While many educators are spot on in their efforts to teach students to be good digital citizens, they sometimes forget to apply those lessons to themselves.
Teachers have digital identities of their own to nurture and maintain, says Nancy Penchev, iLab and coding instructor at Sheck Hallel Community School in North Miami Beach, Florida. She encourages educators to be just as aware of their online presence as they tell students to be.
One tip is to establish both professional and personal social media accounts and keep them separate by using different platforms for each – say Twitter for professional posts and Facebook for personal. “Then, don’t cross that boundary, especially if you have parents who are following you.”
And if your posts will include photos of students or student work, a head’s up to administrators and parents is also a good idea – and another opportunity to share about digital citizenship with an even broader audience.
Penchev provides these tips for the kind of positive posts teachers should strive for:
What’s working. Share examples of student work that show what’s resonating with students in your classroom. Penchev says it’s not bragging, it’s exposing the proven successes so other educators can benefit.
What’s not. There will be classroom fails. Share those, too, and seek feedback on how you could improve the lesson or project next time.
Tribe-finders. It can be lonely when you’re the only one in a particular role on campus. If you’re the only coding teacher or iLab leader for example, the case for Penchev, create posts about your role that will help you find your tribe.
Student leadership examples. Start sending the message that students can lead by sharing about student-led clubs or anything students are doing that puts them in a leadership position. Penchev identifies student leaders as soon as second grade and writes about their efforts as examples of student ownership.
Awe-inspirers. Students are doing amazing things and social media posts are an exceptional way to tell about them. From maker projects to student broadcasts to project-based learning, show student creation and learning in action to prove that students don’t need a recipe, they need the opportunity to design and create.
Important inquiries. Got questions that need immediate answers, say about an edtech resource or an innovative way of teaching a concept? Post your questions on social media to get the solutions rolling in.
Positive trends in education. Trending positive in education is a movement of it’s own. Join in by posting about the positive things you’re seeing, like amazing acts of kindness, good deeds done by students or way students are giving back in the community.
The bigger picture. Share student work beyond your own classroom. Penchev levels up on sharing student work by posting photos of bulletin boards and projects from other classrooms at her school.
Digital resume builders. Conference attendance, successful lessons, new edtech tools you’ve discovered and blog posts are all fodder for building your digital resume. Share out what you’re doing, creating and experiencing across your professional life.
ISTE members looking for a deep dive into best practices in social media can watch the ISTE Professional Learning Series webinar “Social Media as an Educator: Modeling Digital Citizenship Daily – Professionally and Personally.”