It would seem a new blogging schedule is starting to emerge. This going to school thing is forcing me to sit down with a glass of Shiraz in hand and hammer out a new blog post every Friday night. Not that I am complaining… I love Shiraz and I love Blogging, so here goes.
This weeks instalment is all about online identities and how it plays out as a connected educator. Bonnie Stewart dropped in as our guest moderator for this weeks #tiegrad class and shared some of her thoughts on what I found to be a riveting topic.
You can find out more about Bonnie and her Dissertation here: Scholars In The Open: Networked Identities Vs Institutional Identities
The discussion generated some very interesting questions about the ramifications of being a networked educator. For better or worse, teachers now have access to extraordinarily powerful tools with which to share their ideas and opinions about education. As a result, classroom teachers are changing the landscape of education in a way we have never seen before.
It was a discussion that went far beyond the usual spiel of “thou shalt not post pictures of your drunken escapades in Aruba last Christmas” It was a discussion about the consequences of letting a schmuck teacher such as myself, influence others in a way that was virtually impossible just a few short years ago.
This discussion was so interesting because it was about ME! I am living proof of the power of being a connected educator. Two(ish) years ago, I was just some guy who worked with at-risk kids. My influence hardly went beyond the confines of the staff room and even then my influence was negligible. The only reason my existence mattered was that I took up space around the lunch table. Then along came a my blog and a twitter account and whether it be warranted or not, all of a sudden I had influence that reached far beyond the small confines of our staff room.
Although I kinda realized it before, yesterday’s class got me thinking about my responsibility as a connected educator.
The questions we looked at revolved around the ramifications of being a connected teacher. What are my responsibilities and who should I answer to? We also got into how networked teachers are disrupting the traditional power structures in education and what the consequences could be?
These are the questions that frame what Stewart referred to as “Identities for a new ethos”. If I remember correctly, she also said it is a world for which societal norms have not yet been formed and as such we can sometimes get situations that look a wee bit like the Wild West where there is no Marshall in town to keep the gun slinging at bay… I paraphrase
Here are the significant questions I went away with. Anyone who has been following me for any length of time, will be able to figure out my answer to each so I would LOVE for you to chime in with your own answers to these questions. If you have a second please leave a comment and share your opinions/answers.
Questions to ponder for the connected teacher
What is the teachers place in the this new interconnected world?
How vocal should a teacher be on a social network?
Should connected teachers be expected to parrot their their school district’s party line?
Where is the line, how edgy or outspoken can a teacher be without being open to discipline?
Should your online identity stray from the person you are in the classroom?
Does a strong online presence threaten existing educational power structures and is that ok?