This is a true story and I will do my best to tell it from my memory…
Presenting to a group of staff and students in an Australian school, with them all in the same room (which was something that I think we should do a lot more of!), I talked about the notion of “Digital Footprint”. In this talk, I shared some of the negatives of being online, but also discussing the huge potential you can have by understanding your own digital footprint and leveraging it as well.
I was actually quite surprised when one of the teachers had stated in front of the students that she would never go on Facebook because she would “lose her job” because of all the stuff (she actually didn’t say “stuff” but another ‘s’ word in front of the kids…wow) she didn’t want others to see in her personal life. As I challenged her on this statement that simply being online does not mean you will lose your job, she backed off but you could see she still did not see that being online in any way could be a good thing for our students, even if they are properly guided.
Then I said, “Okay, how many students in here are going to go offline because of what I shared with you today?”
Not one hand raised.
Then I asked, “How many students in here are going to rethink how they do stuff online because of what I shared today?”
Almost every single hand went up in the room.
As much as many would like it to happen, the Internet is not going away. In fact, being active and social online is only going to grow. Are we educating our kids to understand both the positives and negatives? And…are we talking from experience or from what we see on TV or read in a newspaper?
I am going to keep doing my best to prepare our kids not only for their future, but for their present.
It reminds of a powerful statement I heard from Gary Stager:
Less Us. More Them
We can’t continue to deny the world we live in.
(If you are interested, here is a google doc I created to work on with others regarding their “Digital Footprint”. Please feel free to use to work with your staff and your students.)