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Digital Identity | Exploring and Analyzing digital footprints | 6-8, 9-10, 11-12

Student Objective

Students will be able to:
1. explain what constitutes a digital identity
2. analyze and synthesize research
3. develop a visual representation of said research


Step 1: Conducting research on digital footprints

Students will each search the name of a different well-known local celebrity (e.g., news anchor, radio DJ, politician, car dealership owner, etc.) using multiple search engines (e.g., Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.) and conducting multiple types of searches (e.g., general content, images, videos, etc.). Consider having students use SearchAll: students can use this tool to locate information and content about their local celebrity using different search engines.

Step 2: Unpacking digital identities

Students should identify and summarize major topics that appear across search engines, such as the individual being part of charitable events, giving support to a specific cause, or even having a legal challenge of some kind.

Students will then create bar graphs to document their findings. Students can utilize MetaChart to create bar graphs and then download them, as required by the instructional idea.

Specifically, students’ graphs should include the number of times that their celebrity appeared on a general content search using different search engines along with the amount of different content (general hits, images, videos) identified by a single search engine.

Step 3: Sharing findings using technology

Students can then post their graphs and summaries of major topics on a collaborative board, so their classmates can view them.

Teachers can consider creating a Padlet board or a Dotstorming board. Students can then have students add their graphs and additional content to their board. Their classmates can then review the content and vote for the content that most resonates with them. Teachers can then use the results of this content with their students during a class conversation.

Step 4: Reflect and discuss

At this point, teachers can pose the following questions to students:

  1. Based on the amount of content shared in the graphs, which local celebrities are most popular?
  2. What makes the local celebrities famous? What type of content is most picked up by the media?
  3. Based on the data from the graphs and summaries of topics, what groups of people do you think are the biggest fans of the celebrities?

Teachers can then have a class discussion. As a follow-up activity, teachers can have students identify what actions they can take today to craft their digital identity in a way that will benefit them in both their professional and personal lives. Students can add these ideas as posts to the collaborative board.


This instructional idea requires students to first analyze the web-content related to a local celebrity, to help students understand the permanence of digital content as related to a person from their own community. This activates their schema related to the topic. The focus of the instructional idea then shifts to the students themselves by having them consider steps to craft their own digital identity.

EdTech used in this activity:

Alternative Ed Tech you could use:

Search All, Padlet, Meta-Chart