Friday, January 3, 2014

From the Archives: How I became a connected educator

The term connected educator has been hopping around the edusphere a lot lately.  Teachers of all grade levels, librarians and even professors are jumping on board and becoming connected.   What is it?  What does it look like to be a connected educator? It is what you make it!

Connected educators are open minded about using technology.  They collaborate, build a personal learning network (PLN) and attend conferences regarding tech.  They tweet, use social media, create blogs and do lessons with co-workers.  Connected educators are "CONNECTED" to the world around them through social media and technology; Period.   I am a connected educator, and here is how.

Several years ago, I was scared to tweet.  I was afraid of sounding stupid, looking like a fool and maybe appear unaware of things.  I started my first account and started following a few people a friend of mine recommended. I spent my first month on twitter stalking people.  I occasionally would say something, but not often.  After a bit, I got more daring.  I started attending a chat session. I chose #edchat by a fluke as one of the people I followed was doing it one day and I started joining in.  I felt so rewarded, seeing people in my profession have the same issues, concerns and questions I had.

I began to grow my PLN.  I started following librarians, edtech people, and authors. (I follow authors for book updates, information about what they are thinking and because some of them write the best tweets ever!)  After awhile, I started tweeting about all kinds of things: tools for web 2.0, ideas, book chats with librarians.  I have connected with some fantastic people and I have learned more from them than I will ever learn from a staff development and I am sure someone has learned something from me.

I started implementing tools into my classroom and the library.  I started organizing my thoughts on these products and started sharing the thoughts with others, that is how I started my blog. I started joining different sites that connect teachers and offer webinars and lessons. I have been asked by a few to do webinars and lessons (Due to my schedule, it hasn't worked, but I anticipate some of my lessons popping out into the net someday). I attend edcamps and tech conferences.  I chat with edtech people, and I have learned it's okay to ask questions.  I don't have to know everything.  I just have to make an attempt to try something new.

This school year, I am going to attempt to make some co-workers a little connected by offering Tech Tuesdays each week. I plan to teach twitter, google+, and Facebook.  I hope to show them the power these tools can have with them professionally. I also decided to do mini web lessons (the flipped model) for those who want to attend a Tech Tuesday but aren't available.

Hopefully, my attempts will encourage someone from my school to realize how awesome it is to be Connected.

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