Power of the web trumps feelings of privacy

My reflection on my own feelings of privacy for this post coincided with some work my co-teachers were doing with the grade 5s on digital safety. In our planning meeting we talked about the plans for the week and we agreed I would take the classes for some classes about the power of the web so they would also get a positive stance on it, as I was inspired by some ideas I read in Lisa Nielsen‘s article. My question was How can we teach students and teachers to celebrate themselves and their beliefs so that their digital footprint represents a picture of someone they are proud to be?

Out of the three classes I took, many students were still very much in the ‘it’s dangerous’ mode and it took some convincing that the web can be used to our advantage in ways previously inconceivable. We started by looking at this video:

Then, I explained what the web had done for me. I showed them my online presence and asked them to create a sentence about me. They soon agreed that all they could pretty much find about me were things about my professional life and that it could work in my favour if I was looking for another job.

Then, they wrote sentences about how they would like to be seen on the web, now or in the future. They printed out recaps of their preferred social media, guessed whose they were and gave feedback on them too.

Although we need to be cautious and teach digital safety, I hope I balanced things out a bit by giving them a positive stance on the web, although…..

Later that week… my own son came home and told me he had befriended someone he didn’t know on Facebook. The ‘friend’ was a cute girl who had sent pictures of herself. As I was slightly alarmed, we checked out his Facebook profile and we discovered all his settings were public. We couldn’t find any information about the girl he had befriended… and soon my son was saying things like ‘what if it’s some weirdo trying to stalk me???’  It prompted him to check out his digital profile and it was a learning opportunity for him to change some things he previously thought weren’t a problem.

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3 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Jon Banules Jon Banules says:

    Ha ha! This looks like it was an awesome couple of lessons!!! Very inquiry based too!

    It’s fantastic to get the grade 5s thinking about this now! Just quick question…the media clouds belonged to the teachers right?

    I think this lesson was great because you guys, as the teachers, were able to model what a digital footprint of a responsible grown person would look like from many different perspectives! If only I had started with an idea of how I wanted myself to appear on line before there was even an online me…Very PYP and Understanding by Design…

    -Jon

  2. Profile photo of Stephanie Stephanie says:

    Hi Marcelle,

    I love this activity you did with your students! I also agree that a lot of teachers spend time using scare tactics to teach students about digital citizenship/digital footprint rather than teach them how they can use it positivity or a way to empower themselves. I found this article that you might find interesting. It has some online tools that you can use to teach elementary students about digital citizenship.

  3. Profile photo of Susan Richey Susan Richey says:

    I love the way you used a positive approach to teaching the students about online profiles. It allows students to be thoughtful rather than scared. I would love to know whether the kids changed their online behaviour afterwards.

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