The end of the month marked the end of Connected Educator Month. Connecting changes everything about the way I teach. It’s opened an infinite number of ideas. Think about it–if I am teaching in a department of five to ten people, chances are that one or two will think like me, but they won’t be teaching the same schedule or sharing the same students. By becoming a connected educator, it’s possible for me to connect with the world, not just my school, grade-level, or department. I can bounce ideas off of people with similar or complementary ideas. That changes everything.
I’m in the infancy of my journey of “connectedness.” I knew I was “disconnected” for years, but I didn’t know what to do about it. It’s tough for people to take the first step on this journey many times, because the vocabulary isn’t there. I thought all computers were created equal. I didn’t know the word “edtech” or that there was a whole separate vertical dedicated to such things. I didn’t know about Twitter chats or Professional Learning Networks or blended learning. I just wanted to use computers in my classroom, but at the time they weren’t there, and students wondered why there were rules saying they couldn’t use their phones to Google assignments or take notes. Now I have the words to express technology, like “blended learning,” “1:1,” “BYOD,” and many more.
It’s the responsibility of educators to connect and develop best practices. I’d like to suggest that it’s also the responsibility of those who are connected to reach out and bring others along. As we finish Connected Educator Month, make a commitment. Talk to one or two educators who haven’t experienced this level of connectedness and bring them along for the journey, showing them one or two things that you do that changed your teaching. You could teach them to tweet, or show them a classroom blog. Introduce them to one or two platforms your students enjoy. This is something I’ll be thinking about at EdCampRI this weekend.
This Learnist feature is about connecting every educator in the world. Additionally, I’d like to form a connected educator network on Learnist where we create boards sharing our best lessons, best practices, favorite books, and ideas. This is what connecting is all about. Individually, we are good, but together–we are unstoppable. That’s what being a connected educator is all about. Enjoy these boards about connecting and connected educators. Add to them, comment on them, and make some to share yourself.
This board has examples of Michigan educators using technology creatively. Don’t just leave this learning in Michigan, though. Bring it to the nation.
Home schoolers are often the most connected educators of them all. They bring the world right into the home, providing experiences other types of schooling can’t provide.
This board is helpful in providing a rationale as to why it’s important to be a connected educator. It really is critical to connect in this day and age. News cycles are compressed, the world is going by faster–connecting is the only way to keep up.
Just because people don’t work together physically doesn’t mean collaboration and sharing can’t be simple. That’s the beauty of and premise behind being a connected educator. Consider dedicating a fraction of your online time to growing and nurturing your Professional Learning Network. For me, this has been the most valuable part of the journey–making friends from across the globe. As I get to know people better, I connect more deeply until that connection turns into a collaboration.
These simple platforms can help you feel more connected, as you jazz up your blogs and wikis and start interacting with others on the subjects you like and teach best.
Scott Kinkoph is a connected educator. This board is a sample of his inspiration, but I’d encourage people to read his blog and Learnist profile. He’s got a ton to share in the area of learning, Common Core, edtech, STEM, and teacherpreneurship. He’s one connected educator to follow.
Jessie Voights is a global educator on Learnist. She connects the world through writing and experiences, which is the only true way to learn. This board, “Teen Travel Writing,” is one of my favorites, because Jessie is connecting teens in real situations not simply online. We need to consider that connectedness needs face time and personal connections as well. Follow Jessie here.
Kimberly Charron connects her students to the globe through virtual experiences. Her students are her children–Kimberly is a homeschooling mom. Homeschoolers are extremely creative and connected, and often they have the advantage, because they have flexibility to change the course of learning in whatever way they see fit. This is the ideal of education.