprints

I then show this video: 


I then ask them to think for a minute about their digital footprint and then lead a short discussion around the following questions:

  • Why would people Google you? 
  • What is your digital reputation?

At this point, I ask them students to take out their footprints (see link above) and list the accounts the have online: websites, social networks,  phones they text with, video games they play online, etc.

Once they have done this for 5 minutes, I have them enter this data into our homework submission site.  This is good data to start conversations about Internet safety in the future. 

How do you teach about Digital Footprints?

2 thoughts on “Tech 5 Digital Footprint Lesson

  1. Hi Alex,
    Your post is so timely for my needs 🙂 I am in the process of putting together discussion-based presentations for our 3rd-6th graders (each grade will be separate to facilitate discussion) to address their online lives and had planned to show the same movie you reference. Your post provided some nice additions, including having the kids fill in the footprint with their online accounts.

    CommonSense Media has a number of videos that I particularly like because they are age-appropriate and take a positive, non-threatening approach to educating the kids. In addition to the above movie, I am going to show CommonSense Media videos on online identity (the one that begins with Jamie Johnson), one that asks ‘how do you connect to others’ (and begins with a girl lying on the floor with her laptop), and one that visually shows off “this is our digital life”.

    My plan was to use some of the questions/text highlights from the various movies as jumping off points for discussion. I’m also planning on asking the 6th graders ‘how accurately does this movie reflect your digital reality?’

    I’ve been meeting with our LS Assistant Principal, and we agreed it would be useful to have the discussions continue at home. We are thinking of having the LS kids ask their parents about their parents’ online presence.

    I am also meeting with the LS psychologist and our MS Dean of Girls to get their suggestions/feedback and also to get some scenarios that have taken place at our school over the past few years. I do not want to do any role playing, but the scenarios may wind up being helpful to me in telling stories that are authentic.

    This topic is always addressed in computer classes, and in previous years we have also had outside speakers come talk with our kids. Usually those speakers harp on the fearsome side of the Internet (much to my chagrin). This is the first year I’ve been asked to present (less expensive 😉 or maybe because I’m a known entity?) and I only agreed to do so if I could do the presentations in smaller groups (by individual grade instead of altogether), in conversational format, and with a positive approach.

    I like the way you approached this with your students, and will keep it in mind as I continue planning.
    Cheers on what is a snow day for us!

  2. Pingback: Digital Footprints « KATLYN BUCKLEY

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