Your online presence is an extension to your CV, so use it proactively to promote a positive image to people who look you up.
It’s about what you publish and share as well as what you read and consume. Who knows where it could take you?
Follow policy makers, professors, publications and teachers on Twitter to keep in touch with the latest educational policies and ideas. You can search for them from the Twitter homepage. Read their recent tweets and if they’re interesting, click the ‘follow’ button. You could look at who they are following to find more interesting people.
A good place to start on Twitter is #UKEdChat, with a weekly online discussion about pedagogy and improvement in teaching. You can start by reading other people’s posts. You don’t have to join in to start with, but remember that, when you do, be professional, polite and interested. Eventually you may find yourself in deep discussion with colleagues and experts from around the world. This will add to your academic studies by encouraging you to consider different points of view and contribute to your practice in schools and settings through the sharing of practical ideas and resources.
- Look up teachers and educational professionals on Twitter (give examples). You don’t need to create an account to do this, but you may wish to. Read the kinds of things they tweet about and notice the language they use and the way others respond. You could also look up specific topics that interest you (such as NQT experiences, school budget cuts, gender and learning, differentiation, outdoor learning etc) and read the range of discussions and responses. Notice who takes part (from teachers and parents to international experts such as Sir Ken Robinson and organisations such as the DfE and NFER), where they are located and the way in which people interact using professional, but usually informal, language.
- If you have found Twitter interesting and stimulating, create an account. Remember to use a professional username that doesn’t give away too much personal information. You could look at other teachers’ usernames for inspiration. It can be humorous and indicate something about your interests or personality. Follow a few people of interest and check who they follow for further inspiration. You could start by retweeting ideas that chime with your own opinions or just sharing useful websites and resources. Tom Barrett has some good advice for getting started as a teacher using Twitter.
- Start tweeting your own ideas and taking part in discussions such as UKEdChat.
- It’s worth keeping an eye on Twitter on a regular basis, but don’t try to read all tweets of everyone you follow. It gets unmanageable very quickly.
Lots of teachers and educational professionals have developed a significant online presence by publishing their own blogs. The content varies from classroom tips and ideas to deeper philosophical reflections, debates and research findings. For some it has led to exciting opportunities such as speaking at or organising Teachmeets, giving presentations and keynotes at conferences or even travelling around the world providing training and professional development. Reading blog posts is a great way to keep up to date and engage with new ideas. You can also leave comments (remembering to use professional language at all times of course) and you may find yourself in debate with the author and other readers of the blog.
If you have your own interests and passions you’d like to share or if you find it helpful to write reflections on your experiences, you may want to set up your own blog.
- Read teachers’ and educational blogs such as Lee Parkinson, Caroline Breyley, Ian Rockey and Westwood with Iford Primary School, Emma Barker, Oliver Quinlan and Keith Ansell. Notice the themes they choose to write about and the language and tone they adopt. If a blog really interests you, you can usually subscribe so that you receive an email alerting you to new posts. You can also leave comments on blogs and begin to interact with the author and other readers. Make sure you stick to professional and positive language if you decide to leave any comments or engage in discussion. Comments are usually moderated by the author.
- You could set up your own blog using a simple, free tool such as Blogger or Wordpress. Some teachers and educational professionals find this a helpful way of recording and reflecting on their experiences and ideas. It may focus on a specific theme or interest or may be more wide ranging in the educational topics it covers. As it develops, it will form a record of your developing ideas and understanding, almost like a portfolio, and it could form part of future job applications and presentations. Remember to remain professional in your language and tone throughout and maintain the anonymity of any schools, colleagues or pupils.