Digital Dossier

This webquest is the property of Amy Hisson. It was copied and borrowed from <> and has been modified to meet the digital needs of our middle school students. All credits go to Amy Hisson.


Description: This Webquest aims to teach middle school students about digital footprints. Students will learn:

    How a digital footprint is created,

    How a digital footprint can affect them, 

    What makes a positive or negative digital footprint,

    How to monitor their digital footprint.

Grade Level: 8th Grade

Curriculum: Technology

Keywords: digital footprint, digital dossier, digital literacy, Youtube, Google


What kind of impact could living in a digital world have in my life - personally, socially, and/or professionally?

How could my interaction with the internet and my online activity affect me in 5, 10, or 20 years?

What things should I know about when interacting on social networks and data sharing with my friends?


Everytime we get online and everywhere we go on the Internet we leave our mark - a digital footprint. As we use or move through electronic environments, we leave collectable traces that make up our digital footprint.

Everything we do online is accumulated into a digital dossier that is traceable by others. Some is content we actively volunteer—like our Facebook profiles. Other material is passive, such as the cookies a Website stores in our browser, the content our district collects about our use of their equipment, etc. All this data can be accumulated to build a profile of each and every one of us and of our behavior.

Did you know that your digital footprint starts before you are even born? How aware are you of your digital dossier? Watch the following video, which is a timeline of Andy's lifespan, to find out.

YouTube Video

"On the Internet a digital footprint is the word used to describe the trail, traces or "footprints" that people leave online. This is information transmitted online, such as forum registration, e-mails and attachments, uploading videos or digital images and any other form of transmission of information — all of which leaves traces of personal information about yourself available to others online." (Webopedia, 2013)

"Reputations—and images—are fragile things that are easily maimed and difficult to restore...and have a substantial impact on individuals." (Hengstler, 2011)

You have been chosen by the school as being the top technology students. The school has put you in charge of researching what a digital footprint is and how it can cause adverse effects.

You will use your findings to create a digital dossier of yourself on your own website. In addition, your webpage should also raise awareness concerning the effects of digital footprints. These webpages will be linked from your teachers classroom website so students, staff, families, and visitors will see them.

While working on this assignment you should keep the following questions in mind.
  1. Why do you think others would Google you?
  2. How can a digital footprint cause adverse effects?
  3. What does your digital footprint say about you?
  4. Does the content you post online approved by your parents, grandparents, future colleges and employers?
  5. What can you do to ensure that your digital footprint is a positive one?

Your tasks will include: 
  1. Researching how a digital footprint can cause adverse consequences, how to monitor your digital footprint, and how to improve your digital footprint. 
  2. Analyze your own digital footprint.
  3. Brainstorm and map out the most important characteristics pertaining to you. 
  4. Create a digital dossier that illustrates these concepts, which will be shared with the entire school community.
  5. Write a reflection demonstrating what you have learned from this assignment.



As you are going through the process, be sure to fill in the Digital Footprint worksheet (see below). This will be turned in at the end of the project.

Watch this video: Common Sense Media: Digital Footprint Intro

Then, watch this video: Your Digital Footprint: The what, why, and how of your everlasting digital breadcrumbs

Listen to the following podcast.
    Read the following articles:
    Watch the following videos:
    Read the following articles:

    1. Check out these monitoring tools:

    Here are some basics to get you started in discovering what your general footprint is on the internet.  Start your personal discovery and begin reflecting on the questions below. 

    1. Google Yourself - Start in the obvious way and just Google yourself by typing your name into Google’s search box in whatever way(s) someone doing a search about you might i.e. John Smith, teacher. Take a look at what you see.

    2. People Searches - There are several people searches.  Are you listed?  Here are some common ones to check:
    4. Now that you have analyzed your own digital footprint, reflect on the following questions:
      • What are you proud of?
      • What are you surprised to see?  
      • Is there anything you are embarrassed about?
      • What might you want to change or do in the future to ensure your footprint accurately represents the picture you want to convey?

    Combine all the important concepts surrounding digital footprints. Create your digital dossier in Google Sites. Be creative. Once completed, copy/paste the website URL next to your name on the share website link document.

    Your digital dossier should reflect your understanding of:
    What a digital footprint is?
    How your digital footprint can affect you socially, personally, and professionally?
    How to create a positive digital footprint.

    Check the grading rubric below so you understand the grading criteria for your digital footprint awareness.

    Plan out your digital dossier by filling out "Designing My Digital Footprint" (see Digital Footprint worksheet). This worksheet will be turned in at the end of the project through Google Classroom. You should specifically state the positive characteristics for your digital dossier. List four characteristics. Give examples that will support each characteristic.  

    Example of Student Learning Portfolio
            Ian Cluett

    You may use "public domain" images. These images should reflect your main characteristics. Be sure to add in a caption for each image. All images need a properly formatted bibliography (works cited) section which should be added at the bottom of your webpage.

    Here are some website for public domain images:

     Open Google Sites


     Create a Website


    Entering Content on a Webpage


    Add a Webpage


     Insert an Artifact from Google Drive


    Customizing your Website with Themes or Colors


    Embed Prezi onto Webpage 


    Embed .pdf onto Webpage
    [Lucidpress Project]


     Get Shareable Link to your Website


     Add Your Website Link to
    Digital Dossier Website Link Document


    Watch the video to see how to make a Google Site:

    YouTube Video

    Digital Dossier.docx

    Once your digital dossier is completed, please copy/paste the url address of your webpage to on the Website Link page (located in Google Classroom). You will need to turn in your worksheet and a reflection to complete this project. Have fun with this project, be creative, and be POSITIVE!

    Digital Dossier Rubric

    Digital Dossier & Learning Portfolio Rubric

    Middle School Reflection Guide


    Essential Question: What was Middle School like and how does this Digital Dossier represent that for you?

    Type and share a 2-3 double-space page reflect of your middle school career and how you have demonstrated this through your digital dossier. Include a positive explanations.

    Check the grading rubric below so you understand the grading criteria for your digital footprint reflection.

    Reflection Paper Rubric

    Level 3
    Level 2
    Level 1
     Content & Development Content is comprehensive, accurate, and appropriate.
    Major points are stated clearly and are well supported. .
    Content and purpose of the writing are clear. 
    Content is not comprehensive and /or appropriate.
    Major points are addressed, but not well supported. 
    Content is inconsistent with regard to purpose and clarity of thought. 
    Content is incomplete.
    Major points are not clear and /or appropriate. 
     Organization & Structure Structure of the paragraphs are clear and easy to follow. Structure of the paragraphs are not easy to follow. Paragraph transitions need improvement. Organization and structure detract from the message. Paragraph is disjointed and lacks transition of thoughts. 
    Format  Paper follows designated guidelines. Paper is the appropriate length as described for the assignment.

    Paper follows most guidelines. Paper is over/ under word length.

    Paper lacks many elements of correct formatting.  Paragraph is inadequate in length.
    Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling 
    There are no errors in grammar, mechanics, and/or spelling.

    There are few errors in grammar, mechanics, and/or spelling, but they do not interfere with understanding.
    There are numerous errors in grammar, mechanics, and/or spelling.


    By now you should have a good idea of what a Digital Footprint is , what the consequences are of having a positive and negative footprint, and how to monitor your Digital Footprint. 

    To end this project, watch the following video:

    Additional Resources

    Pew Internet & American Life Research on Digital Footprints - In addition to providing national telephone survey data, this report includes quotes from online survey respondents as well as experts in the fields of privacy, online identity management and search.

    ASCD Publication - Footprints in the Digital Age - ASCD is a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. ASCD’s innovative solutions promote the success of each child.

    Digital Footprints: What Educators Need to Know - "David Jakes has spent 27 years in education as a teacher, staff developer, and technology coordinator. From his first Macintosh Classic to his current iPad and Chromebook, he has witnessed firsthand the changes in education that educational technology has empowered. Jakes shares this knowledge as a frequent speaker at technology conferences across the United States, and has spoken in Canada, Europe, and China." (Google in Education Summits 2013-2014 Tour)

    Commonsense Media - The nation's leading independent nonprofit advocating for kids. Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.

    My Digital Footprint - A free online book. A two-sided digital business model where your privacy will be someone else's business!


    Google in Education Summits 2013-2014 Tour (n.d.). David Jakes - 2013-03-27 Google Apps for Education Illinois Summit. Retrieved from

    Hengstler, J.  (2011). "Managing Your Digital Footprint: Ostriches v. Eagles".(2011). In S. Hirtz & K. Kelly (Eds.), Education for a Digital World 2.0 (2nd ed.) (Vol. 1, Part One: Emerging technologies and practices). Open School/Crown Publications: Queen's Printer for British Columbia, Canada.

    iRubric: Poster and Presentation Rubric - W99698: RCampus. (n.d.). Retrieved from

    Webopedia (2013). What is digital footprint? - A Word Definition From the Webopedia Computer Dictionary. In Webopedia. Retrieved from



    Ms. Craig's character was created using Bitstrips - Comics starring YOU and your Friends -

    Celeste Craig,
    May 8, 2015, 11:25 AM
    Celeste Craig,
    May 8, 2015, 10:38 AM