Workshop: Becoming an e-Teacher

Computer technologies can be engaging and effective alternatives to traditional instructional methods. Web2.0 tools can be used to create highly interactive, inquiry-based learning. An “e-teacher” confidently integrates computers and other digital and electronic resources into teaching and learning in K-12 schools. Many future teachers know how to operate computers, search the Internet, create PowerPoint presentations, and communicate electronically but are less sure how to use technology to transform teaching and learning in schools.

Establishing a Digital Teaching Presence

With the first days of school just around the corner, it is a time when teachers develop and refine their image and identity as an educator, what might be called a teaching presence. Some new teachers create their presence by engaging in new learning in their subject fields. Others decorate their classroom walls with rules and quotations. Others are sure to ”be seen” in the lunchroom or the copier machine station in order to get some “face time” with other teachers.

As an intern in Bridges to the Future, you too will be creating an image and identity as a teacher through your words and actions in schools. Everything you do contributes to your teaching presence and who you are as a teacher. Your teaching presence is a work in progress and it will expand and change as the year progresses and you develop new skills and talents in the classroom. Establishing yourself as a teaching professional is one of the most exciting and challenging parts of your year in Bridges.

As you create your “in the flesh teaching personality,” keep in mind that it is important to expand your way of “being” a teacher beyond the face-to-face exchanges you have in person. Since the Internet is such an accessible "store front" for communication, you have the opportunity to build a digital presence as a teacher.

Let's explore some of the information you may want to share " you" online:

Share classroom news

Share classroom assignments

Provide tutorials and lesson samples

Are there other types of information you might share?

Choose a Presence or Way of Being "Digitized"

Just as some teachers are known for being a humorist, coach, mathematician, or scientist in the school community, your digital presence says a lot about who you are as a teacher and leader. There are many ways to express your professional self “online” with each type of communication presenting a different avenue for expanding your audience of readers. We call the ways of being online creating a “digital teacher presence”. Here’s a sample of ways to connect with your school community:

Create a teacher presence built on resource sharing:



Sample: ****

Create a teacher presence built on a “shared experiences":


Sample: ****

Create a teacher presence built on curriculum standards:


Create a teacher presence built on a theme:

Create teacher presence built on reflective teaching and dialogue:

Now You'll Need a Portal!

Once you have picked a digital theme, you’ll need to pick a web portal to house your digital presence.

There are many different ways to communicate your teacher presence within your school community. Picking a web space for that digital presence is like picking just the right business suit. You’ll want to shop for both style and functionality. And if you are cost conscious, you’ll want to find software that gives you the most bang-for your-buck.

One way to express your teaching persona is to choose to either blog or journal about your experience. We define “blog” in this course as: a personal website that remains updated by the teacher who is seeking to express a professional teaching voice. Special features of blogs include: a home page, comments, permalinks (or the direct links to your posts), category and tagging systems, and a layout enabling your most recent post to automatically appear on top of your older posts.

There are lots of different types of bloging software out on the market. Here are two examples to explore.

  • WordPress is a relatively easy to use blog generator. With open source templates, and an HTML generator, designing is easy but there is a certain level of technical know-how needed in order to efficiently install and manage data including some site development and hosting know-how needed.

  • Blogger is software owned by Google is relatively easy to use. It’s intuitive nature makes designing and maintaining a snap. You’ll need a Google account to get started. There are lots of ways to customize your blog by switching templates. Watch out, if you are into design you can get carried away with all the options. If you are fond of stats, you’ll need to pay a fee to access information about your visitors. The subdomain feature can also be distracting if you want to customize your address.

  • Livejournal is yet another popular blog tool. This is the software Alex suggested in class. Take a look!

While blogging is an extremely popular way to build a teacher’s web presence, so too are teacher websites. Teacher created websites as defined by this course are: Web pages that are updated by the teacher as an author that remain closed to comments. They typically feature a navigation bar and often include links to outside sources. Since websites and blogs are beginning to converge, it’s easier to tell you what a website does not have:

Comments, and archives that are easy to navigate and contribute to the content of the page.

Wikis are another option for you to explore while building an online presence. This course defines a wiki as: a website built by community that encourages its members to be active participants in the building of the site. In some cases wiki owners turn on and turn off the co-authoring privileges on their wiki space.

Some examples of wiki software include:

Wikispaces: Home of our TB2F program information, this wiki software is easy to manage and allows for HTML editing. The design templates are minimal but, if you are easily distracted by customization, this space may be the right fit for you. By subscribing to an educational wikispace, your wiki will be ad free.

PBwiki: The look of this wiki is clean its templates look and feel a bit more updated than most. The customer service is exceptional and there’s a educational version that is ad free.

Here’s your mission aka homework to be completed by Wednesday night, 9/7/11 (Meeting Place: Greenfield Community College 4:00-6:30):

1: Choose a digital presence and decide what type of information that you may begin to post online as you craft your digital personality.

2: Choose a digital portal that will house your digital presence. Begin to build that portal choosing a simple organizational scheme suitable for your personality.

3. Be ready to share a draft of your digital presence in class on 9/7/11 at GCC.

*** Feel free to combine more than one digital presence inside a portal OR try your very own type of "presence" or portal.

The Big idea: Test out the concepts and innovate. Don't get too bogged down in the content yet. Play! Test! Experiment!

Find Additional "Teacher Presence" Examples here:

Find teacher and student portfolios at

Just for Fun (optional reading):

More ways to think of your "presence" online!:

Read the Op-Ed piece by NICK LEHOTSKY:

**Schools should embrace social media as a learning tool**

Workshop Notes:
In the workshop class on 8/31/11
1- Continued to read our Social Identity Papers- discussed importance of "self as text"
2-Heard and practiced introducing ourselves as new teachers.
3- Discussed how to being to develop a digital teaching presence
4- Reviewed the (above) mini-webquest as a frame for understanding "presence" online