Professionalism in a Digital Age

Last week I presented to our district faculty on ‘Professionalism in a Digital Age’. This presentation focused on having my fellow educators think about social media, digital communication, and how they shape and mold our digital footprint. My main message was  simply to think before you send, submit, or update anything digitally. As educators we are put on a higher moral pedestal (for good or for bad). Because of that we need to think before we put our thoughts, pictures, and ideas out on the web.  The message is not to not be involved in our digital world, but rather to think about your purpose and to act professionally. We also discussed the need to know your privacy settings on social media sites and to think again about your purpose before you friend others.

As a district we are suggesting to our staff not to friend students, although we don’t have a direct policy regarding this. I know that some of my readers, and many in my PLN would say that is limiting a potentially great tool for our educators. I’m not suggesting that educators can’t use facebook as an educational tool, but rather that it is very complicated and due to changes in privacy settings very difficult to keep personal and professional lives separate. A way around this would be to create a group page for your students, and have them join that page. This can be done without friending students. The main idea is that we need to always think of our purpose first. What is your purpose for using social media. With that purpose in mind you can then determine the tool that best fits that purpose and then determine other logistics that come with that tool and purpose.

We also talked about  how important it is to build a positive digital footprint, and how to help students build their digital footprint as well. As educators it is our responsibility to model appropriate digital behavior and teach our students proper netiquette so they can also have a positive digital footprint.

To view my presentation, check out my prezi.

3 thoughts on “Professionalism in a Digital Age

  1. Dodie,

    You are right. When looking at the Big Picture of online life, being a “public servant” changes the rules a bit and rightfully so.

    After listening to your presentation I was very curious at the conversations among the staff that would take place afterward. My initial thoughts were that it would push teachers further away from using the tools and push teachers further away from creating their own PLN’s. However, I think the opposite happened.

    First of all, the discussions on technology were palpable. Conversations that started out as a joke about checking Facebook privacy settings lead to more discussions about appropriate use of online tools.

    Your presentation has created a platform for discussion for all of us. You’ve asked, “How can we be professional in a digital world?” It is a fantastic question with a complicated answer…but at least we are talking about it.

    Great job Dodie! Keep blazing the path for us.

    1. Thanks John for your comments, I agree the discussion is very important and hopefully we can continue to encourage others to see the value, as well as know the cautions as well.
      I’m glad to hear that the presentation didn’t turn people away from the digital world, since that definitely wasn’t my intention.
      Thanks again and keep the discussion going in the schools.

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