Teachers Online

A while back I postulated the idea that all teachers today should have some form of online presence. I had some varying reactions to my ideas and had to do some mental justification. Maybe I needed to clarify. By online presence, I did not mean that I envisaged all teachers with their own websites, weekly podcast or blog. There are much less effort-intensive options like social bookmarking or StartPages that still serve as jumping off points to access and collate the many worthy online resources that can be woven ino a teacher's daily practice. By using del.icio.us's Your Network feature, a teacher can tap into collective wisdom and choice using the digital version of "word of mouth." I suppose I did have utopian visions of a blog driven education sector where ideas and resources were freely exchanged and what I experience through this humble medium become commonplace for all of my colleagues.

But maybe Christian has a point.

With more and more educators wading into the blogging waters, it will invariably be harder to find the voices that matter (to me) and to obtain that precious new and fresh insight that will move me forward in my own professional learning. Just getting teachers blogging because they should? I don't think that the momentum is as great as Christian's post makes me feel so it could well be that by the time blogging becomes mainstream for educators (like e-mail now), the early adopters will be off using some other medium or platform to exchange ideas leaving blogs as mundane and everyday as mailing lists and lockdown forums. And yeah, I've certainly stated somewhere in my archived past, that if you are going to "do blogging" with your class, then you'd better have tasted the format for yourself, or just becomes another checklist item on an ICT continuum.

"Mmmm, blogs in Term One, we'll do wikis next, then in third term we might try podcasts..."

If it's about the needs of students, then maybe some of this web based learning is the cherry on the cake and as long as the teacher's providing the basic technology-lite cake, then their job is done. But if we are really doing our kids a dis-service by letting them explore cyberspace in their own time, possibly without guidance, creating digital histories that are hard nearly impossible to erase then teachers as a profession need to do better.

Maybe teachers don't need their own wikispace or Bebo account or have ever stepped into Second Life (I'll admit, I've tried that twice for less than five minutes each time!) but they DO need to know how to track information efficiently, they do need to know how everything potentially links up online, they do need to know that every keystroke is adding data to the machine, that every child they teach will be Googled for some future job or opportunity or what they bring to the classroom will be seen as less and less relevant.

Chris Harbeck put it beautifully last time in my comments:

It always is getting teachers to take the first step. Once that step has been taken the transformation can begin.

Here's to online transformation.

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