February 06, 2023
4 Ways to Help Students Develop a Positive Digital Footprint
It is critical for students to learn that their online activity can have a lasting impact on their futures.
A digital footprint is the trail of data and information left behind when using the internet to visit websites, post comments, like content, send and receive emails, video call, and conduct searches. In order to protect themselves from cybercriminals and keep their character intact for prospective colleges or employers, students should aim to develop a positive digital footprint, but may not always have the knowledge to do so. Schools can use Google Workspace for Education to build and foster those necessary skills.
1. Implement Advanced Security Settings
Technical staff can lay the groundwork for students' digital footprints by ensuring the infrastructure is secure from threats and safe to operate in. Activating 2-step verification for domain logins can exemplify to students how they should protect their own personal accounts from hackers and keep their private information from being accessed by the public. Also, utilizing content filters help students classify what websites are appropriate to visit for research and which ones aren’t.
2. Assign Digital Skills Training
Like any hardware or software, the internet is a tool that students must be trained to use effectively. To certify that students understand the importance of their digital footprint, administrators should begin each school year by requiring the completion of Google for Education’s Applied Digital Skills Lessons so they learn how to use search engines, avoid scammers, protect passwords, and identify cyberbullying.
3. Create an Online Community
Once students have acquired the necessary skills from learning modules, they should be given the opportunity to engage in practical application. Teachers can take advantage of Google Classroom by creating an online space for students to learn digital etiquette. By posting thoughts and responding with comments on the Stream page, students can experience what it means to interact with others while exhibiting the social and emotional values of respect and empathy.
4. Provide a Platform for Healthy Habits
A major aspect of a positive digital footprint is what we actively choose to share with the world. One of the most beneficial technology initiatives that schools should push is each student having an online portfolio. With Google Sites students can intentionally curate a collection of learning artifacts that showcase their accomplishments and appear in search results. This teaches students how to become self-guided thinkers and make sound decisions when publishing content on the internet.
Note: Turn on Google Takeout so students can utilize their portfolio for a period of time and take their work with them after graduation.