When I was younger and I wanted to find someone's address/phone number I had to pull out this BIG yellow book that had HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of pages! Of course it was alphabetized - thank goodness! The only information I could find is name, address and phone number. It didn't tell me what they did for a living, what committees they served on, what their children's names were, who they were married to, etc. You had to HUNT for all of that information!
In the lines of teaching good digital citizenship to my own children I began to wonder - what does my digital footprint look like? Now, some of you are thinking "What the heck is a digital footprint?"
When you step in mud and continue walking what follows you? Your muddy footprints. You see footprints in the sand, after stepping in water and even tires leave a print (not a footprint but you get the picture). These footprints can show you where you have been and where you ended up. A digital footprint is somewhat the same concept; but, it shows where you have been online and what you have been doing. A little scary, huh? As long as you practice GOOD DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP you should not be in the least bit concerned!
In the search for my own digital footprint I found pages upon pages of information on myself. However, I found one particular item that slipped under my radar. About a year ago an online education magazine contacted me through LinkedIn (one image in my footprint). They asked if I would have time to be interviewed about my college studies and how I ended up in the education field. Well - I did the interview and never heard anything. I even emailed the reporter but did not get a response. To my surprise - I found an online article about myself (kind of nicely done, too - made me see just what I have actually accomplished!).
When you begin searching your own digital footprint - what do you think you will find? Pictures, websites, accounts - what else? This is a great way to share with students, young & old, how what they put on the Internet is searchable!!! Make smart choices on what you choose to post and do online because it could be hurtful or beneficial later in life.
I was recently talking with a principal about PLC's and PLN's. During that discussion it made me realize a couple of things: 1) Both terms are new and some may not understand what they are and 2) the distinction between the two and how they are similar.
PLC: Personal Learning Community. I look at a PLC as a group you physically meet with to plan and collaborate. Your PLC can be within your own school or your own district. Some may say a PLC can also include individuals within the same demographic area.
PLN: Personal Learning Network. A PLN can reach individuals all over the world. You create a PLN by meeting individuals at conferences, attending webinars, following people on Twitter and many more ways.
You might wonder (just like a Web 2.0 tool) which is better. Well - both are quite useful/beneficial to everyone involved. You definitely need that PLC because you work together on curriculum mapping, lessons and more. You can use knowledge you gain from your PLN with your PLC.
My suggestion to you - join Twitter and start following education individuals/groups. Start expanding your PLN and share with your PLC! The more connections you make - the more you learn! The best teachers are teachers that want to keep learning!
I completed a research study on the fears and anxieties teacher face with technology in the classroom. The biggest fear that was mentioned was that the students would know more then they did. To be honest - that is a fact. Students/children in this generation have been born into this digital world. You go to stores, doctor's offices and other public places - how are children entertaining themselves while they wait? They are occupying their time with some form of digital technology. Children are texting, playing games, watching videos, creating videos or pictures or more. It amazes me to just watch my surroundings and see the constant flow of communication. Pictures uploaded to Instagram, status updates to Facebook and Twitter. It is an instantaneous world.
Bringing technology into the classroom is the best way to teach the right and wrong way for this generation to use what they have. It isn't about which fork to use first anymore but when is it appropriate to text and send pictures. It is the perfect time for differentiating instruction as well. I was once asked how I differentiated my instruction. At the time I was a technology teacher. My response was simple - I don't differentiate because my curriculum differentiated itself. If a student needed to do a presentation - it was my job to say create your presentation with any of the following tools. There are an abundance of tools for students to use.
This carries over to us educators. What is the best way to communicate with your PLC? There are WIKIS, websites, My Big Campus and so much more. Just pick one because it isn't any better than the next, it is just what you are comfortable with.
Being an educator simply means not being afraid to learn. Learning means you aren't afraid to make mistakes to see the changes in the world around you. Squash that so called fear and give it a try!
I am here to help you, my peers. I am new to the EVSC but certainly not new to technology. My time is to be shared between five different schools but don't let that scare you. I can help you virtually, one on one or in a group setting. I am more than happy to setup times during and after school - just complete the request form I have put on this website.