So many footprints! I remember taking a test a few years ago, that was floating around my Facebook feed, to see what kind of carbon footprint I was leaving on Mother Earth. I was I could find the link, to share, but I have no idea where it went. However, if you do a quick Google Search, you’re able to take your own test to find out what your carbon footprint looks like.

As I began reading the articles for this week, I kept repeating “Duh!” to myself. Duh! Of course our students (and ourselves, for that matter) are leaving digital footprints. We should be educating our precious ones about what that looks like! Duh! So, what DOES that look like? Part of me wants to say that it comes down to the golden rule.

Some rights reserved by Celestine Chua

Jeremy Alger was speaking to me, Angela 2.0, in his blogpost “The power of a positive digital footprint for students” after one course of COETAIL under her belt. We need to encourage our students to build positive online presences. The old Angela, Angela 1.0, would have asked how? Obviously, we would discuss the basic, “common sense”, attributes and actions, how we behave online- but I’m pretty sure I would have limited that conversation to blogging and posting/commenting. Angela 2.0, however, would add MORE social media- how can my students use Twitter to build a positive online presence? I remember many years ago, working in the US, my principal called me into her office because she needed a tutorial on how to use Twitter. I was asked to offer tutorials on quite a few tech tools. This time, I was clueless. Thinking about it now, it’s quite insane that I was THAT behind. Instead of me teaching her, SHE taught me– my principal, who didn’t know how to use her DVR, introduced me to Twitter! I am intrigued by my colleagues who are using social media with their students in a purposeful way. Along with Twitter, I also see Instagram being used in the classrooms. And, the use of these tools are the same. Classes share these accounts (after they’ve gone through sessions on appropriate tweets, pictures, comments, hashtags, etc.) to connect with other students who are in the same situations, and before I know it, these brilliant minds are networking- and they’re better than me at it!

I’ve started getting into screencasts with a few of the students I work with. This has been quite the process, but we’re getting there! Eventually, I’d like students to post these to YouTube accounts so other students can access these videos, on how to develop a seed idea- for example.

The video reminded me of screencasting, in a way. Using video to reflect is a powerful tool. Last week, I was working with a grade 3 student- we’ve been working on reading accurately- he makes many errors and isn’t even aware. I created an account for him on Raz Kids, and this amazing program collects books on his level that he can choose from, or I give him an assignment. Within that book, he’s able to listen to the book being read to him while he reads along. My favorite part of it is that he can record himself reading (I know there are a ton of apps out there for this) along with the text, leveled for him, with the text right in front of him on the screen. The powerful part of this is that he can actually see AND hear the errors he makes, that he has no clue he’s making. I’ve already see him stopping more and asking himself if it sounds right. He’s using Raz Kids to monitor and check his progress as a reader. I’m getting goosebumps!

As I went through Course 1, and stretched myself and started to embrace being comfortable with being uncomfortable, I’m finding that I am learning right alongside my students. All of the tools that I’m asking and expecting them to use, I am using them myself, not just because of COETAIL, but because I’m striving to become a more connected educator. I am slowly starting to realize that the world of teaching internationally is so small- we are all connected somehow. Because of this connectedness, it is that much more important for us, as educators, to have a digital footprint. I have been trying and making more of an effort to even have a digital footprint, and am making baby steps in that direction. How does my digital footprint represent me as an educator?