It seems inevitable in this day and age not to have a digital footprint. When you blog, use facebook or partake in any other social network there is a good chance that information will end up somewhere unintended. Since starting the CoETAIL program my digital footprint has grown exponentially in comparison to the days prior. In social networking you are knowingly putting your name out there so it becomes pertinent that you also become a responsible internet user.
As an international educator today it really becomes essential that you learn more about what kind of digital footprint you’re leaving behind prior to seeking new employment. Keeping yourself in a good light can certainly be advantageous. A digital footprint can serve as a portfolio of sorts for professional and academic achievements, one that should be highlighted in lieu of the hiring process. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the “dark little secrets” that a digital footprint might surface while job hunting. Based upon my brief experience with digital footprints, it seems to be the items you give little thought to that seem the most important to monitor as well as the most daunting to control. Partial discussion with friends and colleagues on Google buzz and even email conversations with online support from various internet services resurfaced in my own basic Google name search.
Regardless of our age, anyone connected has already begun to leave a digital footprint today and not monitoring this footprint could be detrimental tomorrow. Students are spending much of their waking hours online. We continue to push technology especially in international schools with one-on-one laptop programs and mass integration into the curriculum. At home, technology is the social weapon of choice where teens and even pre-teens feel the most comfortable opening up to friends and even strangers. It is not only our responsibility as educators, but also the parent’s to teach the students about the hazards of being online and with that the negative aspects that can accompany a digital footprint created through this daily interaction. No matter how hard we try it’s not uncommon to make regrettable mistakes when growing up. The great thing about it is that we learn from it and move on…until it comes up again and again an again…Whether or not you agree with it, digital footprinting is here to stay. Let’s make sure our students know how to handle them.