Passion is an absolutely critical component of effective teaching and optimal learning. As educator’s we have an obligation to help students discover and pursue their passions (see The Power of Passion), and hopefully, we bring a palpable energy to our work with students. However, I’m not sure that is enough.
I recently returned from the Computer Using Educator’s Conference (CUE) in Palm Springs, where I had the opportunity to attend a session led by Steve Hargadon (@stevehargadon) in which he discussed Personal and Professional Growth Using Web 2.0 and why educator’s should consider the development of a Personal Web Presence (PWP). He commented that he wanted his kids to learn from teachers who are passionate about something…teachers who want to be difference makers and who see themselves as learners. This is a powerful message. Most educators are passionate about teaching and about helping kids, but it is also important that we model – for students – the pursuit of our interests, interests that lie outside of the realm of education.
Here are Steve’s suggested steps for getting started:
1. (Re-) Discover Your Passions:
- What do you love doing?
- What do you love learning about?
2. Build Your Personal Learning Network
- Who do you learn from?
- What tools do you use?
- What role does Twitter play?
3. Build Your Personal Web Presence (PWP)
- Aggregate your interests, your ideas, and your profile.
- Register a domain name.
- Consider your brand. Think of a brand as what you do to help other people.
4. Develop Your Online “Habitudes”
- What are your emotional or practical barriers?
- What can you be modeling for your students?
5. Become a Part of the Conversation
- Write somewhere.
- Share somehow.
6. Build, Curate, or Participate in a Passion Project
- Start or contribute to a wiki.
- Start or help build a community.
- Host a PD workshop or “unconference.”
7. Elevate Your Voice or Career
- Speak or present at a training, a conference, or online.
- Start a webinar/interview series.
- Be a voice for what you value.
Everyone will have a differing levels of comfort with what we share about our personal interests, but I do believe that modeling our passions and learning process with students can be a powerful motivator.
This discussion has me re-evaluating my Personal Web Presence and considering ways I might be able to help others by sharing my passions and interests. I will end this post with the final words of Steve’s presentation:
Experiment! Failure is free. Be authentic. Be collaborative. Be generous. Help. Share. Start. ~ Steve Hargadon