Today I am sitting listening to Steve Dembo who said “Not having a digital footprint is likely worse than having a bad one.” This idea is quite profound for some of us who work in schools where often the use of social media is forbidden or severely restricted. The rational is that we have to be cautious of exposing children to the perils of the internet, exposure, and in general protect the institution against liability. So I propose that we open the doors and admit that students have access to social media and start teaching social media.
Lets start by getting students email addresses, not cheezypoof@yah…. or puppyslobber@ but adult addresses which they can carry into adulthood. Lets get them to start building a blog presence, lets demonstrate what should and should not be shared online. Lets ask students to express themselves, create and own their digital identity. We cannot allow students to leave our schools without developing skills to extend themselves online because they are going to do it without us if we don’t and that could be truly dangerous.