Educational stalking

Interesting to read of the English teacher who encourages their pupils to cyber-stalk strangers. It’s an excellent, practical lesson for them about just how much information people reveal about themselves online, often without considering the consequences.

Clarence Fisher explains his lesson:

Wanting to teach the kids in my class about concepts of digital footprint and online safety, I used three people well known from the edusphere as examples: Will Richardson, Jabiz Raisdana and Jeff Utecht. I introduced these three friends to the students in my class by giving them only a photo and a name. I simply told the kids in my class: find out all you can about these three guys.

The students made a list of places to search. They started with simply Google and then soon expanded to other places such as flickr, youtube, twitter, wordpress, linkedin, delicious and facebook. They expanded into a Yahoo domain search and searching other sites such as Soon their lists of information began to grow.

Take a look at his blog post to see the detail they uncovered and noted on their classroom flip-charts. Granted the stalking targets are people who have chosen to live in plain sight online for some time, but the exercise is still a very useful one. This is an example of just one:

201011130937.jpgStalk. Stalking. Stalkerish. These are words which have found their way from the news pages into everyday vocabulary.

At the irritating, but mostly harmless end of things, I’ve heard young people describing someone who won’t take being ignored lightly (posting to their Facebook wall when texts, emails and DMs have been ignored is described as “stalkerish”).

Slightly more blood-chillingly there are the encounters with strangers that remind us that living in public online is not something to take too lightly. Shea Sylvia’s account of an unsettling phonecallin a restaurant from an unknown other while eating at a restaurant, is a reminder for us all that geotagging out location openly may not always be a good idea.

What a fantastic way, then, this teacher has found to show young people how managing their web shadow (or digital footprint as he terms it) is something to take very seriously indeed.

Via Ewan McIntosh

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