A digital footprint is a trail left by your interactions in the digital environment; including usage of mobile phone, Internet and mobile web and other devices and sensors. How much of your information from your daily life gets recorded by big business and Big Brother? Play Discovery Channel’s simple scenario game to determine the digital footprint you are imprinting and leaving behind.
How do we help our students to have a positive digital footprint - to think about behaviors, expectations and skills needed when interacting with others in digital spaces? The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project conducted a research project entitled Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites, aimed at understanding teenagers’ behaviour online. The report examined teens’ pro-social and anti-social behaviours, ranging from the creation of support groups to cyber bullying and cyber harassment in online spaces.
Dr. Boyd’s lecture focuses on how the social media environment is changing the concept of privacy. Over the 40-minute lecture, Dr boyd presented her theories on how young people use social media to define themselves, their friendship circles, the idea of privacy and how the online environment and the technologies used to access it can be better utilised for communicating.
According to Dr. Boyd, young social media user’s concept of privacy revolves around the idea of sharing with those they trust. When private information is shared in a public forum, the theme of the new privacy comes through with the idea “Just because something is publicly accessible public, it doesn’t mean it was meant for you”. Dr. Boyd presents the idea that young people “navigate their private feelings in plain sight” using “social steganography” to communicate private ideas and feelings in a public forum to a select audience of friends.
Douglas B. Reeves, Ph.D. encourages educators to think of technology as analogous of the #2 pencil. Instead of thinking of technology in quantitative terms (number of computers, etc.), we need to rethink technology as direct support for instruction.
For many schools, technology remains in the operation side. It is used for managerial tasks such as submitting administrative required paperwork or processing payroll. Technology must be subordinate to, rather than master of, learning. Reeves outlines ways to interweave technology and instruction effectively:
Technology must be subordinate to human relationships. As technology has the potential to be socially isolating, educators must take steps to nurture appropriate social interactions and foster relationships.
Technology use must encourage critical thinking. Students must be explicitly taught to be selective of information to determine its relevance, reliability, and currency. Information must be triangulated – all claims, beliefs, and arguments must be supported by several sources.
Technology use must involve explicit teaching of how to synthesize and evaluate information. In order to be respectful producers of information, students must be knowledgeable of digital citizenship and be asked to create new, rather than appropriated, knowledge.
Journalist Paul Lewis talks about new media, citizen journalism, and how he has used social media to investigate two murders. He also talks about the new level of transparency and accountability new media offer in public life.