Access to technology is somewhat of a thorn in my side every single day I enter my school. We are a BYOD school, but few students bring more than their smart phones which don’t really cut it in a high school English classroom. Just today, for example, two of my co-workers were double booked in one of our 3 available computer labs today. Because of this, one had to run around the first 10 minutes of class to find enough computers for students and then send others to the library. Many of us here at OJR want to incorporate really cool and engaging technologies, but because our resources are limited, we cannot. It’s extremely frustrating.
It also impacts our personal lives because people don’t necessarily know how to budget their time with technology. I pride myself in putting my phone away during school and friend/family time, but this isn’t the same for many others. My husband is always on Twitter checking sports scores in the evening and it drives me nuts! It is a conversation we have often because I want his full attention. With students, I worry that they don’t understand the impact their personal decisions online may have on their futures. No matter how many times I lecture them to be careful of what they post, they still seem to do it. This is what I believe is the most serious threat to accessing and sharing of content on the Internet for students because so many adults are afraid that students will be put at risk. Their naive choices (and those of adults too!) make educators want to remove technology from the classroom so their students aren’t doing inappropriate things or being taken advantage of.
I have talked to my students about their digital footprints MANY times, but the reality doesn’t seem to set in for them. Right now they are trying to find ways to create fake accounts so that what they post isn’t connected to their names, but what they don’t seem to realize is that it still is. Everything they post or things that are posted about them can be linked back to their names and potentially affect their futures. The data collected and shared in Lenhart’s (2015) article is fascinating to me because it shows just how many teens are active on social media. The attention-grabbing statistic that “24% of teens go online ‘almost constantly’” (Lenhart, 2015) is staggering and, to be honest, concerning. There is no way that they are thinking about their footprints during that entire time, thus creating potentially harmful and unintentional results.
I’ve never thought to teach students how to cultivate their own intentional footprints before, but it makes complete sense! Maybe encouraging them to treat their public ePortfolios like resumes meant for employers would help them understand how social media can be used to their advantage. Including their activities, passions, successes, and personalities within these will help them stand out and give a more accurate portrayal of who they are. Doing this intentionally will also help them see the unintentional results of their online decisions.
Lenhart, A. (2015, April 9). Teens, social media & technology overview 2015. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/