|From: Common Sense Media|
Not too long ago I attended a presentation at our local high school given by Glen Warren, a passionate information and digital literacy advocate who’s the V.P. of Government Relations for the California School Library Association (CSLA). He said that students today need to do more than just protect their digital reputations, they need to actually “do positive stuff online” so that their digital footprints speak volumes about their character.
We already know that future employers will likely go to the Internet to do background checks on these students before entrusting them with jobs. Additionally, colleges and universities are starting to rely on digital interactions when deciding which students get letters of acceptance. For example, I learned about Zinch.com from The Media Psychology Blog. It’s a social networking-like site that lets students post profiles and links about themselves that are viewed by college admissions officers. Based on the idea that a student is “more than a test score” (really?!?), this site provides a good example of how a digital footprint is our new first impression.
That’s why the 6th graders in our Cyber Civics class at Journey School took a proactive approach imagining and designing their own digital footprints; the ones they want the world to see in ten years. Judging by the things they scrawled into their footprint outlines (from Common Sense Media’s “Digital Citizenship” curriculum), it was a class full of future presidents, professional soccer players, artists, scientists, musicians, gamers, fashion stylists and more. Some were going to achieve renown by eating themselves to greatness and others were going to win the Nobel Peace prize, the Heisman trophy, feed the homeless and perform hundreds of pet rescues (frankly, I’m most excited about the Horchata-flavored ice cream). Even if only a fraction of these digital dreams do come true, I think it will be a future we can all look forward to.