Recruitment and Digital Footprints

International schools are in the midst of their recruitment season and are reviewing applications from prospective teachers and administrators. Schools which have invested money, time and good will into building technology-rich environments for teaching, learning, and professional practice can capitalize on that investement by recruiting and retaining faculty members with demonstrated skills and enthusiasm for living and working in that environment.

To that end I am often asked how a school can recognize candidates who meet an arbitrary standard of “good with computers” (*cringe*). In those discussions I like to use the ISTE Standards for Teachers and Adminstrators as starting points: What is the school looking for in its faculty and what evidence do you have that a candidate exhibits those traits?

A candidate’s digital footprint can provide evidence both before and during the interview process and Google is my simple tool of choice. There are two things a school should do for every candidate under consideration:

Google the candidate.

That sounds simple and obvious, but I am shocked how many interviewers do not look up their candidates as part of the initial screening process. Candidates can promise anything in a cover letter or CV, but the public record can speak volumes about what they are currently saying and doing. You can learn a lot about a candidate by examining what is (and is not) visible in their digital footprint. Things to look for include:

  • a current professional website or blog with content that reflects the candidates ideas and opinions,
  • an active, updated LinkedIn or Twitter profile with a visible network of professional contacts and communications, and
  • third-party reports of participation in online communities, real or virtual conferences, committees, extracurriculars, and community service.

Ask the candidate.

In the actual interview simply ask the candidate “What would you hope I would find if I googled you?” The reason for this question is three-fold:

  • There might be “hidden” information online, perhaps concealed behind a login screen or in a private community. The candidate would then be able to discuss these items in the interview which you might not have found in your Google search.
  • Your Google search might have revealed conflicting or overlapping results for people with the same or similar names. A candidate who is aware of her digital footprint can then clarify which of those results are hers and which are not.
  • There is always the possibility that the candidate has no professional digital footprint. You might have found a Facebook profile or links to family photos, but no evidence of professional activities online.

Red flags.

A teacher candidate who does not “[p]articipate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.” (ISTE Standards for Teachers, 5a)

An admin candidate who does not “[p]romote and participate in local, national and global learning communities that stimulate innovation, creativity and digital age collaboration.” (ISTE Standards for Administrators, 2e)


These are first steps towards getting to know your school’s candidates, but I believe that they will help your school to pre-select the best candidates for further consideration in your recruitment process.

Curriculum and the ISTE Standards for Students

standards-header-circleAs we update our draft technology plan with input from the various stakeholder groups around campus, I have been working through ideas for aligning our curriculum to the new ISTE Standards for Students. Our IT working group has informally adopted these standards for our school and our draft plan contains the first written reference to the standards and also the action steps to begin the curricular alignment, yet there has been no direct work with the faculty until now.

Yesterday I had the opporunity to present the ISTE Standards for Students to the Middle School and High School faculty. My colleague John Iglar and I introduced the standards with a matching activity: Working in table group, teachers matched four-item clusters of performance indicators to their standards, which we presented on colorful paper.

The indicators were then glued to the papers for the next activity. John shared a series of teaching and learning scenarios and asked teachers to suggest which standard or standards were being addressed. The ensuing discussion was lively as teacher held up the colorful papers (“Red for Standard 1!”) and we suggested additional alignment possibilities.

The final activity was an “exit ticket” to check for general understanding of the ISTE Standards for Students and to introduce the idea of aligning current units or lessons. Teachers we directed to a simple Google form and were asked to submit the name or description of a current unit or lesson and then check the standard or standards to which that learning activity could be aligned.

After the teachers had been dismissed to move on to their next activity I crunched the numbers from the exit ticket activity. (Actually, Google Sheets crunched the numbers for me with its Explore tool.) I was pleasantly surprised to find that this brief overview of “what’s out there already” revealed a basic level of alignment to the standards already.

While this was by no means a complete gap analysis, it shows that our teachers are already creating the kinds of teaching and learning opportunities that will make future alignment activities less stressful than I had envisioned. Aligning the written, garanteed curriculum to the ISTE Standards for Students is in our school’s future and on my plate as a member of the Office of Teaching and Learning and we are ready to begin this exciting work soon.

Please have a look at my write up of the activities and the data from our teachers by clicking on the link below. Questions and comments always welcome!

Source: ISTE Standards for Students

Recipe for a Disruptive Keynote : Stager-to-Go

From Gary Stager’s 2009 NECC keynote presentation: “I never imagined that 19 years later we would be fastening giant pre-Gutenberg technology to classroom walls. The priest chants while the monks take dictation on their tablet PCs. Don’t “interactive” white boards require bricks and mortar while reinforcing the dominance of the front of the room?”

Recipe for a Disruptive Keynote : Stager-to-Go