By combining the concepts of privacy, big data, and digital footprints related to the field of education, the current thesis demonstrated that decisions about the use of particular software tools have a societal relevance. Decisions must not only be based on juridical or economical criteria but must also include additional aspects, such as individual, cultural, and moral perceptions in regard of privacy.
This work is unique in developing a method for the evaluation of digital footprints. Based on the state of art of research and the findings from this study, a model was developed and proposed that operationalizes how particular digital tools and services can be evaluated in regard of their contribution to the digital footprints of an individual. By virtue of the ease in using the model, called "Digital Footprint Estimation Model," individuals can better reflect upon the effects of digital tools. The model can further assist decision makers, like educational authorities or teachers, to choose between alternative products and can serve as suggestion for further development of acceptable applications. For this purpose, the results of this research have been embodied in a practical application.
Through a sequential explanatory mixed methods study, the privacy attitude, perceived usefulness of digital tools, digital footprint awareness, digital footprint experience and digital footprint practice of Austrian teachers in regard of demographic variables and the use of particular software tools were investigated. Unlike previous studies, this study also scrutinized the relationships among the variables of the digital footprint, so this study made a significant contribution to the concept of the digital footprint.
The study represents a valuable contribution to practice, as it derives recommendations for action for the Austrian school system based on the qualitative and quantitative results.
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