Digital Footprint Lesson

08 Nov

If you teach Digital Citizenship to middle school students please do yourself a favor and check out Common Sense Media. I’ll do a more in-depth post later, but Common Sense Media is a great organization for students, parents, and teachers with a focus on media literacy and safety.

As part of their Digital Citizensip curriculum, Common Sense has a great lesson on digital footprints. I recently started my lesson with 7th grade students. Here is the general sequence.

  1. Class discussion on footprints. Where do we leave footprints? What would this mean in terms of the Internet? As a side note, one of my students very aptly asked if it was similar to our carbon footprint. I had not made this connection and was quite pleased to hear it.
  2. Common Sense Media video on Digital Footprints. When I show videos in my class I usually show them twice. After the first time we discuss first impressions, etc. During the second, we stop it and point out important segments.
  3. Students research my digital footprint. My students loved this part! For about 20 minutes, my students looked me up on the Internet and created a collaborative list on the IWB to outline my footprint. Every piece of information they could find out about me was added to list. Some of the students tried to add information that they already knew (that I’m married, for example). I disallowed this information because they could not find it on the Internet. Probably the most interesting part of this exercise washow surprised the students were to find my picture on Google Images. It made me wonder from where they think those photos come.
  4. Student create digital collages of their future digital footprints. This is a variation on Common Sense Media’s lesson that has students draw on a footprint image. My change is to have the students use to create a visual representation of what their digital footprint will look like when they graduate from high school. Obviously, the point is to get them to think about their footprints as they are creating them. My goal is to also give them the opportunity to think about goals for high school, both academic and nonacademic.
  5. Students write or record audio to explain their projects.
  6. Students post to a class wiki.

Right now, we’re about to start step 4. I’m looking forward to seeing how this project progresses.


Posted by on November 8, 2010 in Lessons



3 responses to “Digital Footprint Lesson

  1. Damianne President

    November 8, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I love this sequence. Last year, my grade 6’s created an internet safety fair but I felt that some of them had difficulty applying the concepts to their life so I moved the unit to grade 7. I’m going to do something similar to this (scaled and modified based on prior learning) with my grade 7’s next semester.

  2. Renata Rowe

    November 16, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Great post Matt! I really enjoy reading about teachers teaching digital citzenship rather than taking the easier way out and banning social media. Our parents recently asked our school to support them in managing their children’s online behaviour. We put together a website and our focus is on Digitial responsibility, footprint and reputation. It’s open to all –
    I’ll pass some of your ideas onto my teachers.

  3. ktenkely

    November 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    So neat the way that you involved kids in mapping out your footprint. I have the same reaction from students, they are always surprised they can find me 🙂


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