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

A personal web presence (PWP) is a site that tells other people about who you are. Depending on your age or habits, you can have very different responses to this kind of public openness! There are two really good reasons for setting up a PWP.

First, colleges are now asking  students for the link to their personal websites. This is a chance for students to manage their own online presences, rather than letting Facebook or a Google search represent them. Think of a PWP as an online portfolio or resume, and you can see how valuable this will be to a student--especially in a world where so many opportunities are now available to study or work on special interests or passions. Your students will need you to know how this is done, and to have you model it for them!

Second, this same world of opportunities around special interests and passions is not just for students! Many careers, including education, will now provide opportunities for those who thoughtfully showcase their interests and skills. One "non-promotional" way to think about a PWP is to show others how you might help them.

  • What PWP of an educator do you feel do a good job of representing him or her? (Feel free to list your own PWP!) 
  • What do you like about their PWP?
  • What do you think could be improved?
  • How do you feel this person chose to represent themselves on the Web? Is the PWP professional, personal, or both?
  • What features of this PWP would you copy, and which ones would you change?

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When I think about personal web presence, I don't think "portfolio".  I think about the footprints we leave all through the internet, and a great many of those might turn out to trip us up later in life (at least for students).  I participated in a webinar some time ago, sponsored by Athabasca University in Canada, and I was impressed by this thought:  students need some safe digital places to develop their ideas and identities.  They can build a controlled and well designed online presence, but data aggregation sites (from Google to spokeo) will provide a much scarier and possibly damaging image of an individual.  So I will get back on the track, and focus on the task as stated!  (sorry, couldn't resist the side note).

 

So I think that the main web presence "portals", so to speak, that I am familiar with are blogs.  I have seen a few that were done with wikis, but the power and attractiveness of gadgets/widgets would makes it hard for ME to choose a wiki format.  Lee Kohlbert and Vicki Davis use blogger.  Wes Fryer seems to use a static set of pages that link to a variety of dynamic sites presenting his content. Alan Levine, Silvia Tolisano, and David Warlick use wordpress.

 

I think the best sites allow you to showcase serial content (so blog posts with text, images, and/or video work well for this), allow for the import of rss feeds of your content (widgets allow you to bring in streams of tweets, bookmarks, flickr photos, and even Facebook statuses), and that allow for "fun" content--a voki, clustrmaps, other embeddable content.  I think the site must allow for static information pages--about, bios, forms for collecting information.  And it should allow you to share files--tutorials, presentations, posters, etc.  And all this works best when you have organizational helps--tabs, links, archives, search fields, tag clouds, etc.--to help users find content after you have amassed a significant amount.

 

Of all the sites I have seen, I probably like Silvia Tolisano's the best.  She has a lot of good content, it is attractively presented, a mix of text/graphic/video, and regularly updated.  I don't think there is much on her site that is not professional, and she has some content that is collaboratively produced as well as content that she produces herself.  She even has a mobile version!  But a LARGE monitor gets the most out of this site!

Wow, Silvia's site is great, A.T. - thank you for sharing! I am subscribed. Blogs are still my favorite thing to find online; I love blogging and I really value what I learn from other people's blogs. Often I read the blogs in a blog reader (I use Google Reader) and forget how cool the design of the blog itself is.

I'm a long-time and loyal user of Blogger.com - they have really improved their design options over the past couple of years, and I love that they have an automatic mobile version; I don't have to do anything for my blogs to be optimized for viewing on a mobile device. Sometimes I'll look at one of my blogs on my iPodTouch and think, WOW, how did I do that...? But of course, ha ha, I didn't do it - the Blogger genie behind the scenes takes my content and makes it happy for mobile viewing.

Years ago I hired a student to build a tool for me to create javascript widgets of random- and date-based content. You can see lots of these widgets in my main blog here: Bestiaria Latina. One of the reasons I love Blogger is that it is so javascript friendly. PBWorks and WikiSpaces are also very javascript-friendly, and I share my widgets with anyone who wants to use them. The tool for creating them is called RotateContent.com and I have to say that it is REALLY cool (the student who built it has gone on to become a WordPress guru based in the Dallas area; Randy Hoyt). Anyway, if you want to build some dynamic widgets but don't know how to program in javascript (I am clueless about such things!), RotateContent.com works great. One of my favorite things to do when I have some free time over a weekend or during the holidays is to build more widgets! :-)

Laura, thank you for the RotateContent! I plan to use that. I like the 3-column content of your page; it makes great use of the white space. And I also like Blogger but haven't been using it as long as you, so I can't make a comparison of then and now. I've been using Kidblog with my students, which allows some good privacy settings. My older students use the Announcements page in Sites to blog this year.

Leanna, what a coincidence - I was just looking at your Google Site (I got an email notification that you had posted something here). Your site looks GREAT.

About Rotate Content: One of the disadvantages of GoogleSites is that it does not allow javascript: boo! They will let you include javascript IF you convert that javascript to a GoogleGadget, which is not so hard... but for me it's more trouble than it is worth. But javascripts work great in Blogger, in PBWorks and in WikiSpaces, and on the homepage of a Ning. I try to keep track of good web publishing spaces that are javascript-friendly.

I really like how you are using subpages to organize the GoogleSite navigation. My students build very simple sites with GoogleSites, usually just 6 pages or so, which means I have not really explored the navigation options in detail. Plus you added so much fun stuff to the sidebar! I have bookmarked your site to use as an example with my students who are interested in web publishing so that they can see how much more can be done with GoogleSites than the very simple use we make of it in my classes.

If you are curious, here are the kinds of sites my students do - since most of them have never had a website of their own, it is a really good experience for them! :-)

Myth-Folklore Student Projects

I like to think of the PWP as a balance to the footprint--a way of taking some control of how you are represented online.  Weebly is really a great product, and it does allow students to create safe attempts that aren't public until they want them to.

Over time keeping up a PWP is a challenge. Or, I guess, a burden. I've left a whole trail of websites, blogs, wikis, profile pages, etc., and I think we will see more and more of that. To be honest, it doesn't bother me that much - yes, they get out of date and are incomplete but at least for me I don't feel like that is much different from outdated author blurbs that appear on book jackets, for example. When I first started building an online presence back in 1999, I was so naive... and the tools were so limited! People just getting started today are SO LUCKY at the great tools that are available. I don't have any regrets about my haphazard web presence (I'm not the world's most organized person anyway, ha ha)... but gosh, things are so much better now where you really can make use of different tools to build a presence with multimedia and all kinds of great stuff that were just a pipedream back in 1999.

If you Google my name, my main website, http://mythfolklore.net comes up, and the homepage does a decent job of showing my work. A reporter at WREX has been gaining on me, though… I wonder if she will displace me from the top of the Google results, ha ha. But then I'm all over the rest of the first page of results… so even if she takes top place, no harm done: people who want to find me can do so easily!

I encourage my students to do a Google search and to think about their web presence; I am very frustrated that my university does nothing to promote a web presence for its students and its graduates, and instead focuses on promoting a paranoid fear of Facebook. Rather than fearing Facebook, I think it's much better to promote a strong public web presence, and let that drown out any possible Facebook noise!

I don't update this page a lot, but if somebody lands here, it is a good way to learn what I do; it's very professional - I don't conduct my personal life online - that seems absolutely weird to me, to tell the truth... so I've never used Facebook - although I really like what Google+ is doing as a Facebook/Twitter alternative. I really like the way the Google Profile page is integrated with other Google tools I use as well as my public stream at Google+ ... eventually I would be quite happy if that Google Profile page because the nexus of my PWP.

 

You remind me so much of myself--except that Latin got left behind for me after high school.  However, my 8th-grade daughter is taking Latin and last night we memorized declensions for an hour!
Latin can be so much fun! I would guess most of the readers of my blog are people who did Latin in high school and/or college and have fond memories of it, even though they don't get to use Latin in their later lives, so this gives them a little dose of Latin to enjoy and refresh with! That is so cool that your daughter is doing Latin already in junior high. Excellent! :-)

Laura, I just realized (or, at least, just put into words) that what you have done with your various blogs -- and what Ann Martin and I are trying to do, on a somewhat different scale, with the Tres Columnae Project -- is all about providing opportunities ... opportunities for people to use Latin, to enjoy it, to learn or re-learn it, and to share the joy with others.

"To enjoy and refresh with!"  What a beautiful picture of authentic, engaging learning!

Steve, I hope your daughter is still enjoying Latin!  I would love to have her feedback -- and yours -- about The Tres Columnae Project.  I apologize for the transitional feeling of the current site!  We are currently migrating from Version Beta to the permanent version of the site, so you and she may wonder what happened to Lectiones II - IX if you visit the site in mid-December.  But everything should be in place and up to date before January 2012.

My PWP is undergoing some renovation, ever since I attended Steve's Teacher 2.0 workshop in Melbourne recently. I realised that when asked 'where do we look for your PWP Carole' I needed to be able to give one URL that was easy to say, easy to remember and easy to key in.
CoachCarole.net - watch this space. ...

What I am trying to do is amalgamate the pieces of me (loosely distributed on the web) into a cohesive 3D image of me, and to use such tools that provide the best format for each piece (a blogfor my thoughts and reflections; an eportfolio for my showcase and evidence; a communityfor my mentoring; a learning management space for my facilitation).

Linking them to a central site that has my name embedded in its URL is ideal - it already says a lot about me just in its title. Things that I need to do to improve my PWP are wrapped up in these elements: time to focus; ability to be clear; and reason or purpose for doing this online.

So I'm going to be brave and ask you to provide some useful feedback on how I am renovating my PWP and what else should go into my portfolio (googlio)

Hmm, I thought I posted here, but maybe it was just on Mightybell. Anyway, I did have to create a portfolio for my Master's and while I was working on it, I decided to make a Site to hold all the resources I was grabbing as my courses evolved. Google makes it easy to put one up in a hurry; much faster than writing code or using Dreamweaver's design element. I noticed as I went along gathering resources that I really did enjoy the ease of Sites. And while my portfolio reflected my coursework and artifacts, my site reflected me wholly on a professional level. So, in the very near future I'm going to take that portfolio domain and replace the content with my site. 

 

I'm wrestling with re-organizing the content--especially on the Teacher Resources page--by subject matter rather than alphabetically. Maybe someone here could look at it and tell me if you think that would be a better organization of the content; I'd appreciate feedback.

 

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