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Paper Asks Educators to Teach Students How to Responsibly Create Digital Footprint

Paper Asks Educators to Teach Students How to Responsibly Create Digital Footprint

A white paper recently released by Net-Ref makes recommendations for schools and educators to teach students about how to manage their digital footprint as they become the new “digital natives.”

"Ensuring children understand the implications, consequences and best practices for engaging with technology and social media is critical to safeguarding their well-being and to developing workplace skills,” Digital Natives: Citizens of a Changing World says.

For those unfamiliar, the paper defines digital natives as young people who grow up understanding the latest technology; digital citizenship is the ability for technology users to understand how to create a responsible digital footprint by "defining the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.”

As more and more students use technology in the classroom, the authors of the paper say it’s critical they are taught safety and responsibility as they explore the “digital landscape.”

The paper insists that in order to best do this, schools need to move away from simply having acceptable use policies without ensuring that students can get a deeper understanding beyond the jargon.

"By emphasizing the positive aspects of technology use in schools with broad, easy-to-understand language, administrators can show students that they encourage the use of the Internet and trust them to use it maturely. Empowering students with their digital rights and responsibilities by inviting them to use the network – consequences and all – helps shape them into the digital citizens tomorrow’s world will need,” the paper says.

The paper’s full list of recommendations for training students ownership of their respective digital footprints is as follows:

  • Design a robust digital citizenship curriculum.
  • Counsel students that “what goes online stays online.”
  • Craft an empowering acceptable use policy for students.
  • Teach students their digital rights.
  • Advise parents of new social media and online trends.
  • Provide an easy-to-understand guide for online behavior.
  • Equip teachers and parents with EdTech programs and practices to manage children’s Internet use.

Read the full paper.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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