Friday, February 15, 2013

Your Name is On It: Teaching Students about Digital Footprints

At PETE&C this week I had a conversation with Ross Cooper and Christopher Tully about being careful about the content you publish that is attached to your name. That conversation got me thinking about the importance of teaching students that whatever they publish is shaping their digital identity. In the social media-driven world we live in, our students are so excited to share, which is a wonderful thing that shouldn't be squashed by making them fearful of publishing online. However, it is important for them to think about what they share because it all traces back to them. It is a powerful (and continual) conversation for teachers to have with their students instead of assuming they know. If our students don't control the content they put their name on, ultimately someone else will. The most important part of teaching about online reputations is teachers being models for their students through how they conduct themselves online. I believe this principle also extends beyond the digital world. That means reminding students that any assignments they turn in are a reflection on them and it is their responsibility to make sure all their work represents who they are. 

Here are some resources to get you started understanding and teaching digital identity:

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Power of Teachers' Collective Voices

Image by HowardLake

This semester I'm taking a class on advocacy and it is expanding my understanding of what advocacy entails. I am learning that being an advocate has many features to it. An advocate is more than someone who speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves. Advocates:
  • build relationships with others
  • plead the cause on behalf of others and are persuasive
  • give information to educators, legislators, elected officials, and decision-makers with the hope of influencing them to join their cause
  • identify problems that need to be addressed, contact legislators, and encourage them to guide the bill through the legislative process

How powerful is that! As educators, our collective voice has the power to set change in motion. So many educators have powerful stories that our government officials need to hear. Who is a better expert on student learning than those who facilitate that learning everyday?

I am passionate about student access to technology. Not technology for technology sake but the appropriate and meaningful use of technology to support connected, hands-on, student-centered learning. I am passionate about making the four walls of the classroom invisible and allowing students to teach and learn from students & teachers all over the world. It has nothing to do with competing with children from other countries but equipping ALL students with the necessary tools to do their best work everyday and evolve as learners.

Share the same passion? What are some ways that you can get involved?
  1. Find out who your elected officials are. Two resources to help you do that are and
  2. Email in support of educational technology at
  3. Join your local ed tech organization to find out what they're doing at the state level
  4. Browse ISTE's advocacy resources including their templates and starter kits and share them with your teachers, staff, and administrators

In the comments section, share what you're passionate about and how you plan to advocate for your students in 2013.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Distinguished Educator, Distinguished Community

This week I submitted my application to join the Apple Distinguished Educator class of 2013. After weeks of planning and sleepless nights working on my application, it was finished and ready to be submitted. I submitted my application and this screen appeared:

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, the magnitude of what I had just done. This moment was a year and a half in the making. Ever since I followed my first institute on Twitter in 2011, I knew that something was happening in education I had never seen before and I couldn't wait until it was my turn to apply. No matter what happens, many of them are already a part of my network. They teach me something new every single day whether they mean to or not. They inspire me with their creativity and fearlessness. They challenge me to be more for my students and bring my best everyday. I consider many of them colleagues and trusted friends. I am grateful that they share what they learn so I can learn along with them. I am privileged to have some of the most innovative people I have ever met in my learning network.