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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 SumoPaint.com 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.
- Students write or record audio to explain their projects.
- 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.