Why educators need a professional online presence and how to do it!

Today marks the start of Connected Educator Month. As I was connecting online, this SlideShare caught my eye and is about the need for teachers to create and curate their professional online presence. Until 2 years ago, I was not only a skeptic of social media, I did all that I could to hide my online profile. I wasn’t on Twitter or LinkedIn and my Facebook settings were set to full strength (well those still are, but that is not my professional persona).

I took the leap into Twitter at the annual CUE conference 2013 in Palm Springs. Since that day, I have only looked forward and continued to build my professional persona and presence online. I have built a Professional Learning Network through Twitter that is an invaluable resource and I attend weekly Twitter chats on topics that interest me. I continue to make connections through LinkedIn and join groups and discussions. I’m on about.me, follr, and have checked out my Kred and Klout scores.

My interactions online through social media have taught me how vitally important it is to involve the students in using these tools appropriately to develop their professional profiles. My students now have Twitter accounts, are involved in KQED Do Now chats, and publish their own websites/digital portfolios. My department even started a blog, Beyond the Microscope, together!

We live in a digital world where people can and do search online to find out about you. The goal is then to develop and present the person that you want others to view. As a professional educator, this means I want there to be links to my digital resume, presentations I give, and what is going on in my classrooms. My students should also be posting the same types of information along with examples of the work they create to share with prospective colleges and employers. Educators must lead by example by being involved in social media in appropriate ways, learning how to manage the content and finding meaning in the interactions, for that is exactly what we want our students to do.

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