Web 2.0 Footprint

I was having a good time and feeling good about myself using Web 2.0 tools, until one day I Googled my user name on Twitter and found that everything I had been writing to specific people, groups, or tech forums was online for the world to read.  I then began the painstaking process of deleting my Twitter, LinkedIn, (and other) sites, just so that when someone did a Search, they would not have the free ride of reading my comments.

Kristen Plemon writes the following on “The Educators Royal Treatment”: 

We are in the age of the “wild Web” where anyone can easily publish content online for the masses. Students not only need to know how to protect themselves online from predators and scams, they must learn how to be good digital citizens and evaluate online sources to detect fact from fiction.

While an Internet filter is important, it shouldn’t be the only line of defense. You can teach students how to search for appropriate information, sort through the clutter, and make wise online decisions. Your guidance will ensure that they not only use their Web time more efficiently, but that they are less likely to stumble upon something that’s not meant for their eyes.

Students need to know that they are creating a digital footprint with everything they do on the Web, and that they may be judged by the content they create. Teach them to use the Web as a toolbox that contains tools that can help them further their goals and achieve success when mixed with effective communication skills. These tools, like any other, require practice to use well. The more practice, the more comfortable your students will become using these high‐tech tools.

A new eBook by netTrekker offers 10 tips for educators on teaching students how to protect themselves in today’s digital age (“10 Tips to Keep Students Safe in a Web 2.0 World”):

  1. Become familiar with potential Web 2.0 risks.
  2. Recognize that Web 2.0 is just a set of tools.
  3. Look at Web 2.0 as an extension of reality.
  4. Discuss which information to share, with whom and where.
  5. Help your students protect themselves with knowledge.
  6. Remind students that information posted online is archived.
  7. Encourage parents to monitor Web 2.0 use at home, including cell phones.
  8. Remind students that Web 2.0 isn’t all about them.
  9. Teach your students cyber ethics.
  10. Speak up and share what you know.

By monitoring the use of Web 2.0 tools, teaching by example and, when appropriate, controlling access, you will be better able to help your students succeed in the Web 2.0 world.

Generating online content and conversing via social media outlets are skills that are not only in high demand, they are becoming social norms. By educating students on both the benefits and risks of using the Web 2.0 tools, you are helping your students stay safe while honing skills that could impact their future level of success.

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