If you are reading this blog - that means you are a connected educator!
You are a person who has reached beyond the walls of your classroom to learn from other educators. You have reached across the internet and connected your computer with mine and through that exchange of bytes of information we have the opportunity to both improve our practice.
That is what being a connected teacher is really all about, improving practice - constantly growing in our own learning to better meet the needs of our students and to model best practices.
I have been thinking a lot about being a connected educator recently, partly because I co-taught a class on the subject and because it is part of my own personal journey. As I prepared for the class I revised this above image to illustrate my description of a connected educator.
Full disclosure: I did not create the image - only the descriptions.
As I worked on this image I was struck by all the paths we use to connect with others that are not technology based! When I first began this journey of becoming more connected - I believed that technology was the central pivot point. The farther I travel down this path the more I have come to understand that being connected is not searching for the perfect tool, rather it is a state of mind that seeks ways to connect - period.
This huge mind shift from being an isolated, leave my door closed, teacher to joining a worldwide group of educators challenging one another to rethink the way we teach does not come easily.
It is downright hard!
And I wonder if we have made it harder because of our focus on technology! If the conversation begins with ways to connect - in your building, in your community, in your classroom, would that change attitudes?
In a blog post written by Daniel Rezac he reflects on the Connected Educator movement. He shares some sobering statistics about how few educators are actually part of the movement and some thoughts as to why that is. He sums up his post this way...
Perhaps our connected educator movement- is not about connecting
educators with technology… at all. Maybe we’ve got it all wrong.
Maybe what we need to close this digital divide, is not digital at all.
Maybe our connected educator movement involves real, physical communication.
That resonates with me.
Being a connected educator means more than just being a lurker on Twitter.
It means utilizing Twitter to connect with other HS SS teachers to find a different way to teach AP History.
Being a connected educator means more than just writing a weekly blog because the principal says
It means connecting with book authors about the book you are reading.
Being a connected educator means more than reading Facebook.
It means taking advantage of parent connections on Facebook to promote classroom activities and share online content in the place that parents 'live.'
Being a connected educator means more than bookmarking sites on Diigo.
It means being able to share websites with teachers in your building at the point of need because
you know what they are teaching.
Being a connected educator is more than these things though...
Being a connected educator means connecting with those around you in every way you can - period!
Beth Swantz - GWAEA, Technology Consultant