Reflecting on the Impact of Technology

Image result for digital footprint

For teachers who are working in classrooms in the 21st century, technology can be a thorn in their sides. For example, the building I work in has just begun to provide Chrome books to every student. Prior to that, our building was a BYOD building for quite a few years. While a BYOD building is nice in theory, it did not play out that well. Many students considered their smartphones to be their BYOD technology, which it was, but it was also a struggle for the teachers to determine who was using their device for school and who was accessing their social media accounts during class. It ended up being a fight every day between the students and the teachers. Since moving to the Chrome books, teachers have reported far fewer discipline referrals related to students’ phone usage. The teachers in our  building are not naive to the fact that our students can still access their social media accounts from their computers, but using the computers to assist students with learning course content (i.e. through our LMS) has encouraged the students to put down their phones and actually participate in their learning. 

Technology also impacts our personal lives because people do not know how to budget their time when using technology. I make sure to keep my phone put away while I am at school as well as when I am with family and friends. However, this is not true for many others. With students, it is concerning that they do not understand the impact their decisions could have on their futures. I have given “the lecture” of possible consequences to them multiple times, but they still seem to continue with their behaviors. I believe that students will continue on their current technological paths until they, or someone close to them, experiences a consequence. I believe this is the most serious threat to accessing and sharing content on the internet for students because so many adults are afraid that students will be put at risk. Students’ naive choices make educators want to remove technology from the classroom so their students are not doing inappropriate things. 

I have spoken to my students about their digital footprints many times, but the reality does not seem to set in for them. Currently, students are making fake accounts so that what they post isn’t connected to their names, but what they do not 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. Data collected and shared in Lenhart’s (2015) article is fascinating because is shows how many teens are active on social media platforms. “24% of teens go online ‘almost constantly’” (Lenhart, 2015) is staggering and concerning. There is no way that students are thinking about their footprints during that time, which creates potentially harmful and unintentional results. 

I have not thought to teach students how to cultivate an intentional footprint before, but it makes sense. Encouraging them to treat their ePortfolios like resumes meant for employers could help them understand how social media can be used to their advantage. Including their passions, activities, and successes will help the students to stand out and provide a more accurate portrayal of who they are. Doing this intentionally will help them to see the unintentional results of their online decisions. 

 

References

Lenhart, A. (2015, April 9). Teens, social media and technology overview 2015. Retrieved from https://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/

 

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