Saturday, September 20, 2014

Is a Professional Digital Presence Essential?

At the most recent #LuthEd chat on Twitter (every Monday night at 9 PM Eastern), I made the following comment in response to a question:

That brought forth the following response from a Lutheran education colleague whom I greatly respect:

That got me thinking deeper about the subject. As I look at our world today and the way ideas and shared and explored, I do think it is essential to have a positive digital presence. In fact, I am encouraging my own students to share their work and messages online in our Lights Academy program. But if I were in charge of a school, would I really not hire someone that was not intentional about their digital presence? If so, that would exclude someone like the colleague who responded to me -- someone who has not built this pattern into their professional work but who still has a great deal to offer students and colleagues -- someone who I certainly would not want to exclude.

Instead of focusing on one specific application of 21st century professional education skills, I thought about the questions I would ask a potential hire. These questions delve into the attitudes and professional behaviors I see as important today but avoid reference to any specific method of carrying out these behaviors. These questions include:
  • What are the resources in your Professional Learning Network (PLN)?
  • How often do you access your PLN?
  • Share specific examples of how your PLN has helped you improve your work with students.
  • What new ideas or strategies do you share with colleagues and other educators? How do you go about doing that?
  • What are you most passionate about in education? How will these passions benefit our schools and students?
  • How do you best support other colleagues and contribute to improvement in all forms of education?
  • What will you do to ensure that you teach for ten years instead of teaching one year ten different times?
  • How is PLN learning and growth tied to your Christian faith? Give examples.
In other words, I would be more interested in having teachers on my team that shared these values rather than being focused only on a specific way of carrying out these values. In that sense, I was wrong to focus only on one way to do this, but I still see these attitudes and aptitudes as essential for progressive educators.

What do you think? Is a digital presence essential for a progressive teacher? Share your thoughts as a comment to this post.

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