Everywhere I turn these days I see more and more about digital footprints. Manage it. Know what it is. Maybe this idea needs a bit of refinement. Maybe it doesn't realize that a person's digital footprint may soon be the credential you craft to be more than a reliable image of your digital self. It will become something bigger.
An idea that is similar to footprint and probably has tools that will make sure the footprint you leave behind is a good one.....I've been working on this idea of a digital passport so students can demonstrate their mastery of basic skills so that I can trust them. Yes I said trust them. I've been writing about this idea and how to develop student roles that support this new kind of responsibility that goes beyond knowing which toolbar to use.
Related to the idea of earning digital passport stamps, I read that Mozilla is developing Open Badges that document the mastery of content, too. The writer tells us that the badges won't be stamps...they'll actually contain metadata which documents the institution that is certifying the knowledge that the bearer has. That's a pretty interesting idea....because it heightens the idea that learners are in charge of their own destiny; deciding where to go to find what they need, learning it and convincing the institution that they've "got it".
I really like this notion.
It does have implications for me as a middle school teacher. Maybe well beyond the basic idea that brought me to Open Badges....more than digital footprints, students are going to have to be self-directed, motivated by their own questions and capable of sustained work apart from a formal brick and mortar building. That idea gives way to the idea of flexible learning groups and spaces....joining together with a set of people to accomplish something everyone deems as desirable until it's done. Moving onto another set of people and defining a new space....possibly keeping some people you meet along the way as part of your personal learning network.
How will our traditional K12 schools cope this idea that learning is not constrained by spaces and by having sole authority of keepers of the knowledge? Not to dwell on the footprint much longer....but really will it become more like a trail of footprints that mark the journey someone has been through that leads off into the sunset?
Photo used under CC license and original can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/33267113@N08/4367204563/