As teachers we have all seen the impact of technology on us and our students. My district is lucky enough to be able to provide Chromebooks for all students, in our high school. So in our case, at school, there isn’t a lack of technology. Every student I have has a cell phone. Needless to say, they are consumed by technology on the daily. Even though I haven’t been exposed to technology, as much as my students, I consider myself to be digital native. I’ve always had access to a computer and a cellphone by 6th grade. I can totally relate to the attraction of complete accessibility to technology.
Although I can relate, in some aspects, to the students I feel that it definitely impacts them socially and educationally. Socially, I notice students are drawn to screen time of the phone instead of face time with people. Students seem to opt to go on social media and watch hours on hours of Youtube and Netflix, rather than hang out with their friends. Educationally, students have the technology to be able to complete online assignments and classes. Students that don’t have room in their schedules are now able to complete online or hybrid courses. This is a huge positive and solves a variety of scheduling issues. Students are able to also use and experience education applications or programs and get practice, through use in their classes. There are pros and cons to this easy access to technology, the way it’ll be successful is with monitoring by adults.
The most dangerous threats, pertaining to accessing and sharing, deal with what our students share. Some students, behind the screen, aren’t afraid to bully and say what they want. Others over share, on the Internet, and this can put them in danger or get them in trouble. There are cases when students post inappropriate material or give personal information to strangers. Another common trend I notice, is influencers. On social media, people tend to post the good and it’s not realistic. If one of our students start to compare themselves to these impossible standards, it can lead to negative thoughts and actions.
A digital footprint is the mark that an individual leaves on the digital world. If a digital footprint is intentional, the individual posts content related to them on purpose. They mean to send the pictures or information into the digital world. So if I post a picture to instagram of myself, that is an intentional digital footprint that I’m leaving. A digital footprint is unintentional if someone other than the individual shares pictures or information about them. An example of an unintentional digital footprint is if a newspaper posts an article and picture of an individual, from an an event.
Students can deliberately cultivate a digital footprint, by gearing a web page or social media towards career or personal interests. Students can also create ePortfolios. It can be a basic one for jobs or a content specific one for photography. Students should include an ePortfolio, because it’ll leave a positive digital footprint. If perspective schools, employers or coaches find an ePortfolio, it’ll make a lasting and positive impression on outside individuals.