What are the implications for our students when it comes to the permanence of digital identity?

According to projections made in the article Five reasons why your online presence will replace your resume in 10 years; by the time our students are ready to begin their careers, employers will likely be relying heavily on information they find online. The reality is that as teachers, many of our mistakes from puberty are not “Googleable”. But our students’ mistakes are.

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What role should teachers/schools play in preparing students for a world that never forgets?

Although a little dated, the message in the article 10 Things Your Students Should Know About Their Digital Footprints holds true even more today than when it was written in 2011. This article argues that since our students are going to live online anyways, it behooves us as educators to help our students shape and build a positive legacy.

The author provides several useful suggestions that could help educators do this in their classrooms:

  1. Educate students on the basics by asking them what digital citizenship means to them. Ask, What should it mean? Having students discover their own answers to these questions through inquiry and research would be most effective.
  2. The article also notes that educators need to tell students that they shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes, but that they need to be cognizant of the fact that “being careless, too open, too trusting, and realize spending too much time on the Internet, has real consequences.

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  3. Another important suggestion was to reinforce the golden rule “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Reminding students that they can’t truly delete after they hit SEND.
  4. Most importantly, we need to help students build and develop their own positive image and brand themselves in a great way. Using the ‘example/ non-example method would help students understand what a positive image is and is not.

We need to be sure that our students are ready for the world that never forgets. Monica Lewinski, in her Ted Talk, Walk of Shame, shares how catastrophic it was for her mistake to be posted online.

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It negatively affected every aspect of her life. Although Lewinski didn’t post her mistake online, this is an important message for all of today’s youth about how one mistake can have significant consequences on your present and your future. Educators are in a position to educate students on how to navigate their digital worlds safely.



What else can we do to prepare students for a world that doesn’t forget?


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