“You’ve got a website Sir?”
Yes I do, and Facebook, Twitter and quite a few other social media outlets. Some of which I allow to be public. However, before I go all Nathan Barley ‘self fulfilling media node’ then let me share with you the key line/learning point from all of my e safety lessons and staff training sessions. Concentrate now, here comes the science bit…
When you post something online, it’s ACTUALLY ON THE INTERNET.
(Well, technically the World Wide Web, but I’ll put the Computing pedantry on hold just this once.)
There, sorry for shouting but it is quite important. This story is the reason I’ve been compelled to post. I’m also lucky. I got to go to school, college and (especially) university pre-Facebook. Very dodgy hair.
The newest generation of teachers didn’t, nor did they have the benefit of learning from mistakes made in the digital arena by previous generations. They are the pioneers/lab rats depending on your point of view. It also seems increasingly easy to forget that the Web is only as private as you choose to make it, and even then less so than you think, so here’s my point.
We need to model digital citizenship for our learners.
There’s no point in being an ostrich, that horse is out of the bag, the cat is behind the cart etc etc… Have a blog, tweet, be on Facebook but if you choose to make it public then be nothing but professional and positive. Post your best stuff, celebrate successes, admit to failures in an ‘I’m going to learn form this’ manner and definitely definitely share resources and good practice.
Now for the really important bit – leave the arguments for non public arenas please. I’m absolutely sure that I don’t want to see my kids’ teachers engaged in a slanging match on social media. Think of how your 140 characters could look to others unaware of intended inflection, humour, or other underlying meaning. For your own sake too, you’ll probably get Googled pre-job interview.
So I encourage my classes to Google me! Risky, but I’ve taken precautions. They did once find a ‘Mr Colley’s fit’ Bebo group, but it was (predictably) about a different Mr Colley INA different school. However, it did spark some interesting chats about knowing what’s online about you.
I have a website (but you already knew that given that you’re on it!), I’m Mr Colley and it’s about teaching. My Twitter feed is the same, an extension of my professional life. If I want my learners to take their place in a digital society then I should try to give them an example of how to behave and leave a trail of good stuff for others to find. My personal online presence is well locked down, and even then I’m careful about what I post. Never the twain shall meet. In the wise words of Egon Spengler:
“Don’t cross the streams”.
I know I’m probably preaching to the converted here, but if like me you’re involved in any form of pastoral role or ITT then please pass on the advice. This needs to be more than an assembly and a few Computing lessons a year.