(This is step seven in the free Teacher 2.0 course/"experience" at Mightybell - participate at https://mightybell.com/experiences/3ff5259e1c4d9948-Teacher-2-0.)

It can be scary to think about putting information or content about yourself online. Especially if you, as an educator, have evaluated others on the quality of their written output! You might be thinking, "What if I make a mistake, or spell something wrong, or say something dumb?"

There is a big change taking place in the world, as much of the verbal conversation that we had with others in the past is now going online. If you and I were to have a conversation, you would understand if I made a grammatical error. However, we are used to "printed" content being edited and proofread and vetted, and sometimes over-worry our online contributions or conversations.

This doesn't mean that we shouldn't be careful about what we write, or using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  But it does mean that we don't have to write a five-paragraph essay, or labor for hours over a paragraph, when we contribute online. It will take you a little bit of time to become comfortable writing and contributing online, and while it is easier for some than others, you will find a good "voice" for you.

Again, our good friend Angela Maiers has a helpful concept here.  Angela calls the combination of habits and attitudes "habitudes." 

  • What are the emotional barriers to building a PWP and contributing online?
  • What are the "habitudes" you (and your students) need to develop to feel comfortable contributing online? (For example, is "courage" needed to contribute online?)
  • As you look at how students interact in the online world, what "habitudes" will you need to help them learn participate well? (Thoughtfulness?  Sensitivity to others?)

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Wow.  This is an incredible articulation of the emotions that many of us have gone through, especially with the Web.  I'm so glad you chose to be so open about this.  Thank you.

When I created my PWP and began contributing online through Twitter and through my blog, there was a definite emotional barrier I needed to contend with. I was putting myself out there and sharing my thoughts on topics in a very public way. I had to work through the thoughts of "does this sound stupid?" "do I have something to offer?". Now that I have been contributing on line for awhile, I am much more comfortable and have gone from never putting a photo of myself on my profile page to always putting one there. 

I teach my students to have a respectful online presence and always strive to write well thought out, sensitive posts on our classroom blog. We started out small with just our class being able to contribute and now are participating in a global blog challenge. The students have learned the language and have grown considerably with their online writing skills. They now collaborate on their postings and are comfortable doing so. 

Courage is a necessity  when starting out on the adventure of having a PWP. It is worth the trip.

Contributing online (more than posting on Facebook or Twitter) is a frightening experience for many because these online footprints are forever. You don't know who if anyone is actually following your writings. What are they going to think once they read your work? Are they going to connect to it and comment on it? If so, what will they say? Will they tell others that they loved/hated it?

I believe that it is necessary to have all of Angela Maiers Classroom Habitudes in my classroom as my students increase their online presence.
http://www.angelamaiers.com/2008/10/classroom-hab-2.html
HABITUDE 1: IMAGINATION - Having the ability to create, build or make something is a powerful skill that only comes when one is imaginative.
HABITUDE 2: CURIOSITY - To really interact with the world, one should wonder how it works and how it can work better.
HABITUDE 3: PERSEVERANCE - Life will knock you down. Bad things do happen to good people. When the bad happens we must be able to persevere and move through it.
HABITUDE 4: SELF AWARENESS - Knowing you is essential to success and happiness. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and being able to adjust, push forward or pull back are key to being effective.
HABITUDE 5: COURAGE - Courage is a way of examining a situation that might make you uncomfortable and still being able to follow through with it despite the threat of danger.
HABITUDE 6: ADAPTABILITY - Nothing stays the same so we must be able to move along with them or get run over by them.

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