October is “Connected Educator Month”, so I have decided to reflect on how I am a “Connected Educator”. What does it means to be a connected educator? To me a connected educator is someone who is part of a BROAD PLN. By broad, I mean more than their own district or school building. Just because you have a group of colleagues that you can talk with in your district or school when you want doesn’t mean you are connected. Broad to me means having connections across the state, country, even world. Also, you need to be connecting more than a monthly staff meeting when the entire building or district gets together. Being connected is not just a one shot; I did it, and move on. It needs to be consistent over time. For me that is every day (several times a day). One way or another, I make sure to stay connected in some form or fashion.
What tools should one use to be a connected educator? There are many tools that one can use. I am an avid user of Twitter, a source that I use on a daily, if not hourly, basis. I have been told that I have a Twitter problem and need help. (As Uncle Si would say, “Na”.) There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t get at least five ideas, articles, useful tidbits, or stories off of Twitter.
I also use Google+ as another source of information and a way to stay “connected”. I like to call it Skype, Twitter, and Facebook on steroids. Between the news feed, communities, and Hangouts you can stay connected with many people at once. I use Hangouts to stay connected with colleagues from around the state and country. I have learned so much from them and appreciate being included in an awesome 3rd Thursday PLN hangout. I have also used Hangouts to plan a proposal for conference sessions. It makes it more “personal” to be able to talk to someone “face-to-face” while working.
As teachers and administrators, we need to be connected to those that will help us grow. If you aren’t a “Connected Educator” I highly suggest that you become one. Start small and work your way up. Following several people on Twitter, or “lurk” on a few hashtags is a great start. One way or another, GET CONNECTED!!!!
Hashtags to follow (“lurk”):
#ce13 – For Connected Educators
#cem12 – For Connected Educators Month
From these hashtags, you will find MANY wonderful educators to follow (and most will follow you back).