As the Internet has become more and more pervasive in our everyday lives educators from around the world have been looking for ways to harness this to continue their professional growth outside of the traditional professional development that their districts and schools have provided. This has led to the growth of being a connected educator. Derek Oldfield (@Mr_Oldfield) previously talked about the value of being connected on the very first episode of this podcast and why educators need to take control of their own professional learning.
What Is a Connected Educator?
EdTech Review (article) defined a connected educator as one who uses 21st Century Skills to engage their students. Being a connected educator goes further though. Dr. Samantha Fecich (article) defines a connected educator as someone who connects with others to collaborate, problem-solve, and think critically about the classroom and education; they are always looking to improve their practice; and they work to collaborate because it is best practice.
The big idea is that connected educators are willing to do things differently, to take risks, and to think outside the box for the best interest of their professional growth and their student’s success. Connected educators are able to do this because they have taken the time to build their own support network. Their Personal Learning Network (PLN) is their go-to for input on their ideas, for advice for handling troublesome situations, and their refuge in times of need.
Benefits of Being a Connected Educator
In an article on EdTech Review (article), Saomya Saxena lists the following as being benefits of being a connected educator.
- Increased exposure to more diverse ideas, learning experiences, and techniques
- Increased networking which helps educators to know other educators and their practices across the world
- It provides educators with opportunities to collaborate on a variety of research, projects, techniques for teaching and more.
- It allows educators to stay up to date with all the current things happening in educational organizations all over the world.
- Educators can easily learn about the best practices for teaching globally and share them with others.
- It keeps their literacy flowing and evolving on the tools of 21st century.
- Educators can make their students experience high-quality virtual classes (with MOOCs) and blended classes where learning occurs even outside the schools.
- Through this educators can make masses of people understand the relevance of education that students are receiving presently and how they can make positive amends to it.
How Can I Be a Connected Educator?
Elana Leoni shared ten tips for becoming a connected educator in an article from Edutopia (article).
- Embrace Making Mistakes
- There’s No Right Way — There’s Only Your Way
- Just Jump In!
- Be Open to Learning Unexpected Things
- Follow Like-Minded (and Not So Like-Minded) People in Education
- Join the Edcamp Movement
- Join a Live Virtual Event
- Block Out Time to Get Connected
- Be Yourself and Help Others
- Start Blogging
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The music featured on this episode is “Skinny Leonard” by Jason Shaw at Audionatix and can be found online at https://audionautix.com.