I’ve been teaching for 15 years…I’ve been learning my whole life. My passion is the process of teaching and learning together. I love learning from others, sharing ideas, and collaborating. It is a part of me…an extension that is so natural, that I don’t even think about it. Recently, I was sharing and collaborating with a group of teachers on twitter about a google maps lesson when a fellow teacher, Zoe Branigan-Pipe, wrote this on her blog about me:
Well – I feel pretty engaged. Today, I thank @mrspal, a colleague in Philly that I met through twitter and blogging. Just read her blog: http://middleschool101.edublogs.org and you will see that she has a passion for education that is viral. She is transparent in her teaching and makes it a priority to share and support others.
After reading her post “take a walk down memory lane”, an interactive, inquiry based activity using Google Streets View, she inspired me to try it out on my own students. Within the hour, she emailed me her lesson plan/student instruction sheet and seemed as excited as I was. Now that is open source, open content, free, creative commons, license free at its GREATEST.
This absolutely blew my mind. Zoe was able to see me as a person and a teacher within moments of our initial contact. I wondered if others could see me as well without ever meeting me in person…I really thought about how she was able to do that. When mulling this over in my head, I realized that everything I do online is an extension of my authentic self. My digital footprint truly represents the person I am in “real” life. So, what are the implications of this lightbulb moment?
- We need to be transparent in our web 2.0 lives in order for authentic learning and collaboration to occur.
- We need to make sure that our digital footprints are reflective of ourselves.
- We need to teach our students that it is vital to preserve their own digital footprints by being authentic and transparent.
- We need to be transparent in the classroom on a daily basis by being open, fair, accountable, and flexible.
- We need to be transparent in our learning. Our classrooms are not limited to the four walls that hold it up any longer. By collaborating and sharing, we are modeling transparency in learning for our students.
Sometimes it isn’t easy to step outside yourself to see what others see. I no longer see a divide between “real life” and “online life”. I am the same person…I am transparent. Thank you, Zoe, for reminding me of the importance of that.