Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Branding of Teachers


We’ve written about Why Teachers Should be Blogging or Glogging ? , and also posted about  Dr. Helen Barrett : ePortfolios with GoogleApps which is a great site on the use of Google Apps to create ePortfolios. In this connected world, actually ePortfolios for teachers are as important as for students.

We found a good post : “Brand You“( George Couros) from edSocialMedia.com . It’s licensed under Creative Commons . Here are some good points to share.

digital identity

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by ivanpw

Will “branding” yourself and creating a digital identity/footprint that is conducive with your teaching philosophy not only help your colleagues, but create more opportunities for yourself.  It was not too long ago that Forbes Magazine published a blog entry discussing how the traditional ”resume” will be replaced by an online presence.  One of the points in the article shared how, “job seeker passion has become the deciding factor in employment“, and I believe that would be tough to show in a resume.  Through a portfolio, this could be shown over and over again through stories and shared experiences of your teaching.

Steven W. Anderson just wrote a great post entitled, “Taking Care of Your Digital Self“, which talked about the importance of teachers creating their own digital footprint and the importance of them controlling what is out on the Internet about themselves, as opposed to someone else creating that identity for them. He makes the connection between students and teachers and their digital footprints:

Too often each year students find themselves in situations that could be easily avoided if they understood what a positive digital footprint is and how to manage it. The same thing with teachers. Many times I hear of teachers who flat out avoid any (or make a very strong attempt) to leave no trace on the web. While they might believe this strategy works, in essence it does not. School directories, webpages and others are online. Even kids use Rate My Teachers as a place to vent/praise about educators all over.

He summaried three quick reasons why branding(building ePortfolio) could be beneficial to any educator :

  1. Marketability – The idea of “teacherpreneur” is popping up more through my readings, and I believe that as educators, creating a digital footprint/identity through an online portfolio is a great way to not only share your accomplishments, but also have your voice heard and be an advocate for our profession.  Many are not interested in leaving their jobs and that is totally fine, but I have seen many fantastic educators all of a sudden not have a choice.  The difference between a resume and a digital footprint is I can make a resume in a few hours.  Digital footprints are created over a long period of time and have the ability to tell more of a story of a person; hopefully it is a good one.
  2. Open Reflection – There are so many great posts on why blogging is beneficial to educators, but to me, one of the biggest reasons creating a type of online portfolio is the opportunity to reflect on what you are doing so you can better understand how you are going to move forward.  For me, I do this through writing, but creating podcasts or videos is so easy for many, while also a great way to share your learning.  This does not only apply to education, but probably any profession.
  3. Understanding of  digital footprint – So the above two reasons may not have any appeal to you. Fair enough.  The thing is they will mean a lot to your students in the very near future, if they haven’t already had an impact.  Students right now are creating their digital footprint whether we like it or not, so it is important to have an understanding of how this can be done, while also ensuring that what is created would be deemed positive by potential employers.  I remember not too long ago, I had an interview where a portfolio was mandatory to bring to the meeting.  The problem was, I didn’t have one.  I whipped up a digital portfolio after many hours of work, but it truly did not show all that I had done in my career, nor did it connect any of my own ideas.  It definitely could have been a better representation of my work if it was done over time, as opposed to something simply thrown together.  To ‘teach’ anything, I believe we have to immerse ourselves in it one way or the other to have a full understanding.

ePortfolio is actually like the digital storytelling about who you are, what you did, what you think and what you will be. Not only a good online branding can give you advantage in your digital identity, all the content from you could resonate with others with silimar perspectives, attract someone looking for your profession, or benefit someone learning from your sharing. On the other side, from the example of “Rate My Teachers”, if you aren’t controlling your footprint, others are. You can get tips of how to start it in Taking Care of Your Digital Self“.

If you need more resources on teaching Digital Literacy, check here.

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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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