My students are very privileged. They are upper-middle class and mostly white. They have almost unlimited access to technology. Their parents supply them with endless phone replacements when theirs break or are outdated. They spend countless hours texting, Snapping, Instagramming, you name it! However, in our school, we don’t really match what we should have available to them. We are a well-funded and privileged school, but technology is definitely not our strong suit. Our three usable computer labs have outdated computers that don’t connect to the network half the time. Our laptop carts are even a bigger joke. We have ONE iPad cart for the entire building, and it is generally used by the emotional support classroom on a regular basis, so we can’t access them. About seven years ago, we were given a SMALL number of Macbooks to share in the English department for our direct instruction classes, and while we try to utilize them to the best of our abilities, even the iMovie app on them won’t open anymore. My understanding is that we are hindering these students. They should be learning how to work digitally, but we don’t provide access that way. Students should be reading textbooks on e-notebooks, laptops, or tablets, and we don’t provide them. I am not sure who creates our technology budget, but they have some serious overhauling to do, and soon.
A digital footprint is a term that signifies what you leave behind when you are online. Even if you don’t post pictures (and most of us do!) you still leave a footprint behind, whether it is what you searched for in Google, your credit card order history in your Amazon account, or what you “like,” “follow” and respond to on social media accounts, your digital footprint is present. An intention footprint is making a clear effort to make sure you have an online presence. Perhaps you have a blog, a social media account, etc. An unintentional footprint happens when you do something online that you don’t quite realize will leave a lasting mark, like the sites you visit but don’t buy from, or the posts you “like” but don’t actually comment. It can also be that you are posting pictures or comments with one intention, but they can be misconstrued in another way. Students today should make an active effort to be aware of their digital footprint. Colleges and bosses look up people when interested in a program or position. They need to know that what they post, even if marked “private” is still PROBABLY accessible to some degree, and that they are not immune to these searches. They should keep some aspects of their ePortfolios or footprints public- like their hobbies, resume, interests, goals, some course content. However, some should definitely remain private (most pictures, comments, posts, etc.) They need to be aware that everything they say and do online can have a lasting impact on their future in some way.