Digital Footprint

Grade 8 | Informative | Source-Based
Source Lexile®: 920L-1190L | Learning Standards




There has been much discussion lately about the effects of a digital footprint. It is important for people to have a positive digital footprint for many reasons. In the sources that follow, you will research what a positive digital footprint is as well as how to create one. Your class is writing articles for the school newspaper on positive uses of technology.

Write an informative essay answering the following questions:

  • What is a positive digital footprint, and why is having one important?
  • What are the different ways in which students can create positive digital footprints?

Support the statements you make in your essay with evidence from the sources you read and viewed.



Source 1

"The Power of a Positive Digital Footprint for Students"

April 11, 2011 by jalger,


I was reading in the newspaper today about companies charging up to $50,000 offering online reputation management services. These companies work with small businesses or even individuals and suppress negative comments, bad photos or negative feedback. They do this by flooding search engines with articles, photos, comments and links that paint a more positive image about the business or person.

This got me thinking, maybe as teachers we need to show students how to create their own positive digital footprint and encourage them to do so. Until now my digital citizenship and cyber safety talks have focused on the dangers of a negative digital footprint. I have been promoting the “think before you post” message.


What are employers looking for online?

Employers are increasingly making use of Internet search engines to locate and evaluate online information about potential employees. Many recruitment agencies share lists of ten negative things which employers don’t want to see online. But what about positive things employers look for online?

This may include:

  • an indication of the applicant’s personality
  • online profile supports professional qualifications and conduct
  • good communication skills
  • creativity
  • groups which the applicant is participating in
  • do other people provide good references and comments about them
  • have they received any awards and accolades

A person’s online footprint is becoming an increasingly important part of their online brand. It makes sense that people should be promoting their brand (name) in a positive light. If someone is working hard, being creative, helping others or receiving awards, then surely promoting these skills and achievements online is a good thing. Students need to learn that using their real name online is not always a bad thing, it is part of creating a positive digital footprint that will be seen by others.



Opportunities to publish online with your name attached


Social Media

Social media like Facebook and Twitter can be used in a proactive way to develop a positive online presence. These tools allow anyone to collaborate and contribute in meaningful ways. Encouraging students to create or join groups which they are passionate about, highlights their interests and also allows them to network with like-minded people.



Blogging is an excellent way to showcase your interests and skills online. Attaching your name to engaging blog posts shows you’re passionate about a topic and can display your communicative skills. Students can blog once a week or even once every few months. Many websites like Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress allow anyone to set up a free blog. Intelligent and constructive comments on other people’s blogs with your name attached can also be appreciated by potential employers.


Web 2.0 applications

There is a vast range of web 2.0 applications like Youtube, Flickr, [and] Podomatic that allow anyone to share videos, images, and audio. Used in a smart way, these applications can be an excellent way to showcase students’ creativity and promote themselves and their work. Teachers can encourage students to put school work they are proud of online to showcase their skills.


Online Competitions

Encouraging students to enter online writing, photography, film, and digital media competitions is also a great way to help them build a positive online profile. Some competitions allow worldwide applicants and a quick Google search will usually provide competitions in different countries and states. Companies like Adobe and Microsoft often run design competitions for students and having their work and name published online is a great way to display talent and hard work. Teachers can even incorporate units of work at school to encourage students to enter these competitions.


Digital Resumes

It’s important to get students thinking about and practicing digital resumes as well as the traditional paper resume. Especially if a student wants to get a job in the growing field of digital media or design, then an online resume that showcases their skills and abilities to use different tools could be what gets them noticed. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network site and is also worth exploring.


Shaping your positive digital footprint

For a great example of a person who has shaped their positive digital footprint, do a search for George Couros. He is a school Principal in Alberta, Canada who has his own blog, Youtube channel, social media accounts and an online digital resume. All of these are done in a social, yet professional context.



Source 2

1. An Update: December 2014

Posted on November 22, 2014 by Angela


Hi! Welcome to Twenty Five Days to Make a Difference, a blog project that I started when I was in elementary school. It’s been a long time since I posted here. I’ll be eighteen soon, and right now, I’m deciding which college I’ll be going to next year. I’m interested in design and social entrepreneurship. I also like working with kids a lot. Although I’ve been quiet here, I’ve continued to do service work ever since I started this project. I’ve also helped other kids do the same by visiting classrooms and helping them start their own projects. This week, I began running workshops for kids who want to start their own Twenty Five Days to Make a Difference sorts of blogs, and I am starting a new challenge too for 2014. If you want to know more, you can visit my new site: 25xTwenty Five Days to Make a Difference. I hope to see you there!


2. Thank You for Spreading the Word!

Posted on April 1, 2009 by Angela


I want to thank everyone for participating in my blog carnival! I began reading all of your posts last night. I’m going to finish and leave comments for everyone tonight! I hope that everyone will visit the comments section of my post from yesterday. You can see who participated and follow the links back to their blogs too. This morning, I drew the name of the winner of the Flip Video Camera! I did this by drawing names of bloggers out of a bowl to keep it fair. My mom recorded it so everyone could see. I will need the winner to email your address to! Your camera is on its way!


3. Bar The R-Word

Posted on February 14, 2009 by Angela


Last week, I was in Idaho at the Special Olympics Youth Activation Summit. Well, when I was there, we talked a lot about how people use the word “retard” in really insensitive ways. We talked about how it effects [sic] other people, how much it hurts, and most important, how to STOP this from happening.

The r-word hurts. Even though many people are trying to keep others from saying it, it’s a big part of many kids’ vocabulary. I remember when we did our first session on trying to stop it from spreading, a man in our group said that it’s set in stone in our minds, and that some people say it without even trying to. I think that this is true, but horrible. I don’t think that it has to be, it just is.

We also talked about how the r-word is supposed to be for doctors to use. That’s how it was developed. It’s not acceptable that we turned something for medical uses into something that is an insult.

The Special Olympics’ site is raising awareness by asking others to make videos, write songs, or speak to others about the r-word. These are a couple videos I liked. In the next few weeks, I’m going to be doing some work to “curb the word” as my friend Noah’s mom says. I’ll let you know what I’m up to as I plan. In the meantime, tell me what you think kids can do to prevent others from using this word in such a negative way.

The New R-word is Respect!!


4. Thank You to Those Who Make a Difference!

Posted on January 20, 2009 by Angela


Over the last few weeks, a lot of people have been doing things to make a difference for an organization that I care about a lot. It’s called Compass House. During my December challenge, Kate Ellis and Theresa Gray each pledged to make a difference for them, and I was really grateful when they told me they were making some great donations. Mrs. VanEtten’s seventh graders also did a HUGE clothing drive for them too, which was really impressive AND inspiring.

I know I haven’t been blogging a lot lately. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do with my blog and with my service work. I’m learning more about the different ways in which people use blogs, and I have some ideas about what I want to do here for the next year. I like the idea of trying to use my blog as a way to share ideas for how people could do small things to make a difference for ANY cause.

Next month, I will be going to Idaho to take part in the Special Olympics World Games. There are so many great things that kids and grown ups can do to make a difference for this organization. I plan to use this month to blog about what I am learning about the Special Olympics. I also want to share some ideas that anyone can use if they want to make a difference for a cause they care about.



Source 3

"Creating Your Digital Footprint with Social Media" (video)